SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis., June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnsonville Sausage today announced the results of America's vote for the Top 10 Educator and Community Celebration winners of the "Best of US" contest – a nationwide call to identify the individuals and events that reflect the American spirit. Based on more than 71,000 votes from individuals across the country, Robert "Bob" Tyrell, a teacher from East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah earned the $10,000 grand prize in the Educator category. The Community Celebration grand prize of $10,000 went to the organizers of Wayne Stock, a music festival held in North Creek, N.Y. that raises funds for victims of tragedy.
The "Best of US" contest featured unique nomination criteria in both the Educator and Community Celebration categories. Johnsonville summoned the nation to spotlight educators who are not only effective in the classroom but also take action beyond the walls of their classrooms in order to create better places to live. In the Community Celebration category, the contest focused on events that most reflect the values of America.
Based on a public nomination and voting process, here are the nation's top 10 "Best of US" educators and community celebrations:
- Bob Tyrell – Salt Lake City, Utah (East High School)
- Lori Telschow – Sheboygan, Wis. (Sheboygan North High School)
- Danielle Wilkins – Orland Park, Ill. (Elwood School)
- Margie Clevenger – Bowling Green, Ky. (T.C. Cherry Elementary School)
- Melinda Strickland – Rome, Ga. (Floyd County Education Center)
- Barbara Weber – Cheektowaga, N.Y. (Cleveland Hill Elementary School)
- Cynthia Reichenthaler – Huntington Beach, Calif. (Oak View Elementary School)
- Christopher Schroeder – Brighton, Mass. (Conservatory Lab Charter School)
- Kristina Vantassel – Marshfield, Wis. (Grant Elementary School)
- Lisa Runyon – Carrollton, Texas (McCoy Elementary School)
- Wayne Stock – North Creek, N.Y.
- Dundalk Heritage Fair – Baltimore, Md.
- Medal of Honor Host City Program – Gainesville, Texas
- Community Days – DuBois, Pa.
- National Sweetcorn Festival – Hoopeston, Ill.
- North Carolina 4th of July Festival –Southport, N.C.
- Barndance 2013 – Woodstock, Ill.
- CELEBRATE commUNITY – Fond du Lac, Wis.
- Popcorn Festival – Valparaiso, Ind.
- Day of Caring – Sheboygan, Wis.
In addition to the $10,000 grand prizes, the nine other finalists in each category received $1,000 each.
"We hope the rest of the nation is as inspired as Johnsonville is by these educators who recognize the power of giving back to local communities and community celebrations that bring people together in uniquely American ways," said Ralph Stayer, CEO of Johnsonville Sausage. "These unsung heroes and special events truly capture the Best of US."
The Top 10 in each category were identified following a public voting period that ran from May 23 to June 14. Robert Tyrell received the highest number of votes, earning him the grand prize from a pool of 119 original educator submissions.
"I'm so honored and humbled to be voted as Johnsonville's Best of US grand prize Educator. What a great capstone to my career!" said Bob Tyrrell, who retired at the end of last school year after 42 years as a high school teacher and coach at East High School in Salt Lake City. "Winning the top prize is such a wonderful and rewarding way to end my teaching career. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose to be a teacher."
In the Community Celebration category, the North Creek, New York-based Wayne Stock event earned the highest number of votes, among 156 nominations.
"We're truly touched by the outpouring of support for Wayne Stock," said Wayne Bukovinsky, North Country Hardship Fund Inc., President and Wayne Stock event organizer. "Johnsonville's generosity is helping put small towns with big purposes on the map. This awareness and prize money means so much to our community and will be put to good use helping victims of tragedy."
The nomination period for the Best of US contest began on March 26 and ended on May 13, during that time Johnsonville received 275 total nominations.
For additional information and details about all the Top 10 nominees, visit www.johnsonville.com/bestofus. No purchase was necessary to enter or win.
About Johnsonville Sausage, LLC
Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage is the No. 1 national brand of brats, Italian sausage, smoked-cooked links and fresh breakfast sausage links. Johnsonville employs approximately 1,400 members. Each member takes ownership of product quality to ensure the excellence and "Big Flavor" of Johnsonville Sausage. Founded in 1945 by Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, the company remains privately owned today. www.johnsonville.com.
SOURCE Johnsonville Sausage, LLC