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Inspirational People Honored For Embracing Their Future Instead of Mourning Their Past


State Farm® celebrates the achievements of men and women who have inspired others at the annual Embrace Life® Awards

Bloomington, Ill.- For their courage and dignity in overcoming loss, thirteen men and women from across the United States and Canada will be honored today by State Farm at the 2009 Embrace Life Awards ceremony.

State Farm created the Awards program in 2004 to raise awareness on how preparing for the future today can help protect families’ hopes and dreams for tomorrow. From a mountain climber’s widow to a man who created an arts program for children who lost their parents, this year’s honorees have powerful stories which exemplify strength and the undeniable will to move on after a loss.

State Farm is recognizing the honorees today at a formal ceremony and will present each honoree with $10,000 and an official Embrace Life Award.

Remarkable People; Inspirations to All

More than 250 people were nominated for the essay contest for their stories of empowerment after overcoming loss. State Farm chose the 13 most inspiring people for this year’s honorees:

* Michele Neff Hernandez, 39, Simi Valley, Calif.
* Alexander Vallar, 23, Columbia, MO
* Brett Batterson, 50, Aurora, IL.
* Uyntha Duncan, 72, Cedar Falls, IA
* Amelia Pattacini, 78, Hendersonville, NC
* Kymberly Mowery, 33, Idaho Falls, ID
* Karen James, 45, Dallas, TX.
* Shirley Millman, 40, Owen Sounds, Ontario
* Marianne Testa, 39, Oviedo,FL
* Bill McLeod, 52, Lone Tree, CO
* Jody Akins, 30, Cordova, TN
* Calvin Houghton Sr., 39, Burnt Hill, NY
* Aaron Shepherd, 25, Atlanta, 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.

“Conversations about planning for the unexpected aren’t necessarily easy, but they are conversations that every family needs to have,” said Waring. “Many households, either have no life insurance, or do not have enough life insurance to help cope if faced with the unexpected. The State Farm Embrace Life Awards program is a wonderful reminder about the importance of planning today to protect our families’ futures.”

State Farm Life Insurance Company is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2009. For more information about the State Farm Embrace Life Awards program and this year’s honorees, go to or the Newsroom at


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