Search Reveals “GRANDparent of the Year”

GRAND Magazine, Humana and National Children’s Charity KidsPeace Announce Winner and 32 Finalists in Time for Sunday’s National Grandparents Day;

Free Gift Offered to All Grandparents

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.--()--In time for National Grandparents Day on Sept. 13, Connie Sailors of Aurora, Nebraska, has been named America’s “GRANDparent of the Year” by GRAND magazine, presenting sponsor Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), and the national children’s charity KidsPeace. The online publication for grandparents also released the names of 32 exemplary finalists and runners-up, and announced it would make a gift to every grandparent by offering without charge a subscription to the GRAND magazine to those who apply for it during September. Grandparents can get this free gift by going to

“Grandparents are now the primary caregivers for nearly six million children across the United States, and provide invaluable help to millions more,” says GRAND Magazine Publisher Christine Crosby. “It is time that we recognize their contribution, which over the past year has been even greater than usual.”

Families have been grappling with the economic downturn, and many nominations were received about how grandparents have been working to keep their loved ones healthy and happy during tough times. In the end, the GRAND Magazine panel picked Connie Sailors for her all-around sacrifice and strength. She is a grandmother whose door is always open to her grandchildren, where they can find a sympathetic ear and wise advice when navigating the perilous teen years, and where music, good food and laughter are always in good supply.

The GRANDparent of the Year will be honored with a five-day, four-night vacation for four to family-friendly Orlando, round-trip airfare to Orlando on AirTran Airways, hotel, rental car and tickets to Walt Disney World®, SeaWorld Orlando® or Universal Orlando®, plus admission to two of Orlando’s popular water parks and dinner at Arabian Nights. All photos and essays of winners are running in the September issue of GRAND Magazine -

“In choosing our winners, we read compassionate stories of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, grandparents who are active in their grandchildren’s lives despite disabilities, grandparents who moved away from comfortable lives to live closer to their grandchildren, grandparents who juggle work and family, and grandparents who are teachers of life, spiritual guides, role models, advocates for the rights of others, peacemakers and adventurers,” says Crosby.

“Grandparents are becoming increasingly critical to the health and welfare of our nation’s children and families,” says KidsPeace President and CEO William Isemann. “At a time when children are facing unprecedented stresses and many parents are busy juggling home and career, the deep reservoir of knowledge, parenting wisdom and help provided by today’s 79 million grandparents amounts to nothing less than a national treasure. We are pleased to recognize this growing trend and provide support and recognition to those who are raising increasing numbers of the nation’s children and making it possible for America’s families to thrive in good times – and bad.”

“Today’s grandparents have lived through wars, recessions, and for some of the older ones, even the Great Depression,” said Tom Liston, senior vice president of senior products with Humana. “With their experience and gentle guidance, grandparents have always been families’ secret weapon for success. Our hope now is that the national GRANDParent of the Year search will make their contributions a little less secret.”

Following is a list of those who were named “remarkable grandparents,” along with their hometowns:

Thomas Balogh   Bethlehem, PA
Marguerite and Bob Caron South Royalton, VT
Laura Cooper Elizabethtown, KY
Renee Weil Forest Hills, NY
Barbara “Bobbie” Wilder Las Vegas, NV
Verna Puckett Sarasota, FL.
Barbara Ausec Buena Park, CA
Mildred Deem Berlin, PA
Carol and Doug Lay Suamico, WI
Joan Vertucci Tallahassee, FL
Juanita Floyd Detroit, MI
Carol Stewart Maumee, OH
Cindy Johnson Bellevue, WA
David and Janice Willis Mims, FL
Derrell and Lea Dodd Hercules, CA
Camille Brennan Easton, PA
Lynette Betts Yuba City, CA
Gordy Arts Woodbury, MN
Keith Bolton, Jupiter, FL
Jerry and Patty Pemerton Algood, TN
Saundie Smith, Hilltop, W.VA.
H. Grady Thrasher, III Watkinsville, GA
Marti Murtha Queen Creek, AZ
Sushila Shah London, England
Michael Beyelia San Lorenzo, CA
Donna Johnson Dallas, TX
Jan McGill Gadsden, AL
Terri Jerome Port Huron, MN
Flora Shaughnessey Metairie, LA
Jeff DeValls Saint Johns, AZ

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Connie Sailors, other winners, GRAND magazine publisher Christine Crosby, Doug Bennett of Humana and experts at KidsPeace are available for interviews.

GRAND - The Online Magazine for GRANDparents and are international resources for today’s active grandparents.

Humana Inc. headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health benefits companies, with approximately 10.3 million medical members and 6.8 million specialty members. Humana offers a diversified portfolio of health insurance products and related services through traditional and consumer-choice plans to employer groups, government-sponsored plans, and individuals.

KidsPeace is a 127-year-old children’s charity dedicated to giving help, hope and healing to kids facing crises including traumas, neglect, depression, and the pressures of modern life. Founded in Bethlehem, PA in 1882, KidsPeace helps thousands of children each year at 50+ centers nationwide and millions more through public education and outreach.


Media Contacts:
Mark Stubis, 800-25-PEACE (800-257-3223)
GRAND Magazine
Christine Crosby, 727-327-9039
Humana Inc.
Doug Bennett Jr., 502-580-3625


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Media Contacts:
Mark Stubis, 800-25-PEACE (800-257-3223)
GRAND Magazine
Christine Crosby, 727-327-9039
Humana Inc.
Doug Bennett Jr., 502-580-3625