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December 25th, 2010
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Opinion: Discover the joy of helping others

J.R. Martinez was severely burned while serving as a soldier in Iraq at 19.
J.R. Martinez was severely burned while serving as a soldier in Iraq at 19.

J.R. Martinez
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Jose Rene Martinez was severely burned while serving in Iraq in 2003. He is a motivational speaker and plays combat veteran Brot Monroe in ABC's "All My Children." He is also a spokesman for CNN Hero Dan Wallrath's organization, Operation Finally Home. "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve at 1000, 1800 and 2300 GMT and on CNN/US on Christmas Day at 6 p.m. ET.

(CNN) - This world is a busy place with billions of people and billions of things to achieve and experience. It's easy to live a lifetime without knowing the feeling of helping others.

But can you really blame people for making a way for themselves and not others? That's the message you get from birth: "Go after your dreams and don't let anything or anyone keep you from it."

I hear people ask: "What's in it for me?" or "Why should I help you, or them?" Could it be that they were never taught the importance of helping others or know how much they could gain from it themselves?

For me it wasn't someone, but more something, that made me realize the importance of helping others. It was simply visiting a place that some have never visited before - and fighting for my life.

Read more


Filed under: CNN Heroes • Opinion
December 25th, 2010
05:30 PM ET

Video: Putting a stop to sex trafficking

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'We have to fight against this crime and protect the children from this.'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
December 25th, 2010
05:15 PM ET

Video: Giving free homes to wounded vets

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'All kinds of emotions raced through me, knowing that now more help was coming for our true heroes.'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
December 25th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Video: Healing and hope in a wounded city

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'This distinction does not belong to me. The many people I work with… are the real heroes.'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
December 25th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Video: Feeding 400,000 children a day

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'This is the most incredible opportunity we have ever had to raise awareness of this vital work'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
December 25th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

Video: Lighting the way to a better future

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'I really feel encouraged and I will wake up with more energy to do more.'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
December 25th, 2010
02:00 PM ET

Video: A safe place to call home

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'I am thrilled, excited, grateful and humbled.'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
December 25th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Video: Clearing the path to a safer land

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'I have never been chosen by anyone for anything.'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
December 25th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

Video: A moving force for better health

Editor's Note: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" replays on CNN International on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 1000, 1800, 2300 GMT and on CNN/U.S. on Christmas Day, December 25, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

Related: 'I feel like a gift has been given and I can really use it to help others who are struggling.'


Filed under: CNN Heroes
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