Tuesday, June 27, 2006

An American Idol-style finalist in the workplace

A Colorado Springs emergency-room nurse is one of five finalists for the "2006 American Worker of the Year" award seeking votes over the next three months to win nearly $90,000 in prizes that come with the 15th annual competition.

Jeremy Gianzero, 26, an emergency room nurse at Penrose Hospital, is competing for votes with Lance Beto, 42, an electrical lineman in Helena, Mont.; David Bildstein, 42, a steel mill bricklayer in Cleveland; Janet Buras, 49, an elementary school principal in Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and Chris Davidson, 36, a pro mountain bike team mechanic from Salt Lake City.

The five were selected from "thousands of nominees" who submitted audio recordings or a 100-word or less essay about why they represented "the spirit of the American worker." The nominee receiving the most votes by Oct. 7 will get the award, along with a 2007 Ford F150 truck, a motorcycle, an outdoor grill and meat, boots and a room at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas during the Professional Bull Riders National Finals in November.

Gianzero was nominated by his wife, Jennifer, who says he pulls 12-hour shifts to help save lives and "give his family everything they want and need." He spends his free time working in his garage running an auto detailing and repair business. He worked as an emergency room technician while completing his nursing degree, which was awarded the same day he was notified he was a finalist for the award.

The contest is sponsored by Fort Worth, Texas-based Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., maker of the Dickies brand of work clothing. To vote or for more information on the competition and the finalists, go to http://www.workeroftheyear.com/

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