EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. January 27, 2009 — LENOX, a leading manufacturer of premium power tool accessories, hand tools, torches, solder and band saw blades, announces the top 10 finalists in the LENOX Extra Mile Hero Contest.
In 2008, LENOX officially kicked off the LENOX Extra Mile Hero Program with NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 LENOX Industrial Tools RCR Chevrolet, by asking customers to submit stories of people they considered heroes; users and suppliers of industrial tools who go the extra mile for their community. A professional and VIP judging panel read through more than 600 nominations before selecting the 10 finalists. Each of the 10 finalists won $3,100 with a matching gift going to their charity of choice.
Beginning in February, the next phase of the contest, "America Votes," begins. America can vote on which of the finalists they think will make the best LENOX Extra Mile Hero by going to www.lenoxhero.com to cast their vote. The finalist who receives the most votes will not only carry the honor of being the LENOX Extra Mile Hero, but they also win the Grand Prize of $31,000 as well as an additional $31,000 to be donated to their charity of choice.
But that′s not all! If Burton wins the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race scheduled for June 28, 2009, LENOX will increase the grand prize to $1 million for the winner to split equally with their charity of choice! The Grand Prize winner will be announced at the 2009 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The following are the abbreviated stories of the Top 10 finalists along with their charity of choice. To read a more detailed version of their nominations or to vote, go to www.lenoxhero.com
Salvatore Anselona, Retired New York City Fireman
Howard Beach, NY
Charity: St. Jude Children′s Research Hospital
Sal was a New York City Fireman for 26 years, who came out of retirement to help at Ground Zero on September 11th. He worked long hours at the World Trade Center site helping the people he spent his career working with.
Greg Blackman, Plumber
Charity: St. Jude Children′s Hospital
Greg is a fourth generation plumber who owns his own plumbing company. He saved the life of a 4 year-old boy who fell into the pool at a party he was having for the little league team he coached. The little boy is doing fine today with no side-effects from the accident.
Pete Dingeman, Foreman at Griggs Steel
Shelby Township, MI
Charity: Children′s Tumor Foundation
Pete is the foreman at Griggs Steel and spends much of his free time raising money and support for his favorite charity, The Children's Tumor Foundation. He personally suffered through a battle with cancer, but you would never know it when you see his high energy level, confidence and way of constantly giving with all of his heart to help find a cure and the children who are suffering with the disease.
Roy Engstrom, Carpenter/Builder
Charity: Bartlett Lions Club
Roy has been working for more than 40 years as a general contractor. He has also been an active member of his local Lions Club where he has organized events to raise more than $185,000 to buy products and services for deaf and blind children. He has also raised money and donated his time to re-build the Bartlett Little League facilities; raising it to the stature of being the largest little league in America.
Tim Kurth, Carpenter/Builder
Charity: Calliope Village Fund, Town of Hawarden
Tim is a general contractor who moved to the small town of Hawarden, Iowa a couple of years ago. He quickly made a difference in the lives of many Hawarden citizens by volunteering his labor to restore the historic Calliope Village. Tim′s keen sense of historic preservation has helped him in making repairs to maintain the historic integrity of the buildings.
Johnny McCarty, Carpenter/Builder
Charity: Pettit Baptist Church
Johnny is a roofer by trade and lives and works in the small town where he grew up. The majority of his customers are elderly and on a fixed income. He not only lowers his prices to meet their needs, he always ends up going back to his elderly customers homes to help install windows or do small jobs for free because he sees what bad shape the customers homes are in and wants to help make the improves the homeowners can′t afford to make.
Jim Murphy, Stained glass restorer/Skateboarder
New York, NY
Charity: Nibwaakaawin Foundation
Jim "Murf" Murphy is a unique combination of master craftsman, professional skateboarder and philanthropist. He is one of America′s finest stained glass restorers, but it′s in his role as skateboarder that you really see Murf at work. As the founder of "Wounded Knee Skateboards," Murf is committed to improving the lives of the youth on the Lakota of the Pine Ridge reservation. Recently, he formed the non-profit foundation Nibwaakaawin to bring the healthy and positive life lessons inherent in skateboarding to the entire Native American community.
Rick Schar, Carpenter/Builder
Charity: USA Cares Soldiers (www.usacares.org)
Rick raised the funds and materials to rebuild his nephew′s house to accommodate him after he became a triple amputee from the Iraq War. He not only recruited workers and materials, he worked 16 hour days until the project was complete.
Brian Verdugo, Carpenter/Builder
Charity: YFS International
Brian is a maintenance building supervisor who volunteers his time and skills all over the world. He has traveled to both Mexico and India to help improve the living conditions of very impoverished children and families. He has also taught his skills as a tradesman to children in hopes of providing them with skills to make a better life for themselves. At home in California, Brian volunteers to feed the homeless in his area.
Jason Zuelke, Carpenter/Builder
Green Bay, WI
Charity: Victory in Life Community Development Corporation
Jason owns his own contracting company and works on many different types of home improvement jobs. He spends long hours at work but still finds time to help out in his community, where he also serves on the board of directors of the Victory in Life Community Development Corporation. The VILCDC works with the homeless and needy in the Green Bay area providing meals at their soup kitchen, housing in their transitional living program, counseling and many different classes to help those without a home or income to get back on their feet.