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Hometown Heroes Shine In National Spotlight


Sally S. Johnson, CSA
Executive Director
National Council of Youth Sports

STUART, Florida. (September 21, 2006) - Millions of men and women active in youth sports are finally getting the recognition they deserve. The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) has named four individuals from hometown communities throughout the United States as recipients of its Hershey's STRIVE Award. NCYS membership represents more than 52 million boys and girls involved in youth sports nationwide.

STRIVE stands for Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence. The award honors adult leaders for their "heartfelt passion, enthusiastic commitment and contagious spirit to help kids succeed in youth sports activities." This year, NCYS will present Hershey's STRIVE Awards to one national administrator, one local administrator, one volunteer and one coach. Honorees were nominated by team members, parents or colleagues and judged by a panel of NCYS officials.

Among the honorees is Cindi Hart of Indianapolis, Indiana who is the recipient of the Hershey's STRIVE Coach of the Year Award. Against all odds, and through breast cancer treatment, Hart continued to coach and compete as an athlete for the IndySpeed Sports Club and coach the Special Olympics Indiana. She teaches her speed skaters and cyclists that "all obstacles can be overcome" with a positive attitude, attainable goal setting, courage and resilience through adversity.

Jon Butler, Executive Director of Pop Warner Little Scholars based in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, is the Hershey's STRIVE National Administrator of the Year. Butler has led this national youth football, cheer and dance organization in setting high standards for academic and athletic achievement. He is a strong proponent that young athletes can excel both on the playing field and in the classroom. Pop Warner Little Scholars is the largest youth football, cheerleading & dance program in the United States. More than 360,000 young people (ages 5-16), 37,000 coaches and one million parents and volunteers are involved in the program in 41 states and several countries. Pop Warner is the only national youth sports organization that requires minimum scholastic achievement to participate.

Sally S. Johnson, NCYS Executive Director, noted that the lack of recognition given to outstanding adult leaders involved in youth sports prompted NCYS to create the STRIVE awards.

"We felt it was time to honor America's hometown heroes on a larger stage and to give them the praise they deserve," Johnson said. "Many of these individuals devote countless hours each week, all while juggling full-time careers, families, and other commitments."
Other STRIVE Award winners include:

Neil Parmenter of Des Moines, Iowa, will be honored as the Hershey's STRIVE Local Youth Sports Administrator of the Year. For more than three decades, Parmenter has given countless volunteer hours to youth athletics. He has served as coach, board member, officer, player agent, tournament director, commissioner, volunteer, and administrator for multiple sports including the Beaverdale Little League, the Parochial Football League, and the Iowa and national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The father of eight children, Parmenter has fulfilled about every volunteer position in connection with ice hockey, swimming, soccer, softball, water polo, golf, baseball, football, and basketball programs. His supporters say, "For Neil youth sports are a labor of love."

Barbara Tobias of West Seneca, New York was chosen as the Hershey's STRIVE Volunteer of the Year. Tobias was recognized for her untiring volunteerism, valued organizational skills, humble work ethic, and ability to motivate others within the West Seneca Youth Hockey Association and her community. She is the mom of three hockey players and the adopted mother to a whole team of boys and their siblings. She is the association registrar, travel team manager, Booster Club president, hockey association board member, as well as the voice of the hockey moms.

Winners will receive a check for $2,500, payable to the youth sports organization of his or her choice. Ceremonies for each will be held in their communities or at their organization's national event.

The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) comprises the who's who in the youth sports industry. Its membership represents more than 180 organizations/corporations serving 52 million boys and girls participating in organized youth sports throughout the United States. NCYS members include organizations such as: Little League Baseball, Pop Warner Football, American Youth Soccer Association, United States Olympic Committee, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. To learn more about the NCYS visit

ABOUT The Hershey Company:
The Hershey Company has long offered successful fundraising programs for youth in America. Its sponsorship of the STRIVE Awards stems from The Hershey Company's devotion to helping children of all ages to "Dream, Reach and Succeed" in everything that they do. For more information about The Hershey Company and its fundraising programs, visit