Iowa farm wife Marilyn Adams, a pioneer in promoting farm safety, has been named "America's Greatest Hometown Hero" — the top award given through the largest-ever national search for and celebration of everyday heroes. The presentation was made at the 6th annual Volvo for Life Awards ceremony in New York City on March 19.
More than 20 years ago, Adams, 57, faced every mother's greatest fear. Her 11-year-old son, Keith, suffocated in a gravity flow grain wagon while helping with the first full day of harvest on the family farm near Earlham, Iowa. Determined to find a constructive outlet for her grief, Adams was inspired to create a nonprofit organization working to educate children about farm safety and health.
In 1987, Adams founded Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, www.fs4jk.org, and set out on a mission to promote safe farm environments and eliminate farm-related child health hazards, injuries and fatalities. Today, as a result of her work, thousands of volunteers across the United States and Canada help to keep rural kids safe and healthy.
Wins $100,000 for farm safety organization
Adams received a $100,000 charitable contribution which she is donating to Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. She also receives a new Volvo automobile every three years for the rest of her life in recognition of her accomplishments. Since the inception of the awards program in 2002, Volvo has given millions of dollars in contributions to support the work of everyday heroes.
"We are humbled and honored to have learned about all of the 6th annual Volvo for Life Awards heroes who embody the values of conscience, care and character this program celebrates," says Anne Belec, president and CEO for Volvo Cars of North America. "Marilyn Adams' determination to keep kids safe on farms makes her a true hero, setting an example we can all strive for. We congratulate all of our nominees, and truly appreciate the task our judges faced in selecting a winner from a phenomenal pool of heroes."
A panel of distinguished judges - including Hank Aaron, Sen. Bill Bradley, Maya Lin, Dr. Sally Ride, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Dr. Mae Jemison and Edsel B. Ford II - selected the program's top three winners in the categories of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment. Adams was the Safety category winner.
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids now has 137 chapters throughout North America. Through her visits to rural schools, media appearances, testimony before government agencies and in Congress, Adams has spread her farm safety message across the country.