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
Nominated Harmon Parker | HIS STORY
I nominated Harmon Parker as my CNN Hero because he has voluntarily served as an authentic servant to remote Kenyan tribal groups for the past 15+ years. He has seen their lives up-close and first-hand, and he knows the critical nature of their needs.
He began by drilling simple water wells in arid areas, but soon moved along to small footbridges made of locally available materials. He is a brick-mason by trade, and uses his hands to save lives. He is from California, and could be living there quite well, building houses for the wealthy. He prefers building bridges for the desperate.
Without the benefit of any PR people, he has almost single-handedly raised the money to build larger and larger bridges across more and more dangerous rivers and ravines. To do this, he leads a hard life away from his home in Nairobi, and he befriends, and virtually lives with, the members of these tribes as though they were next-door neighbors. In fact, he has trained a number of the young men in these groups to assist him in the increasingly complicated engineering of these bridges. He has sent at least one of them to an American university at his expense. He is not sponsored by some big NGO, but is there because he loves the people.
I was delighted, but not surprised, when I heard that Harmon had been selected as one of the Top 10 CNN heroes. I believe he deserves it. My desire was not only to honor him for his heroism, but to also nominate him in the hope that the CNN publicity would help bring to him the money he needs to build more of these life-saving bridges
Harmon is a quiet man, who has a genuine and proactive love for people. He is motivated to save lives, while also showing his love for them in a pragmatic way.
If you had ever seen, as I have, a hippopotamus or crocodile attack a person, you would know the danger some of these people face on a daily basis. They already live as desperately poor people with virtually no opportunity to improve their situation. Harmon, at least, gives them life and friendship, and he gives it gladly!
Updated: 3:17 pm 11/11/10
Filed under: CNN Heroes
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