The CNN Heroes 2013 list published by CNN on Oct. 13 includes Dale Beatty, Richard Nares, Robin Emmons, Kakenya Ntaiya, Danielle Gletow, Dr. Georges Bwelle, Tawanda Jones, Chad Pregracke, Estella Pyfrom, and Dr. Laura Stachel. But more importantly, in introducing the Top 10 Heroes, who have won $50,000 each to use toward their ministries and efforts, CNN wants to point out that these names are meaningless until you hear what each person is doing with their own time and resources in order to help others.
And that includes things like building homes for 23 disabled veterans, which was done by a wounded Iraq vet, who lost both his own legs in that war. Then there is the man who lost his son to leukemia in 2000, but he went on to found a company in his son's name, which provides 2,500 free rides annually to low income children in San Diego, who are battling their own cancer diagnosis.
One woman in North Carolina was so impacted by her brother's mental illness, and how it drove him to live upon the street, eating out of garbage cans, that she sought to become his legal guardian, eventually placing him in a halfway house facility that treated his condition. But his physical health began to decline as his mental health improved, and she saw a correlation between the packaged food he was now getting versus the food he ate before.
Upon hearing that 72,000 in Charlotte also lacked access to fresh produce, too, she started a garden for them in her own backyard, since she was growing food for her brother now. And in the past five years she has grown and sold or given away 26,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to meet all those needs. And she does it with the help of 200 volunteers for her Sow Much Good ministry.
One doctor spent years watching his own father suffer, unable to get his medical needs met. It was before the man became a physician himself, so his hands were tied. But now that he is equipped with the knowledge to medically help others, this CNN Top 10 Hero travels to the jungle to provide free medical care to the impoverished, so they don't have to live like his father did.
One hero is credited with removing 7 million pounds of garbage from 22 rivers. He had help from 70,000 volunteers, but it all started with one man, who has committed his life to clean up the Mississippi River and other waterways.
One female hero in New Jersey has hit upon how to teach 4,000 children all about discipline, respect and community service. And she did it with a dance drill team, seeing everyone of her students go on to graduate high school in one of the poorest cities in the country.
Another female CNN hero in 2013 joined the top 10 distinction because she founded an organization that has made it their goal to grant foster children their wishes. Thus far, since 2008, in 35 states, 4,000 wishes have been granted.
One Kenyan village woman, the first in her village to attend college in the United States, felt so strongly about education opportunities that she went back home and opened a girl's school, which now serves 155 girls educationally in Kenya.
And an American doctor on a research trip in Nigeria was moved to action after she witnessed an emergency cesarean being performed in the dark due to a power outage.That experience birthed this doctor's "solar suitcases" creation, which has provided 250 new lights for use in surgical procedures and births in 20 developing countries since 2009. And that's how she made CNN Heroes 2013 list.
And even the elderly are included in the Top 10 Heroes list this year, with one grandmother taking her entire life savings and applying it to the purchase of a bus equipped with mobile computers.The granny wanted to help low-income children and adults in Palm Beach County be tutored in how to use today's technology. So she took the technology to them, on wheels.
Pushpa Basnet was named CNN Hero of the Year last year, and her story was touching, as she took in the children of parents who were sent to prison in Nepal. And if she had not done so these little ones would have been made to go to prison with their parents, as that is par for the course in that part of the world.
This year's Hero of the Year will get to keep their $50,000 earned just for making the Top 10 list, but they will also receive $250,000 as well as the lone winner of the Top 10 annual contest. So which of the heroes do you think should have even more money to continue doing what they do--or reap a financial reward like this for what they've already done?