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November 5th, 2010
01:18 PM ET

Heroes nominator: 'He inspired my wife and I so much that we moved to Cambodia to help him.'

Program Note: CNN Heroes received more than ten thousand nominations from 100 countries.. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18th (6am ET) at CNNHeroes.com

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Bill Morse
Nominated Aki Ra | HIS STORY

I first heard of Aki Ra about 7 years ago and came to Cambodia to find him. I was intrigued by the story of an ex-child soldier clearing landmines wherever he could find them and caring for wounded and orphaned kids at his home.

I returned to the U.S. a changed person.

What Aki Ra has accomplished is amazing. With little education, and nothing more than a determination to make his country safe for his people, he has cleared tens of thousands of landmines, and saved or changed the lives of dozens of children. He has galvanized people around the world to his cause, and reminded everyone that the horrors of landmines are not gone; that they kill and maim on a daily basis.

He defies the common belief that ‘one person can’t make a difference’. His work has inspired me and hundreds of others around the world to find a cause and support it.

He inspired my wife and I so much that we moved to Cambodia to help him in his work.

I don't have a lot of heroes. But my 'short list' is headed by Aki Ra. We hope that his nomination will inspire people to support the work of his mine clearing organization, and that we can see the scourge of landmines and unexploded bombs wiped from the face of the globe in our lifetime. People are being killed and injured every day. Landmines will be cleared by people like us, working together, giving a little bit here and little bit there.

But most importantly I want people to know that no matter where you are, whatever your background, or your economic condition, you CAN make a difference. Each of this year’s heroes saw challenge and began working to solve it. It all begins with little steps….and no step is too small.

We clear one mine at a time. As Aki Ra told me years ago: Minh Mui – Cheevit Mui (0ne Mine – One Life)
Thank you CNN for recognizing the work of everyday people. They will change the world.

Thank you CNN for recognizing the work of everyday people. They will change the world.

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Filed under: CNN Heroes
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Paul T. Isley III

    I have known Bill Morse for a number of years through the Los Angeles Adventurers Club. In fact, he and I made a trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp together. I can state categorically that everything Bill states is true and then some. What Aki Ra is doing to save lives in Cambodia is "off the beaten track" for our antennae but the fact remains that hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, mostly precious children, have been preserved for their families, culture, and future. Aki Ra deserves all support and recognition in his quest for making Cambodia a safer place by eliminating tens of thousands of active landmines.

    November 6, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  2. John Martin

    I worked in Cambodia for 12 years and visited Aki Ra's tiny, ramshackle de-mining centre back in the late 90s. It was then situated on a small back road leading to the famous Angkor Wat temple. Despite the lack of resources, his mine museum was impressive, he never asked for anything especially money and being an old Cambodia hand cynic, I found him refershing and totally sincere. I am delighted that you are recognised.

    November 6, 2010 at 4:18 am |