After a year-long campaign that introduced audiences around the world to amazing everyday people each week, CNN today announced its Top 10 heroes of 2013. These heroes have made extraordinary contributions to humanitarian aid and are making a real impact in their communities – from providing free healthcare to natives of Cameroon to cleaning up American waterways.
All 10 will be honored during CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute hosted by Anderson Cooper on December 1, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Worldwide voting also begins online today through November 17 to find the “CNN Hero of the Year.”
Each CNN Top 10 Hero receives $50,000, with the CNN Hero of the Year receiving an additional $250,000 to continue their inspiring work. Voters can log on to www.CNNHeroes.com to cast ballots once a day, every day. Votes can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Vote for your favorite 2013 honoree today:
- Dale Beatty (Statesville, NC) After Dale Beatty lost his legs in the Iraq War, his community thanked him for his service by helping him build a home. To pay it forward, Beatty co-founded Purple Heart Homes. Since 2008, the nonprofit has modified or helped provide homes for dozens of disabled veterans.
- Georges Bwelle (Yaoundé, Cameroon) For decades, Georges Bwelle watched his father suffer, unable to get the medical attention he needed. Now a doctor himself, Bwelle travels into the jungles of his native Cameroon nearly every weekend, providing free surgery for those who don't have access to health care.
- Robin Emmons (Charlotte, NC) More than 72,000 people in Charlotte, North Carolina lack access to fresh produce. When Robin Emmons discovered this problem, she turned her backyard into a garden. Since 2008, she has grown more than 26,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables for area residents.
- Danielle Gletow (Trenton, NJ) Danielle Gletow started One Simple Wish, a nonprofit that helps grant the wishes of foster children. Wishes are posted online, and anyone can pay to make a child's wish come true. Since 2008, the group has helped grant more than 6,500 wishes to children in 42 states.
- Tawanda Jones (Camden, NJ) Tawanda Jones is using dance to empower the youth of Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest cities in the country. Through Jones' drill team program, more than 4,000 children have learned discipline, respect and community service -- and all of them have graduated high school.
- Richard Nares (San Diego, CA) Richard Nares lost his son to leukemia in 2000. Today, his nonprofit, the Emilio Nares Foundation, provides transportation and support for low-income children battling cancer in San Diego. The group gives more than 2,500 free rides each year.
- Kakenya Ntaiya (Enoosaen, Kenya) Kakenya Ntaiya is inspiring change in her native Kenyan village. After becoming the first woman in the village to attend college in the United States, she returned to open the village's first primary school for girls. Today, Ntaiya helps provide an education -- and much more -- to 155 girls.
- Chad Pregracke (East Moline, IL) Chad Pregracke has made it his life's work to clean up the Mississippi River and other American waterways. Since 1998, about 70,000 volunteers have helped Pregracke and his nonprofit remove more than seven million pounds of garbage from 22 rivers across the country.
- Estella Pyfrom (West Palm Beach, FL) Estella Pyfrom used her life savings to create "Estella's Brilliant Bus," a mobile computer lab that provides digital access and tutoring for low-income children and adults in Palm Beach County. Since 2011, thousands of students have benefited from her bus.
- Laura Stachel (Berkeley, CA) Dr. Laura Stachel co-founded We Care Solar to provide a simple, reliable light and power source to health-care facilities in developing countries. Since 2009, more than 250 "solar suitcases" have been helping to save mothers' and babies' lives in more than 20 countries.