May 19, 2007 12:06 AM by Joe Blackmon
For the third year in a row, the All-Star Challenge sponsored by the
television show “America’s Most Wanted” and Sprint (NYSE: S) continues
to honor extraordinary first responders – law-enforcement officers,
firefighters, EMTs and others – who are first to assist and go beyond
the call of duty. This year’s winner, Officer Carl Andolina with the
Buffalo (N.Y.) Police Department, will receive the grand prize of
$10,000 and an all-star weekend at the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star
Challenge on May 19 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.
"We are very proud of all of this year’s eight finalists. They are extraordinarily dedicated people who put their hearts and souls into serving their communities, while risking their lives. We salute their valor and dedication," said program host John Walsh. "We’re also thankful to Sprint for their commitment and for working and helping us to recognize and honor these heroes."
Last year Officer Andolina and his partner Officer Patricia Parete were seriously injured while responding to a fight in progress at a local convenience store. Both officers were shot and injured in this operation. While Andolina is recovering from his injuries, his partner was not so fortunate. Today, Officer Parete remains on a respirator undergoing a slow recovery. Andolina’s selfless actions are still evident as he assists in raising money and providing support for Parete’s family.
“This is such a great honor and I would like to thank the people of Buffalo, friends and family for their continuous generosity and support,” said Officer Carl Andolino. “There are not many programs out there that recognize law-enforcement officers for what they do in their day-to-day lives. Thank you to America’s Most Wanted and Sprint Nextel for supporting this contest and honoring the officers.”
“Sprint continues its efforts to support the public safety community and their mission of protecting our families,” says Leon Frazier, senior vice president of Enterprise and Public Sector for Sprint. “First responders rely on Sprint’s strong communication capabilities – including the industry-leading Nextel Walkie-Talkie service, Priority Connect – for their day-to-day operations and also during emergencies. For us at Sprint, it is not an opportunity but an obligation to serve the first-responder community.”
An AMW All-Star is a sworn law-enforcement officer or a first responder who is dedicated to serving the public on the frontlines and has gone above and beyond the call of duty. This program recognizes eight all-stars in eight weeks selected by their peers and community by voting online at www.amw.com. This year the voting period began in early February and concluded on May 8. The eight finalists selected this year were: Dale Farmer of the Kingsport (Tenn.) City Police Department; Manny Puri of the U.S. Marshals Service Manhattan (N.Y.); Carl Andolina of the Buffalo (N.Y.) Police Department; David James of the Richmond (Ga.) County Sheriff’s Office; Gary Toelke of the Franklin County (Mo.) Sheriff’s Office Union; Jon Brough of the Belleville (Ill.) Police Department; Erik Workman of the Maryland State Police; and Thomas Colter of the Snipesville/Jeff Davis County (Ga.) Fire-Rescue. This year more than 2,000 nominations were received, including 617 submitted online. Visit www.amw.com/allstar to learn more about these all-star stories.