GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ (April 13, 2017) – Vanessa Francesco, a 20-year-old health science major from Somers Point, was named the 2017 HERO of the Year at Stockton University on Tuesday, April 11. The HERO of the Year is a student who exemplifies ‘HERO’ qualities in serving as a safe and sober designated driver for friends and family.
“Vanessa’s example of being a designated driver and encouraging others to take the pledge is changing people’s behavior,” said Bill Elliott, founder of the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers. “It only takes one person to make a difference.”
Francesco was selected from submitted essays by a panel of Stockton administration, HERO Campaign staff and Cherie Sloan of Sicklerville, Stockton’s 2016 HERO of the Year. The essay details how the nominee has gone over and above in serving as a designated driver. A panel of administration staff selected the winning nominee from the submitted essays.
“What stood out to me about Vanessa was her longstanding involvement with driving safety programs,” Sloan said.
First runner-up for HERO of the Year went to Stephanie Campos, 22, of Pleasantville, a mathematics major.
Second runner-up went to Bailey Rogers, 20, of Mays Landing, a health science major.