CNN Heroes honored in Hollywood
St. Bernard Project co-founder Liz McCartney has been selected as CNN's "Hero of the Year", on their Thanksgiving special hosted by Anderson Cooper and taped earlier this week.
McCartney left a lucrative career in Washington, D.C., to help families rebuild their lives in the devastated St. Bernard Parish in Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. She began the St. Bernard Project in 2006. To date, she has helped put 154 families back into their homes in St. Bernard Parish. Over 9000 people have volunteered to help the project.
If you missed the Thanksgiving Day show, it will be reairing on Saturday and Sunday on CNN.
Liz McCartney of the St. Bernard Project is CNN's "Hero of the Year" for 2008. At a star-studded gala event at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, CNN gave out their annual award for selfless charitable works.
Sometimes shows are simply inspirational. "CNN Heroes" is an award show that is the epitome of motivational inspiration. CNN honored its ten "heroes" of 2008, people who were nominated by the general public, on Thanksgiving night, November 27. Anderson Cooper hosted the annual event which held its first installment in 2007.
"Our Top 10 CNN Heroes are proof that you don't need superpowers -- or millions of dollars -- to change the world and even save lives," Anderson Cooper announced when he revealed the names of the ten finalists for "Hero of the Year" on October 9.
Hollywood's finest, all affiliated with charitable works themselves, presented the ten CNN Heroes. All finalists were recipients of $25,000 to further their particular charitable enterprises. The winner of "Hero of the Year" received $100,000 and was chosen by internet vote.
This year's winner received the most votes of over one million votes cast.
HOLLYWOOD, California (CNN) -- Singer Christina Aguilera joined fellow Grammy Award winners Alicia Keys and John Legend for "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which honored the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2008.
Christina Aguilera performs her hit single "Beautiful" at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."
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Liz McCartney, dedicated to helping survivors of Hurricane Katrina rebuild their homes, was named 2008 CNN Hero of the Year.
McCartney, who will receive $100,000 to continue her work just outside New Orleans, was selected from among the top 10 CNN Heroes after six weeks of online voting at CNN.com. More than 1 million votes were cast. Watch as Anderson Cooper interviews Liz McCartney »
"To the country and the world, I ask you to please join us," said McCartney, of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. "Together we can continue to rebuild families' homes and lives. ... If you join us, we'll be unstoppable." Watch McCartney's acceptance speech »
Hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper, "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" featured musical performances by Aguilera, Keys and Legend.
Keys sang "Superwoman," her tribute to women around the world, from her hit album "As I Am." Aguilera performed her hit single "Beautiful." Watch Aguilera's performance »
Legend, backed by the world-renowned Agape Choir, performed "If You're Out There," from his just-released album, "Evolver." Watch Legend's performance »
All three performances echoed the spirit of the CNN Heroes campaign, which salutes everyday people accomplishing extraordinary things in their communities and beyond.
In alphabetical order, the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2008 as chosen by the blue-ribbon panel are:
Tad Agoglia, Houston, Texas: Agoglia's First Response Team provides immediate help to areas hit by natural disasters. In a little more than a year, he and his crew have helped thousands of victims at more than 15 sites across the United States, free of charge.
Yohannes Gebregeorgis, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Moved by the lack of children's books and literacy in his native Ethiopia, Gebregeorgis established Ethiopia Reads, bringing free public libraries and literacy programs to thousands of Ethiopian children.
Carolyn LeCroy, Norfolk, Virginia: After serving time in prison, LeCroy started the Messages Project to help children stay connected with their incarcerated parents. She and volunteer camera crews have taped roughly 3,000 messages from inmates to their children.
Anne Mahlum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: On her daily morning jogs, Mahlum used to run past homeless men. Today, she's helping to transform lives by running with them, and others as part of her Back On My Feet program.
Liz McCartney, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana: McCartney moved to New Orleans to dedicate herself to helping Hurricane Katrina survivors move back into their homes. Her nonprofit, St. Bernard Project, has rebuilt the homes of more than 120 families for free.
Phymean Noun, Toronto, Ontario: Growing up in Cambodia, Noun struggled to complete high school. Today, she offers hundreds of Cambodian children who work in Phnom Penh's trash dump a way out through free schooling and job training.
David Puckett, Savannah, Georgia: Puckett started PIPO Missions to bring ongoing prosthetic and orthotic care to those in need. Since November 2000, he has helped more than 420 people in southeastern Mexico, free of charge.
Maria Ruiz, El Paso, Texas: Several times a week, Ruiz crosses the border into Juarez, Mexico, bringing food, clothing and toys to hundreds of impoverished children and their families.
Marie Da Silva, Los Angeles, California: Having lost 14 family members to AIDS, the nanny funds a school in her native Malawi, where half a million children have been orphaned by the disease.
Viola Vaughn, Kaolack, Senegal: The Detroit, Michigan, native moved to Senegal to retire. Instead, a group of failing schoolchildren asked her to help them pass their classes. Today, her 10,000 Girls program is helping hundreds of girls succeed in school and run their own businesses.