Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Inspirational Widows

I received this from State Farm Insurance: Congratulations to all the inspirational winners! For their courage and dignity in overcoming loss, thirteen men and women from across the United States and Canada were honored by State Farm Insurance at the 2008 Embrace Life Awards ceremony.

State Farm created the Awards program in 2004 to raise awareness for women on how preparing for the future today can help protect families' hopes and dreams for tomorrow. During the past four years, in addition to revealing dramatic stories that demonstrated the value of life insurance planning, the Embrace Life Awards also uncovered heroic stories of perseverance and personal sacrifice of people that bettered their families and communities.

This year's honorees have powerful stories, which exemplify strength and the undeniable will to move on after a loss. As 2008 marks the fifth anniversary of the Embrace Life Awards, State Farm revised the program, encouraging nominations of both men and women, and recognizing a total of thirteen honorees from across the United States and Canada.

This year's celebration began in Chicago where the honorees enjoyed a private dinner with radio personality Dr. Joy Browne and State Farm agents and executives. The celebration continued in Bloomington, Ill. where State Farm recognized the honorees at a formal ceremony and presented each honoree with $10,000 and the Embrace Life Award.

Remarkable People; Inspirations to All:

More than 200 people were nominated for the essay contest for their stories of empowerment after overcoming loss. State Farm chose the thirteen most inspiring people for this year's honorees:

* Carole Brody Fleet, 48, Lake Forest, Calif.
* Nader Dabboussi, 39, Dallas, Texas
* Ellen Lindeman, 40, Hartsville, Pa.
* Nathan Thompson, 23, Ontario, Canada
* Colleen Phillips, 44, Bradenton, Fla.
* Holly Scheie, 51, Billings, Mont.
* Dawn Douchette, 57, Colorado Springs, Colo.
* Clare Stringer, 53, Auxvasse, Miss.
* Mary Baltimore, 56, Gainesville, VA
* Dorothy Frederickson, 68, Holt, Mich.
* Rachel David, 71, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
* James Gillipsie, 79, Cedarville, Ohio
* Wanda Gross, 53, Alpharetta, Ga.

As executive vice president and chief administrative officer of State Farm Life Insurance Company, and a former State Farm agent, Susan Waring has seen first-hand how too many families simply don't take the proper steps to protect themselves today and in the future.

While all have inspiring messages, three of the honorees stand out for their particularly powerful stories of strength and perseverance. Each of the three honorees turned adversity into hope and continue the betterment of themselves, their families and their communities.

Carole Brody Fleet had heard it all from her husband, "Bad things happen to everyone else,"� and "We're too young to worry about life insurance that's for old people,"� until she was widowed at the age of 40 following the loss of her husband to ALS. When Carole first heard these words years ago, she was a wife and working mother, who, rather than insist on having uncomfortable discussions, unfortunately chose instead to nod in agreement and drop the subject. Now, as an author and speaker on widowhood, grief and bereavement recovery, Carole teaches thousands of women how to financially prepare and recover from the possible financial devastation when a spouse dies. Carole also created http://www.widowswearstilettos.com/ to provide advice for widows and create a forum for education, solace and humor. (Carole will contribute a post to this site in the near future.)

Nader Dabboussi lost his young wife Kimberly to breast cancer, just two-and-a-half years after she gave birth to their second child. "Never think a terminal illness or sudden death happens to other people and would never happen to your family,"� says Nader. "Death can come in different manners and at any age. It is imperative to protect families financially with life insurance."� Following Kimberly's death, Nader created the Kimberly Dabboussi Friends and Family Support Fund in her honor, which provides scholarships to families who cannot afford to send their children to the local child development center. Nader also encouraged family members to lose a total of 225 pounds so they would live healthier lifestyles.

Ellen Lindeman's community has been inspired by her amazing story of renewal after she was left to raise two small children when her 33-year-old husband died of esophageal cancer in 2003. Ellen has given her community perspective and teaches its members to embrace life as she has. Ellen always tells others, "Be open to hope, and to be open to help. Pride can get in the way, but everyone going through this, no matter who they are, needs help, financial or otherwise."� Ellen also founded the Ted Lindeman Outreach Foundation, a non-profit fund to help alleviate financial concerns for families who are recovering from the loss of a loved one.

Dr. Joy Browne: Embrace Life Awards Spokesperson, Radio Host and Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Joy Browne, honored as one of the country's 100 Most Influential Talk Show Hosts by Talkers Magazine, is the spokesperson for State Farm's Embrace Life Awards. Dr. Joy brings guidance to her loyal listeners coping with the emotional upheavals people face every day. She also gives advice on everything from marriage and workplace issues to planning for the future.

Dr. Joy addressed the 13 men and women being honored by thanking them for their inspiration and reinforcing the importance of financially planning for a family's future. Dr. Joy discussed how running away from the unpredictable is not the answer, but that people should embrace the future and focus on the things that will help prepare for it.

For more information about the State Farm Embrace Life Awards program and this year's honorees, visit www.sfembracelifeawards.com


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