October 9th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Anderson Cooper introducing the Top Ten CNN Heroes of the Year

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly four thousand submissions from 75 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

A Global Celebration: Thanksgiving Night at 9p ET


Anderson Cooper

In this time of financial crisis, when Wall Street greed and gluttony seem to be the norm, it is refreshing to be able to take a few moments to talk about Heroes. Today we are announcing the ten CNN Heroes honorees. They have been picked by a distinguished panel from nearly four thousand people you have told us about in the past year. CNN viewers have written us, letting us know about remarkable people doing extraordinary things in 75 countries around the world. We’ve highlighted 30 individuals on the air this year, giving them much deserved praise and attention, and now the top ten CNN Heroes announced today will each be awarded $25,000. You can go online now to vote for the CNN Hero who inspires you the most and had the most impact - the CNN Hero of the Year. On Thanksgiving evening we will broadcast an all-star tribute to all 10 of these heroes but only one will be named the CNN Hero of the Year. That person will be awarded an additional $100,000.Be sure to watch CNN HEROES: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE Thanksgiving night at 9p ET. Throughout the day we will share their first reactions on the AC360° blog.

What’s so amazing about these Heroes is that they often did not have much money, but they had an idea and a determination to help other people. They usually started off small, and gradually built their programs using whatever resources they could find.

I don’t know if you saw last year’s tribute, but it was a very moving event. It was so incredible to see these heroes, some of whom rarely receive attention for their good deeds, all on a stage together. They came from different parts of the globe, and yet shared one thing in common: concern for others. I know I came away from the night with a renewed desire to do something positive in the world, and I know a lot of other people did as well. I hope you take a moment today to find out more about these Top Ten CNN Heroes of the Year. They have already changed so many people’s lives, and once you get to know their stories, they just might change your life as well.

Want to do something? IMPACT YOUR WORLD

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • CNN Heroes
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Michelle Fischer- Lafayette IN


    I watched CNN Heroes last year, and I was so moved, and this year was no different!!!! Wonderful Job to ALL of you! CNN is THE BEST!!!

    Have a great show tonight!

    360 Fan,
    Michelle (-:

    December 3, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  2. Lisa Washington

    I know that I'm saying this after CNN Heros event is over; but never year can we find out about the winner on that given day. I was very excited to know the winner but was disappointed to here who had won beforehand. Please keep it to yourself until the program air. After they announce it , it took all the joy of watching it . I mean why watch it when you already know the winner. I did watch it because I love everything CNN to. So next year surprise me. Also great job Anderson on a job always well done.

    December 2, 2008 at 11:51 am |
  3. Deborah Winthrop

    Dear Anderson:

    The CNN Heros event Thanksgiving night was exceptional. Kudos to you for sponsoring this and for getting involved and searching for the truth day in and day out. Your program is unsurpassed. Keep up the good work. We watch you every night. Sincerely, D Winthrop

    December 1, 2008 at 10:41 am |
  4. Stephanie - 25 - Placentia, CA

    Hi Anderson,

    I love CNN Heroes, but how can I vote for just ONE of them?! This is going to be an extremely difficult decision! They all deserve to be the winner.

    Love your show.

    November 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  5. penelope

    the concept of a "hero" is rather outdated in an era where collective action leads to spectacular results .. to ascribe to heroes is an act of vanity ..no man/woman can stand alone

    November 11, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  6. Pamina

    Hi Anderson,
    What a wonderful celebration of what people can do if they set their minds to helping others around them. They should all win a big prize in my book! Given all the greed we have seen around us in the past few years and the impact that is having not only here, but around the globe, it is great to see these people making an impact. Thanks for spotlighting them. And keep up the good work with keeping our politicians honest too!

    October 9, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  7. Terra Hoskins

    Hi Anderson,

    Thank you for bringing these stories to us. And thanks to the people who just had an idea, thought they could help someone else and had the courage to try.

    October 9, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  8. Jennifer - Michigan

    I really enjoyed last year's tribute! It was very heartwarming and inspiring. It's a perfect time to shine a light on all those wonderful people in the world. I'm looking forward to watching this Thanksgiving. You did a great job hosting, by the way.
    Mary J. Blige's performance was awsome as well. She was so moving – the tears streaming down her face. She's some performer! Hopefully, she'll be coming back this year also. I can relate to a lot of her songs – she's had it so tough.

    October 9, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  9. Paula, Colorado

    Hi. I saw your segment on American Morning earlier. (Very early!) I admire individuals who have concern for others without necessarily seeking attention or acclamation for what they do. Heroes seems a good outlet for recognition of these people and their work. I look forward to hearing more about the honorees–and to you hosting the program on Thanksgiving night.

    October 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  10. Camina T. in Arroyo Grande CA

    This cnn awards show is held in LA? Why LA? Because we need it or because of Hollywood? If it is being held in LA I wish it was being held somewhere else in the usa.. LA is a massive city that has got enough awards shows going on. And Cooper you host it all by yourself? Cnn's Kyra Phillips just did a great job talking about the heros . She is the best red headed anchor in my generation and alot more fun than Couric. I think she could help you out on stage and would probably love to do it.

    October 9, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  11. John F. Rogers

    Not a single soldier.

    How interesting.

    October 9, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  12. Hannah Storm

    Wow this is going to be a very hard decision because all 10 are so deserving. I am really looking forward to watching the Heroes special in November

    October 9, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  13. Theresa Berger

    Hello Anderson,

    While there are thousands upon thousands of heroes throughout many parts of the world – I can only want for their good work to come from their hearts and not for the evident appearance of being recognized as a hero just because...

    Heroes are silent...and not to say that those whom are going to be recognized aren't. And in saying that – I would like to commend you on your work for being a hero yourself by placing yourself within the eye of the torrential storms that had come and gone...jeorpardizing your own safety by giving your heart to make sure that others like myself are aware.

    It's easy to be determined a hero – but what is the principle foundation that it relies upon? I am never intending to argue your comments, thoughts or feelings. We all grow in some way – by learning the thoughts and feelings of others although it may not apply to our lives directly.

    A hero puts their lives on the line regardless of the struggle. And it's going to take a hero to pull this country out of the struggle that it's in.

    I enjoy your reporting.

    Have an enjoyable day.

    October 9, 2008 at 12:18 pm |
  14. Lilibeth

    I look forward to the Heroes special this year. When I saw last year’s special, I learned that we can all be heroes. We can help in many ways, big and small; it doesn’t matter what it is because whatever we’re doing to help others is making a difference in other people’s lives. Heroes are not necessarily famous; in fact, they don’t do it for fame and fortune, they do it out of kindness and love. This is what the world needs now, more than anything. Thank you, Anderson and CNN, for hosting this special again this year.

    Edmonds, Washington

    October 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm |
  15. Sarah in FL

    I am so happy CNN is doing this tribute again & I will be watching it on Thanksgiving night. My one question is: Why is Christiane Amanpour not co-hosting the show with you? She is remarkable.

    October 9, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  16. Rob Hughes

    There are a litany of conspirators from CEO greed, Congressional incompetence (and Greed) and citizen greed. the hardest part of this whole issue is to affect a change a paradiagm shift must occur. Let us not forget it was the american consumer that drove the economy for years.

    If you don't believe ask a friend honestly how much credit card debt he/she current holds? Or how much have they saved in their 401k's? Don't be surprised to hear the lasting affects of the Dems and Repubs is a culture that was enabled to incurr enough debt to choak a horse.

    We should all give a resounding applause to ourselves for contributing to this crisis. Keeping up with the Jones' has polarized society into those with debt and those without (have vs have nots). Same classical discussion be we dug ourselves in this hole.

    How to get out? Hold people from the top down accountable. From CEO's to the oversight committee and goverment agencies (don't buy the I did not know excuse). Recall the elected officials this spring for their incompetence. Purge the congress of this poison. At least give the new president a fight chance (whom ever it might be....)


    October 9, 2008 at 11:14 am |
  17. Jon schnieder

    Well, Washington has done it to us again. They bail out these bums on wall st. so it becomes party time and AIG sends salesmen to a resort thanks to American Tax payers. I could NEVER dream of going to a resort of this type even in the best of times but I'm paying for these bums to go. Where are the strick guide lines Washington was going to keep on all this money given to AIG and others. To top it all off, everything is still going down the toilet.
    Tell me what we have to be thankful this Thanksgiving............people being being laid off.............retirement accounts disappearing........prices of everything going up.......foreclosures...........NICE GOING WASHINGTON.......You got us again.

    October 9, 2008 at 10:59 am |
  18. Genny

    Anderson: In your selection of the CNN Heroes, were any of our combat heros or their family members considered?

    October 9, 2008 at 10:26 am |
  19. Anne,Newfoundland,Canada


    These days,with all the doom,gloom,greed,corruption,etc.,it is nice to see REAL people for a change,doing good for others,and NOT for themselves.

    How anyone could narrow this field down to just 10, well,it must have been incredibly hard.

    They ALL deserve recognition,praise,and to be called heroes,for their caring,compassion,and their willingness to try and make a difference somehow....thank heavens for people like them.

    Thank you,CNN for bringing their stories to us.

    Congratulations to ALL the thousands of people who were considered for these awards:

    you are ALL our heroes for what you do,you ALL deserve this honor.

    I look forward to this years show.

    Take care,Anderson.


    October 9, 2008 at 10:24 am |
  20. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Hi Anderson,

    Wow. You were up early! Hope you get a chance to rest some before tonight. Talk about your long day. Yikes!

    Your presentation was awesome. I am off to read the pieces on these amazing folks and vote. They are all so worthy! Tough decision.

    Great choice to do CNN Heroes on Thanksgiving, Anderson. Completely appropriate. See you tonight! Get some rest.

    October 9, 2008 at 10:15 am |
  21. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Good Morning Anderson!
    Drum roll please~ How refreshing to see people who don't have the means, but still make a difference. What a bright and shining example they are in this dark and dismal world.
    Thanks for the ray of sunshine and inspiration. I'll be watching with a smile~

    October 9, 2008 at 10:14 am |
  22. Heather,ca

    Thank you Anderson for continuing to acknowledge people who engage in selfless acts of kindness to make our world a better place. You are my truthful and honest news hero.

    October 9, 2008 at 10:02 am |
  23. Cheryl Munford

    Heroes: How does one choose? They are all so special. I really can't. My vote was out of shame. I will never forgot how people in New Orleans died from thirst and needs while our government could not get their "act" together.
    The children begging, old people in such pain.... and no help! Yet news media could walk the streets.
    What would have happened had the Superdome been filled with Congressmen or Senators.
    I was so ashamed.
    I vote for Liz.... God bless her. Cheryl Munford

    October 9, 2008 at 9:51 am |
  24. Mike, NC

    it is great that your team takes the time to appreciate the small people who make the big changes in our world. I actually caught the tail of your tribute last year, and I remember wishing I had DVR'd it because to see all of the work they put in...it really makes the world stand still, even if just for that moment. It takes people like these and people like you who have given years of their lives to help and spread the word of these people in need! We appreciate your time and efforts, you are spreading love and compassion and change by doing this. Best wishes.

    October 9, 2008 at 9:27 am |
  25. Joshua Cudd, San Antonio, TX

    And why wasn't Mr. Anderson Cooper on this list?
    Clearly – hero.
    Even if he doesn't think so, and can't take a compliment to save his life.

    October 9, 2008 at 9:19 am |
  26. Michelle fonthill,ont, canada

    HI Anderson
    The Cnn Heros left me feeling very inspired by the goodness that people are doing all over the world.It was very moving to see the geniune act of kindness that everyone can show to another human being.I wish more people would carfe and hopefully this will inspire more of the world to show some kindness and do something postive to help each other.

    Thanks for the post Anderson
    keep blogging !
    Michelle D.

    October 9, 2008 at 9:19 am |
  27. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson
    Just watched jou on tv.i making my vote.it was not easy,because all this ten poeple do realy good things.i thank you personly,because you of course do a verry good job every day.but today(wake up early this morning do this job,and i belive jou going to do jour job tonight at ac 360,too) today it will be a verry long day for you.

    October 9, 2008 at 9:14 am |
  28. Annie Kate

    I saw last year's event and it was very inspiring. I'm looking forward to seeing this year's show as well. Its encouraging to know that in this fast paced world we live in now that is so depersonalized that there are people who will still reach out a helping hand and a caring heart for someone in need. CNN does us all a great service by reminding us of this each year; I hope this will continue for many years to come.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 9, 2008 at 9:12 am |
  29. Marcy

    amen that was one of the better CNN specials aired last year and i can't wait for this one. I hope this will continue to be a yearly event!

    Mobile, AL

    October 9, 2008 at 9:10 am |
  30. Cindy

    It is very refreshing to see people in these days and times that want to help others instead of only thinking about themselves. They are few and far between unfortunately these days!

    Honestly I haven't seen many of the honorees this year on CNN. I wasn't even sure you all would be doing this again this year until you started running ads for the show. I'm glad that you all decided to do it again and this year in the Kodak Theatre. That will be cool!


    October 9, 2008 at 9:08 am |

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