- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

John Spengler, the man responsible for airplane smoking bans and one of the first scientists to point out the deleterious effect of aerosol sprays on ozone levels, wasn't all that surprised when Teresa Heinz rang him up on the phone one day last fall.
"She'd called once before to get my company to solve some air pollution problems in her Boston house, and I thought something was wrong again," the Harvard School of Public Health professor told friends at the ninth annual Heinz Awards Monday night. "Then she said, 'No, that's not it.'"
It turned out Mrs. Heinz wasn't calling about noxious fumes in her Louisburg Square manse, but to tell him he was a winner of the 2003 Heinz environmental prize. Even better was the news that he would be sharing a $250,000 grant with an eminent co-awardee, Mario Molina of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, another authority on the way pollution affects human health.
Bernice Johnson Reagon, an expert on black sacred music and founder of the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, said she didn't find out she had won the Heinz prize in arts and humanities until nearly a month after Mrs. Heinz had called. "I was in 12-hour rehearsal mode, and I couldn't get back to her," Miss Reagon confessed, adding that she was "absolutely amazed" when she realized the magnitude of the award.
Recipients of the $250,000 awards, given in memory of Mrs. Heinz's late husband, Sen. H. John Heinz, are chosen by an anonymous board of 350 nominators. Mrs. Heinz, however, reserves the best part of the process breaking the news for herself.
"They're very polite when I tell them they've won and say, 'How nice.' Then I tell them about the financial part," Mrs. Heinz said just before the post-ceremony dinner in the Folger Shakespeare Library's Great Hall. "But many are stunned. Some of them start to cry."
Human condition honoree Dr. Paul Farmer came close to shedding a few joyful tears after watching a brief film about his mission to treat wretchedly poor HIV/AIDS patients in Haiti. There was laughter as well, though, when he told the billionaire Heinz foods heiress he had been struggling to come up with "57 ways to thank" her. Public policy award winner Geraldine Jensen, founder of a national movement to reform child-support enforcement, and Paul MacCready, who received the technology award in recognition of his work creating non-fossil fuel for aircraft and automobiles, also expressed their gratitude during the two-hour ceremony in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre.
Mrs. Heinz seemed pleased by the tributes but was endearingly shy in the spotlight as she introduced the awardees to a 200-strong audience that included Sen. Arlen Specter, George and Liz Stevens, Julie Finley, Lucky Roosevelt, Rusty Powell, Lloyd Cutler and Polly Kraft, Lloyd and Ann Hand, Jim Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, Ann Jordan, Andrea Mitchell and Phyllis Wyeth.
She'll be getting a lot more practice as she assists Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry (whom she married in 1995) in his quest for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. (Mr. Kerry, who is recuperating from prostate cancer surgery, discreetly kept to a back-row seat during the awards ceremony and left dinner early "to put his feet up," according to one table mate).
As part of the kickoff for Mr. Kerry's campaign, Mrs. Heinz recently changed her longtime Republican political registration to Democratic and also has announced that she will be known as "Teresa Heinz Kerry" to show she is 100 percent behind her husband's efforts.
She will, however, continue to use the Heinz name for charitable and philanthropic causes (as she did on the evening's program).
Asked about the inevitable confusion resulting from the simultaneous use of two surnames, Mrs. Heinz made it clear it wasn't much of an issue as far as she was concerned.
"I don't care," the glamorous grandmother said, tossing her auburn curls with a confident smile. "I'm Teresa. Or just call me 'Mamma T.'"

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