November 29, 2009


"Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody..." That's kind of how I was feeling last night. It had been a busy day, so I crashed at home, as usual. I was feeling kind of "itchy", though, like I wanted to do something, but didn't know what. I didn't have anywhere to go...didn't feel like sitting at the computer...didn't have the patience to read a book, so I was channel surfing on the TV. I kept switching programs because there was mostly crap on to watch, none of which really appealed to me. Then, just before 11:00, I was looking at the online TV guide and noticed a show coming up on CNN called "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute". I decided to give it a try...and, boy, am I glad I did!

This show was about normal, every day people -- people like you and me -- who have done something extraordinary to change the world and make it a better place. For example, there is a man who was a contractor working in Iraq in 2004 who discovered a need for child-sized wheelchairs, so he started a foundation to raise money and purchase them. He even puts them together and delivers them to the children themselves. Now, this may not sound like much, except there are thousands of children -- some of them hurt in the fighting going on there -- who are carried around by their parents or who literally drag themselves through the streets because they have no other way to get around. Since 2004, he has bought and distributed 650 wheelchairs!

There was a teenager who lost his legs in a boating accident. Fortunately, his family had good health insurance and he not only survived, but was able to get prostheses to enable him to lead a "normal" life. He found that there were many children, though, without adequate insurance (or any at all, sometimes) who could not afford prostheses, so he started a foundation to raise money and provide them. I learned that a child usually needs a new prosthetic every 18 months as s/he is growing. This young man has dedicated his life to making the lives of other children better.

There were something like over 7,000 people nominated around the world for this award and 10 were chosen to be honored in the program. Each received a $25,000 grant to continue their work. One was chosen as the "CNN Hero of the Year" and received an additional $100,000.

It was an incredibly inspiring show to watch, especially after seeing so many awards shows lately that honor people for being able to sing or dance or entertain. I'm not minimizing those awards, but there is something inherently wrong in this country when we hold entertainers or sports figures in higher esteem than people who are doing grassroots work to make this world a better place by putting the needs of others ahead of themselves!

This awards show is going to be repeated tonight, Sunday, November 29, at 8:00 and 11:00 pm ET/PT. I encourage you to watch it or, if necessary, record it to watch later. I think you will find it just as inspiring as I did. If you can't watch the show, then go to and read about the 2009 recipients. You can also nominate someone for the 2010 award if you know anyone who is worthy of the honor.

Please don't miss it. It is well worth the time to watch!

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