AMERICA VOTES CHAD PREGRACKE, A RIVER CRUSADER FROM EAST MOLINE, ILLINOIS, GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF MITCHUM'S HARDEST WORKING PERSON IN AMERICA CONTEST
(see letter from Chad below)
Documentarians Albert Maysles & Bradley Kaplan to feature Pregracke in a Mitchum Hardest Working film airing on Sundance Channel this Fall
(New York, NY - August 18, 2010) - At the culmination of Mitchum's four-month long "Hardest Working Person in America" (HWPIA) contest, America has named Chad Pregracke, the founder of Living Lands & Waters - a not-for-profit organization dedicated to cleaning up and preserving the nation's rivers - Mitchum's "Hardest Working Person in America." After receiving more than 50,000 votes, Pregracke was awarded the $100,000 grand prize from Mitchum and will be among the subjects featured in a short film by acclaimed documentary director Albert Maysles and partner Bradley Kaplan. The film is set to premiere on Sundance Channel this fall. Mitchum's "Hardest Working" campaign was Mitchum's first new brand campaign in five years and was created by director and producer Brett Ratner, founder of the creative content company Brett Ratner Brands (BRB).
"Chad Pregracke epitomizes the drive and dedication embodied in Mitchum's hardest working person in America contest," said Alan T. Ennis, CEO of Revlon, Mitchum's parent company. "Chad's work in preserving the Mississippi, Illinois and other rivers for the enjoyment of all truly justified America's decision to vote him the winner."
Pregracke founded Living Lands & Waters, a not-for-profit organization based in East Moline, Illinois, in 1998, which cleans up and preserves our nation's rivers. Today, the organization has grown to include ten full-time employees and a fleet of four barges, a towboat, six workboats, two skid steers, five work trucks and a large box truck. With this equipment, the crew is able to travel and work in an average of nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Potomac Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries. Since the project's inception, Pregracke, his crew, and more than 60,000 volunteers have collected over six million pounds of debris from our nation's greatest rivers.
"I'd like to thank Mitchum and America for honoring me as the Hardest Working Person," said Chad Pregracke. "Although Mitchum's contest focused solely on my efforts, I can't accomplish the mission without the help from a dedicated bunch of conservationists and thousands of volunteers that allow us to keep the rivers clean."
As the Grand Prize Winner of Mitchum's HWPIA contest, Pregracke will be featured, along with other hard working Americans, in a short film by legendary documentarian Albert Maysles and award-winning co-filmmaker Bradley Kaplan. The film is scheduled to premiere on Sundance Channel this fall.
"Capturing Chad's work on the river, doing the job he loves and we admire, will be an important and inspiring story to tell," said Albert Maysles. "Along with the Mitchum brand, I am honored to profile Chad and his team as they tackle the Mississippi, and we hope to offer an engaging look at this conservation crusader, hero that he is."
Receiving the second highest number of votes, Ripley, West Virginia resident Jason Perlak was named the Second Prize Winner of Mitchum's campaign and will receive a $20,000 cash prize. He is the founder and camp director of The Wilderness Christian Camp, an organization dedicated to build character, respect, and leadership in young campers. Mitchum and Brett Ratner also presented an "Audience Award" to Pregracke for his video, which received the most votes in the first round of the contest. Pregracke will receive an additional $5,000 prize and a "golden" Mitchum trophy.
"From a drill sergeant, fighter pilot and working mother, to a custodian, blacksmith and an actor, Americans cast nearly 90,000 votes to determine the winner of Mitchum's Hardest Working campaign," said Brett Ratner. "Their reality films offered a rare bird's eye view into our neighbors' lives and provided a source of inspiration on the tireless efforts of Americans every day."
Mitchum's HWPIA campaign launched in May 2010 and was designed to find, highlight and reward the hardest working man or woman in the country. Mitchum received more than 150 video submissions from hard working men and women from across the country. The top ten finalists were announced in July and Mitchum asked Americans to go to www.mitchumhardestworking.com and vote for the person they thought most deserved the title.
Brett Ratner Brands worked in conjunction with CAA Marketing, a division of Creative Artists Agency, on the marketing aspects of this campaign.
Ever since Mike Rowe, Dirties Jobs host and Ford spokesperson, called to tell me he was nominating me for Mitchum's "Hardest Working ____ in America" contest, I've been amazed at the number of people who have come up to me in random places such as gas stations, boat ramps, on the street, etc. to congratulate me. Without your votes and support, I would not have made it into the top 10, let alone win the Grand Prize and the "Audience Award". In the end, I received over 50,000 of the total 90,000 votes!
Not only is the money unbelievably cool but Albert Maysles, a legendary documentarian, will be coming to the Quad Cities to film next week. He has filmed documentaries such as "The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit" and "Gimme Shelter", a film on the Rolling Stones. He has already given me backstage passes to all upcoming Rolling Stone shows (just kidding - they're not even touring)!
Again, I can't thank all of you enough for, not only this huge honor, but all of your support through the years.