January 5, 2009

It's here! Our new website! What a great way to start the new year as Jenny's Heroes continues into 2009 with a second million dollars! The 2008 heroes have set the standard for how much good can be done by just one person. They have benefited tens of thousand of people with their caring hearts. I can't wait to see how many more people can be helped this year.

January 6, 2009

I have lots of updates to share. Let's see... where do I start?
Sister Marisa in Miami sent a beautiful Christmas card and in it she said, "The Smart Boards and projectors were just delivered and installed and ready to use in January. I will make sure to send you pictures."
Jackie Miller in Oneonta, Alabama had new blinds installed in the Appalachian School lunchroom. We look forward to pictures from medical assistant, Jackie.
Karla Wingard from Rising City, Nebraska got new warm-up suits for the Rising City Public School's track team.
Daniel Buglio, our police officer from Allentown, Pennsylvania, emailed us about the computer lab he installed in Slatington. "The library is kicking with the computers! It is great! The kids and grown-ups are loving them. I walked in the library last week and sat at a PC, watching and talking to the children...it is amazing how they navigate and know the computer."
Julia Roberts Boggess, our school librarian from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee is very excited that her new books have arrived! They are planning an assembly at the school where all of the faculty and staff will share their "book picks" with the students. "We are very, very excited!"
Welton Locklear, disabled veteran from Pembroke, North Carolina, received his new basketball scoreboard and time clocks last Friday. They will be trying them out next Saturday at a home game against Port City. The All Heart Tornadoes were also able to purchase a handicapped accessible bus to be used for trips to their away games. "Thanks to the VSA Arts at UNCP Pembroke," wrote Welton, "I want to thank everybody that was responsible for making this happen."
T.K. Cassidy-Fleming in Dalton, Georgia, tells us that the new electronic school sign she is providing for Dug Gap Elementary is delayed and won't be delivered until January 12th.
John McBride, teacher and racing coach from Yuma, spent his Christmas break training with his racing team. The kids had a chance to give a little back by cleaning and fixing donated bikes to be given away at Christmas. Together they fixed up 13 bicycles!
Well, those are just some of my updates. More to come!

January 8, 2009

Kiki Tucker, our big Holiday Grant winner in Brooklyn, is already looking to her next big event for the hundreds of children in her housing development. The next one will likely be a big shoe extravaganza where she will provide new shoes for every single child.
Susan Cha, in Wilmington, Delaware, is finally seeing her first aid supplies being ordered and will soon be delivered to every school in the Red Clay District. Fifteen thousand children will benefit!
More applications than ever are coming in and although I've stopped counting, it's probably close to 10,000 by now. It's very hard to choose, knowing that so many can not be helped, but I try to focus on the ones I can help.

January 9, 2009

Russ Stewart, our nursing home maintenance supervisor in St. Marys, Kansas is getting ready for the grand opening of the new movie theater he is providing for the seniors there. They are just days away from finishing the construction and Director Michael Bomberger says, "I can almost smell the popcorn!"
Dr. Andre Peltier, our science teacher in Chesapeake, Virginia, told me he is training about 20 teachers from other middle schools to build and program robots as a way to extend his program to hundreds more students. Andre is very excited to see students realize exciting career opportunities in the sciences they might never have dreamed of in the past.

January 12, 2009

Exciting news from Dalton, Georgia! T.K. Cassidy-Fleming told me today that the new electronic school sign she provided for Dug Gap Elementary, where she is the librarian, went up today. All the students were outside to watch it happen and it's beautiful!

January 13, 2009

We finally have our first hero of 2009. It's Police Sgt. Jaime Green from Kuttawa, Kentucky. She requested $1,000 to purchase new binoculars and hand-held tape recorders for the Eddyville Police Department. Eddyville has a population of just over 2,000 and there are six officers on the police department. The binoculars will enable the officers to meet OSHA requirements for viewing hazardous plaques on tractor-trailers that are involved in a wreck and the digital recorders will enable officers to properly interview suspects.

Click here for the full story

January 15, 2009

We are busier than ever. There are a lot of heroes shopping right now which keeps Damon busy paying bills, and I am a week behind in some hero updates. But here's some great news from our passionate Special Ed teacher Roger Nott in Logan, Ohio, who gave his classroom a high-tech makeover. He's getting a new classroom next year, which means his STARS Program will be able to serve more students. That's something Roger was hoping would happen and we're very happy for him. And Dr. Lani McLane, our Montana dentist who is providing free sealant to area children is heading out tomorrow to two more schools within a 30 mile radius of Bozeman. Five more days until Obama!!!

January 16, 2009

Rabbi Merrill Shapiro is our newest hero today. He's from Palm Coast, Florida and requested funds for a computer, monitor, printer, and internet service for the Flagler County Cold Weather Shelter Coalition where volunteers provide emergency cold weather shelter for the homeless when temperatures fall below 40 degrees. Rabbi Shapiro told me that the real heroes are Carla Traister, who heads the coalition and the Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Bunnell, Reverend Elizabeth Gardner who dedicate their lives to helping the homeless. I was surprised to learn that temperatures can drop below freezing there at night and that homeless people are often encamped in the woods. We added some extra money for warm clothing to this grant.

Click here for the full story

January 17, 2009

Today we received a note for Travis Wiersma, our very first Hero from 2008 and it was so touching I decided to share it here as well as on Travis' page. Although the note was for Travis, what it meant to me was that a year later, Travis is still making a difference. His gift to the nursing program, all that new equipment, will continue to benefit students like Marie for years to come. Travis, I am so proud of you!

"Dear Travis Wiersma,
During my first lab in the evening CNA class at MATC, the instructor relayed the story to us about you applying to the Jenny Jones Foundation on MATC's behalf for their Nursing Assistant and Nursing program. As a student who will benfit from this up-to-date lab, I want to extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude towards you and Jenny Jones for making my experience at MATC top-notched! I really look forward to developing my nursing assistant skills in that lab. All nurses start with nursing assistant skills and further develop their nursing skills throughout their lifetime. My goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner in a developing country working with people to increase health and wellness through healthcare and education. I have a long road ahead of me, however I've taken the first step, taking a Nursing Assistant class to become certified. I just wanted you to know that you had a part in my training. Thank you!

Marie McCutcheon
CNA student
MATC Downtown"

January 20, 2009

Speaking of heroes, we have a new president! Barack Obama was sworn in this morning and spoke of the responsibilities we all have to improve our communities and help others. I wish he could have seen all of our Heroes; they are already leading the way!

January 22, 2009

I have lots of updates: The new basketball wheelchairs are ready to be ordered. Welton Locklear from Pembroke, North Carolina, tells us the measurements for his team wheelchairs are all done. And Susan Cha, whose gift of first aid supplies to an entire school district in Wilmington, Delaware, is benefiting 15,000 children, finally had her gifts delivered to the schools. And John McBride was contacted by an avid cyclist who just relocated to Yuma, offering to ride and work with his young racing team. What a great ripple effect from John's story.

January 24, 2009

I am so proud of teacher John McBride from Yuma and all the kids on his Turning Point bike racing team. On New Years Day, they met up with the Imperial Valley Velo Club in Ocotillo, California for a challenging ride. This is what Imperial Valley Velo Club posted on their website about the Youth Division: "The stars of the day were the 15 dashing young members of the Yuma Turning Point youth cycling team. Clad in matching noble red kits and sinister black bikes, the middle school kids soon left many a veteran cyclist behind. Fourteen-year old Rodrigo kept a fierce pace all the way to Agua Caliente, giving 50+ Harold plenty of motivation to keep pedaling. Props to John McBride, team mom Claudia, and mechanic Isaac for their great work with these young folks." This is what commitment and focus and training can accomplish. Imagine what else these kids will be able to do in life!

January 28, 2009

We have a new hero today but things didn't go as planned. Dee Wild is part of a K9 search and rescue team in Slidell, Louisiana and she requested $7,000 to purchase new ham radios for the entire team of 15 volunteers. We made arrangements for my surprise phone call today to Dee at work but when I called, I was told that Dee was out sick. What? No one called to tell us and the press was on the way! So Damon and I went into high gear, trying to catch the reporters in their cars to alert them and luckily, they took it well. I decided to call Dee at home with the good news. Sick as she was, she was still excited about the grant. Her Yellow Labrador Retriever, "Sky," has responded to numerous searches, including Hurricane Katrina, so we are including "Sky" as one of Jenny's Heroes too.

Click here for the full story

February 2, 2009

Congratulations to middle school teacher John McBride who is turning at-risk kids around with his bike racing team. He just signed a one-year contract for factory sponsorship with Arizona precision bicycle manufacturer and supplier Velo Vie (www.velovie.com). They will provide support equipment at factory cost, banners, T-shirts, hats, and will even arrange for the kids to train with their sponsored Italian team! A Super Bowl-sized congratulations to John and the entire team.

February 3, 2009

It was one of our smaller grants, but retired music teacher Nina Markle is doing great things in Middletown, Ohio with her new piano lab. Some of her adult students wrote personal stories about why they are taking lessons and they are a great, and inspiring, read.

February 4, 2009

One of our first heroes, Dr. Lani McLane, a community dentist in Bozeman, Montana, is continuing to take her "Molar Patrollers" team out to remote areas of the state to provide free dental sealant to children. The crew recently visited Quaw and Ridgeview Elementary schools in Bozeman, and the small communities of Manhattan and Three Forks. They treated 85 children and placed over 105 FREE dental sealants! Great job, Lani!

February 9, 2009

BIG NEWS! Damon's new bride is pregnant! For any newcomers, Damon is the administrator for all things Heroes. He handles all the purchases, adds all the website photos and press, and he and I manage this whole grant program ourselves. He's a great guy and he is very excited about becoming a father. Congratulations to Damon and his wife, Wendy!

February 11, 2009

I'm getting more applications than ever so I guess word is getting out. It must be close to 10,000 by now. It's very hard to choose when needs are so great everywhere but I'm doing the best I can.

February 13, 2009

The Penobscot Indian Reservation lies just north of Bangor, Maine. It's where our newest hero, Maria Girouard, grew up and she is now the Director of Cultural Preservation for the Penobscot Nation whose goal is to preserve and teach their ancestral language to members of the tribe. Maria has requested $15,000 to purchase equipment and furnishings to create a new language learning and resource room. The room will provide tribal members with books, audio & video recordings, and language tutors. Maria grew up with her grandparents and has sent us a beautiful photograph of her great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Ranco, in her native regalia.

Click here for the full story

I called Maria today at the Penobscot Nation's Community Building with the news that she would receive her grant.

February 16, 2009

Our wheelchair basketball team in Pembroke, North Carolina just received three of their new wheelchairs. Hero Welton Locklear ordered five chairs total so there are two more coming soon, just in time for their national championship games in March.

February 18, 2009

It was a big day in St. Marys, Kansas today as our Hero Russ Stewart's new chapel-theater was unveiled at a grand opening ceremony at the nursing home. Imagine our hero, Russ, arriving in a Hummer stretch limousine. It may the longest limousine I have ever seen! Russ's granddaughter blindfolded him for his surprise trip in the Hummer. Over a hundred guests attended to extend their congratulations and appreciation, even a tearful appreciation from the daughter of a resident who passed away just weeks ago. All in all, it was a great culmination of years of planning and months of hard work with the support of so many. Congratulations to Russ and everyone at St. Marys Manor!

February 25, 2009

We finally made it to Alaska! Our newest hero is Nancy Bertels, who has been the Librarian at the Sutton Public Library for 25 years.

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Sutton is not far from Wasilla, which is just outside Anchorage and has a population of 1,080. Nancy requested $2,000 to purchase LEGOs for a new LEGO Club to be hosted at the library as a way to bring adults and children together for a fun, healthy, safe activity.

March 3, 2009

We are excited to welcome our newest hero, Milton Johnson, who teaches astronomy and science at South Mountain High School in Phoenix. Milton requested $10,000 to purchase telescopes and related equipment for his Astronomy Club where he shares his passion for stargazing with his students. With the new telescopes, Milton plans to host Astronomy Open House nights at the school, nearby elementary schools, and parks as a way to give back to his community.

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Milton also notes that 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy and the 400th anniversary of Galileo's astronomical telescope. His efforts fit into the larger international effort to increase astronomical awareness in our society.

March 4, 2009

It's always good to hear from some of our original heroes from back in the day. Teddy Robinette, a retired coal miner who provided life-saving equipment for the volunteer fire fighters in Turkey Creek, Kentucky, sent us photos of his two grandsons. When I asked how he was doing, he replied, "I'm hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit!" I just had to share that.

March 11, 2009

"Literacy is the key to changing lives," says our newest hero, Jolene Constance, who works as an Assistant Warden at the C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy, Louisiana, an adult male state prison.

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Jolene requested $7,000 to purchase almost 20,000 books for the facility's “Ready to Me Daddy” program which teaches incarcerated fathers to read using children's books, which they then read to their children when they visit. The dads are videotaped reading to their children and then the books and DVDs are mailed to the children. Jolene's gift of these books will benefit over 3,300 children and may help reduce the recidivism that often occurs in prisons.

March 13, 2009

It's Friday the 13th but it's a lucky day for our newest hero, 24-year-old Joshua Sindel. Joshua is a substitute high school teacher and an AmeriCorps member with an usual talent - he'a a stilt walker. He requested $1,000 to purchase five pairs of stilts to teach students in the Oakridge School District in Oregon a new way to have fun and stay out of trouble. I called Joshua today with the good news that he can order the new stilts and get the kids ready to perform in the local Tree Planting Parade in May.

Click here for the full story

March 16, 2009

Over the weekend, I decided to make a list of the items that our heroes have purchased so far. The variety of items is so widespread it's really fun to see where the money has gone. So far, we've been in 30 states, and our heroes range in age from 20 to 70! And I can only imagine how many people have benefited from these gifts so far - tens of thousands for sure.

click the image to see the entire list

March 18, 2009

We're proud to introduce our newest hero, James Backus, who is the Chief Deputy for the Clark County Sheriff's Department in Clark County, Wisconsin. James requested $19,000 for high visibility safety vests and turbo-flares for the hundreds of emergency responders who protect the entire county that covers 1,200 square miles. His gift will benefit 35,000 county residents.

Click here for the full story

March 22, 2009

Last night I went to see our hero and music teacher Marcos Mendoza's Valley Youth Jazz Band & Drum Line perform and they were great! They held a fund raiser at St. Bridget of Sweden School in Van Nuys and the turnout was really good. Marcos had used his grant to purchase musical instruments for the kids and they put on an amazing big band show. There's more about it on his page.

March 25, 2009

Sarah-Ann Woodfield, a part-time assistant in Brier, Washington, is our newest hero. She requested $2,000 to provide signs for a store that provides free used children’s clothing to families in need… that is when people can find them. “The WORKS,” which serves hundreds of families in the Shoreline School District, is 100% volunteer run. They will receive new high-quality outdoor signs for the building and for a fence, as well as several helpful signs to direct people inside the store.

Click here for the full story

March 28, 2009

Last Christmas, we gave a one-time grant of $100,000 to Kiki Tucker in Brooklyn who is spending it on the 350 children who live in her housing development in N.Y.C.. First, she gave Christmas gifts to every single child and today, she's giving them all brand new shoes! Three hundred and fifty pairs of Nike's! Next on her list: Back-to-School in the fall. Kiki is an angel!

March 30, 2009

Pregnancy news from one of our heroes! Ohio school teacher, Roger Nott and his wife, Sheri, who's also a teacher, are expecting their first baby in October! Congratulations to them both!

April 2, 2009

Our newest hero may also be our hardest working hero. For the past ten years, Susan Edwards has been the only employee of the Smith-Keys Computer Learning Center in Texarkana, Arkansas, where she offers free basic computer training, job search assistance, and an after-school program to 350 residents of the Smith-Keys Apartments who live at or below the poverty level. The center is also available to 5,000 underserved people living in the immediate area. No one is ever turned away. Susan requested $10,000 for new computers, teaching software, and wireless networking equipment.

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April 7, 2009

If you've ever wondered why I love doing this so much, the answer is in the picture below...

click the image to enlarge

April 9, 2009

She's a working mom and an environmental leader. Paula Morrison, a registered nurse from Salem, New Hampshire, is the co-founder of the Clean River Project in Methuen, Massachusetts, whose goal is to clean up the Merrimack River which is over 100 miles long. Paula requested $10,000 to purchase an aquatic debris boom that will catch the majority of trash, debris, and trees that now float down the river and pollute the shorelines. Paula's gift will help beautify the river and provide cleaner drinking water to approximately 300,000 people.

Click here for the full story

April 10, 2009

Happy Easter to everyone! We even have an Easter card to share thanks to our Delaware hero, Susan Cha, who sent us a picture of her adorable 8-1/2 month old son, Logan, snuggling with a big fuzzy Easter Bunny. Thank you, Susan, for this precious photo and Happy Easter to all.

click the image to enlarge

April 15, 2009

Our hero from Topeka, Kansas, Suzanne MacDonald, who had a new running track installed at a women's correctional facility there celebrated over the weekend with an official ribbon cutting ceremony followed by a 5K run by the inmates to raise money for Kansas Specialty Dog Service (KSDS), an organization dedicated to the training and placement of assistance dogs to individuals with disabilities. They raised $11,000 for KSDS. Way to go, Susanne!

April 22, 2009

We're buying a police car! It's our biggest single purchase ever for our newest hero, Richard Robertson from Hinesville, Georgia. Richard is the Chief of Police in neighboring Ludowici and requested $25,000 for a new 2009 Dodge Charger police cruiser. The only cars they have now have been handed down from other police departments at the end of their useful life. The Ludowoci P.D. serves and protects a community of 1,500 people.

Click here for the full story

April 30, 2009

Our heroes have been busy shopping and here are a few updates to share...

Shawn Worker, our hotel houseman/amateur boxer from Washingtonville, New York, who provided $25,000 worth of upgrades for the Newburgh Boxing Club, is about to see the club's new computer lab take shape. Thanks to Shawn, the club is about to receive five new Dell computers which will be available to help the kids with homework.

Maria Girouard, Director of Cultural Preservation for the Penobscot Nation in Maine, has received chairs, lamps, and other furniture for her new language learning and resource room. Her gift of $15,000 for the new room also includes lots of new audio/visual equipment which has been ordered and will be arriving soon.

Richard Robertson, our police chief from Georgia, received $25,000 for a new police car for the Ludowici, P.D. He has already ordered his new fully loaded 2009 Dodge Charger Patrol Car. It should arrive in 2 to 3 months.

May 6, 2009

Amelia de Landa is a 25-year-old student and volunteer at the Old Irving Park Community Clinic, an all-volunteer, completely free clinic serving Chicago's uninsured population. Amelia requested $5,000 to purchase an ultrasound machine and other equipment for use by the gynecologist, many of whose patients have not had checkups for years. The new equipment will last for years and benefit many women who might otherwise receive no healthcare at all.

Click here for the full story

May 8, 2009

Amelia is just the beginning of even more grants I plan to make in the Chicago area. I taped my talk show there for 12 years and this is a way to show my appreciation for the local support I received. Chicago audiences are the best in the country and rain, sleet or snow, they were always there for me. So am committing an additional $50,000 just for my second home town. So if you're from anywhere in the Chicago area, feel free to apply for up to $50,000 to help your community. Any request from $1,000 to $50,000 will be considered. Chicagoans only, click here to apply.

May 15, 2009

I thought I would give an overall update from when Heroes got started in January 2008. So far, about 1.2 million dollars in grants has been given to 63 heroes. The gifts they provided are benefiting about 100,000 people. It's hard to determine that number because in many cases, entire counties are helped by one grant, but it's my best guess. The ripple effects are many: people are donating time, goods, and services, for example the inmate runners in Topeka got a discount on their shoes, a few of our teachers got bigger classrooms, more kids are signing up for soccer and bike racing in Las Vegas and Yuma respectively, and who knows how many people have gotten jobs thanks to a new computer lab in Slatington, Pennsylvania. I am beaming with pride for all our heroes, knowing they are all role models in their home towns, and knowing they are also motivating others to give back to their communities.

May 20, 2009

Mike Powell, our newest hero, is a high school guidance counselor at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He requested $7,000 to purchase hoop houses, a type of greenhouse, for the school’s “Project Sprout,” a student-run project where they grow their own organic food to be served in the school lunchrooms while at the same time, educating students about farming, healthy eating, and sustainability. Project Sprout provides organic produce for other schools in the district and also donates food to needy families in the community.

Click here for the full story

June 1, 2009

Summer is almost here and I have a few great hero updates: First, the river boom in Salem, New Hampshire is up and running. Paula Morrison sent us some photos showing all the debris that's being contained. Remember Joshua Sindel in Eugene, Oregon, who bought stilts to teach kids this fun activity? Well he's had over 50 kids sign up already with more coming every week. And dentist Dr. Lani McLane visited yet another school in Montana, this time in Big Sky. Her team saw 26 kids and placed 61 free sealants! Our heroes continue to make us proud.

June 10, 2009

Danielle Neble of Ringling, Oklahoma, is a mother of two who wants all the local children to have a fun and safe place to play. The city park in poverty-stricken Ringling is in disrepair so Danielle requested $25,000 to fulfill her dream of a new playground with safe equipment where kids and families can play safely for years to come. She plans to put in a play center with slides, swings, climbing rails, rings, a spring toy for toddlers, even a new tire swing. Her plans also include a built in grill, park benches and picnic tables. The new playground will benefit the entire Ringling population of 1,300... just in time for summer!

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June 12, 2009

Kristie Mahar-Ortiz teaches students in grades K-12 in Edina, Minnesota, who suffer from mental illness. To help them cope with their daily difficulties, Kristie offers them a chance to make pillows by hand. She has requested $1,000 to purchase fleece fabrics, thread, stuffing material, and other sewing notions. Both boys and girls love to hand sew their pillows and the experience benefits them as well as their families through improved mood and a positive personal outlook.

Click here for the full story

June 14, 2009

Speaking of heroes, the Lakers just won the NBA Championship today! Now I have a few of our own hero updates: Ludowici, Georgia Police Chief Richard Robertson just received his new police car. Chicago volunteer, Amelia de Landa tells us the clinic has received the new ultrasound machine and it's already being used. And Sarah-Ann Woodfield in Brier, Washington says the new signs have arrived for "The WORKS" and she says they are awesome.

June 24, 2009

In 2004, Laura Kallus started a gang intervention program in North Miami Beach to work with Haitian gang members who are raised in poverty and turn to gangs as a means to gain respect and money. Most of them are multiple offenders and with their criminal records and limited education, they have difficulty securing employment. Laura requested $25,000 to buy silk screening equipment to teach skills and create jobs for these young adults coming out of prison or gangs. Laura and her team also plan to sell the T-shirts they make to help fund the gang prevention program.

Click here for the full story

July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day, everyone. Applications are coming in faster then ever but I am trying to keep up.

July 16, 2009

Our newest hero, Hugh Anderson, is a Police Lieutenant for the town of Charles City, Iowa. Responding to the rising sale and use of illegal drugs in his community, Hugh requested $6,000 to purchase a narcotics/tracking dog. Besides fighting the war on drugs, the dog’s tracking ability could also help locate missing persons or someone lost in bad weather. Hugh also believes the new canine can be used in the schools as a teaching aid to make a positive impact on children’s lives.

Click here for the full story

July 28, 2009

Here are a few hero updates to share...

Danielle Neble, Library Media Specialist/English Teacher in Ringling, Oklahoma, had a very successful "Park Work Day" last Saturday. Approximately 65 volunteers showed up to paint, dig holes, and install new equipment. They worked all day despite the 105 degree temperature.

Robert Delbeke, our retired engineer from Livonia, Michigan, sent us an update on his summer math, science & technology program. The kids are building model V-8 engines... How fun!

Wakithea Tucker, our big $100,000 Holiday Grant winner, is about to start shopping for her upcoming Back-To-School giveaway (tentatively slated for Saturday, August 22nd).

August 13, 2009

Rita Radley, our newest hero, is a longtime civic volunteer from El Campo, Texas. Rita's latest project has been to turn an abandoned school cafeteria into the El Campo Heritage Center, the only place in town for seniors to meet, exercise, socialize and thereby maintain their mental and physical health. Since opening four months ago, the Heritage Center has operated only with the volunteer help of its members. Rita requested $5,000 to purchase library bookshelves, laptop computers, and printers for the Heritage Center's library area. At 84 years old, Rita is very active in her community and is computer-savvy as well.

Click here for the full story

August 17, 2009

One of our most memorable heroes from last year, Jeannette Batton, a CHP Officer who helped a battered women's shelter in Riverside, California, received a thank you email from a woman who had stayed at the shelter way back in the late 1980s... Wow! It is so nice when people take the time to remember and thank those who helped them.

August 26, 2009

Our $100,000 Holiday Grant recipient, Wakithea "Kiki" Tucker, is back in action this Saturday, August 29th, with a giant Back-to-School Extravaganza for all the kids in her N.Y.C Housing Development... It should be a fun and exciting time for all.

August 27, 2009

In 2002, our newest hero, Karen Morris founded a local cancer support center in her hometown of Bullhead City, Arizona. As a breast cancer survivor, Karen realized there was no place she could go to educate herself or talk to other people who had similar experiences. We Care Cancer Support is staffed only by volunteers and operates solely from fundraisers and donations. Karen requested $12,000 to buy 7,000 rubber ducks for their biggest annual fundraiser, the Power of Purple Duck Race, where locals sponsor the ducks with donations and then send them down the Colorado River. Karen believes that no one in her community should have to face cancer alone. The center serves the 42,000 people of Bullhead City as well as 100,000 residents in the surrounding tri-state area.

Click here for the full story

September 1, 2009

It's a pretty exciting time around here. Damon's wife is less than three weeks away from delivering their first baby!

September 9, 2009

What a treat to have our newest hero, Karen Morris, and three of her friends drive all the way to Los Angeles from Bullhead City, Arizona just to say thank you to me and Damon. We all met at Universal Citywalk for lunch today and had lots of fun getting to know each other. It was easy to see why Karen is so admired in her community.

September 18, 2009

Damon's baby is due tomorrow! He looks pretty calm on the outside but he's definitely not normal on the inside. We know it's a girl to be named Penelope and we are all on baby-watch just waiting for the moment. News of Penelope's arrival will be posted here... soon!

September 27, 2009

Damon's baby finally arrived! She came a week late but "Penelope" was born last night at 9:51 p.m. weighing 7 lb. 9 oz. Damon has only slept 3 hours in the last two days. Congratulations, Damon!!!!

click the image to enlarge

October 13, 2009

Our next hero is coming soon and here's a clue: The next grant will go to a state starting with the first letter of the alphabet... Meantime, here is the latest on a few of our current heroes:

Karen Morris, our retired casino worker and founder of the We Care Cancer Support Center in Bullhead City, sent us a couple fun pictures from her Relay For Life Kick Off that was held last Tuesday, Oct 6th.

Welton Locklear, disabled veteran from Pembroke, North Carolina, and his All Heart Tornadoes won the Port City Basketball Tournament on September 27th. They beat the Sportable Richmond Rim Riders in the Champtionship game 55-35, and were 3-0 in the tournament.

Rita Radley, our 84 year-old civic volunteer from El Campo, Texas, has a local cabinet shop building the new library shelves for the El Campo Heritage Center. They should be ready for installation by the end of the week.

October 22, 2009

Susie Marks, our newest hero, is from Little Rock, Arkansas and is a Senior Vice President at the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce as well as a volunteer volleyball coach. Susie requested $7,000 to purchase equipment for a newly formed girls' volleyball team at the Dunbar Community Center. Her gift will outfit 90 4th - 6th grade girls with volleyballs, kneepads, and shoes.

Click here for the full story

October 28, 2009

Our newest grant recipient is our first hero from the state of Colorado. He's Erik Walsh, an outdoor educator and park caretaker at the Pueblo Mountain Park in Beulah, CO. Erik requested $2,000 to purchase twelve 2-way radios and an FCC operator's license to use for safety when teaching environmental earth studies to 1,300 fifth grade students.

Click here for the full story

November 2, 2009

Hi, everyone. It's Damon. Being the proud father that I am, I thought I would post a photo of my daughter, Penelope, dressed up for Halloween. She's 35 days old in this picture and now tips the scales at over 10 lbs... She's my lil' pumpkin!

click the image to enlarge

November 11, 2009

Since it is Veterans Day, Damon and I wanted to acknowledge our hero Welton Locklear today and also extend our respect and admiration to all veterans, including my father, John, who was a veteran of World War II.

November 19, 2009

Sherry Marousek is a housewife from Quinhagak, Alaska, an Eskimo village located on the tundra 400 miles west of Anchorage. The population is 750 and there is one store, which does not carry fresh produce on a consistent basis. Sherry requested $10,000 to bring a greenhouse to Quinhagak School, Kuinerramiut Elitnauviat. Besides learning how to grow food, the 200 students from kindergarten through 12th grade will also be sharing their harvest at community feasts and school lunches.

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December 7, 2009

Cristan Williams, our newest hero, is the Director of the Transgender Foundation of America located in Houston, Texas. Their library and archive features the history of transgender dating back thousands of years. Cristan requested $5,000 to expand the library with transgender biographies, medical journals, and other non-fiction books to offer students, community members, and supporters a unique opportunity to access centuries of information about the TG community.

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December 19, 2009

Last Christmas we gave our biggest one-time grant ever ($100,000) to a single working mother of four in Brooklyn, New York. Kiki Tucker is also the bargain shopper of the year. She has been providing wonderful things for all 350 children who live in her housing development. After her first Christmas extravaganza of toys and warm clothes for all the kids, Kiki followed up last March with a “Shoe-a-palooza” by giving each child a pair of Nikes. In August, she shopped again for a giant Back-to-School giveaway of backpacks and school supplies for all the children. Kiki still had enough left for another huge Christmas event taking place today with another mountain of toys for all 350 children. And guess what? She’s not done yet. There is still enough left for another shopping spree – maybe two in - 2010! Kiki is a beautiful person, inside and out, who has brought joy to hundreds of needy children. We love Kiki, our Christmas angel.

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December 25, 2009

Damon and I send our best holiday wishes to everyone, especially to all of our heroes who have brought joy to their communities over the past two years. Have a wonderful holiday and a Happy, Healthy New Year.

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December 31, 2009

I’d like to end the year by sharing a few stories of how our heroes’ gifts have made a difference to their communities. It’s clear that our gifts will continue to benefit those in need for years to come.

The Eddyville, Kentucky Police Department was able to use the digital recorders provided by Officer Jaime Green to catch two suspects who were stealing tools from numerous locations. By having the digital recorders in the field, officers were able to interview suspects on the street and apprehend them quickly and receive the stolen items before they were disposed of. This was a very big case and involved at least four other agencies from four different counties.

Susan Edwards provided new computers for the Smith-Keys Computer Learning Center in Texarkana, Arkansas, where she also provides free training. There are 350 adults and children living there at or below the poverty level, and Susan has many success stories. Here is a note from a young lady named Nina Lawson... "Miss Susan, you have no idea what kind of knowledge you have provided me with. The center has help me to achieve a goal that I thought was impossible. I am now working for the Marshall Memorial Hospital ER, as a registration clerk. Thank you for helping me not only as a tentant, but also as a student and great achiever, I am somebody. May God bless you."

In Edina, Minnesota, the fabrics that Kristie Mahar-Ortiz provided for her mentally ill students to make coping pillows have made a huge difference, helping bring happiness back to their families. Many parents bring their kids in feeling as if they've failed as parents. One mom was even in tears to see that her 8-year-old son had spent that much time and completed the project by hand. She was thrilled to know that every time she looked at that little pillow, it was a reminder that there was hope for her son.

The turbo flares given to emergency workers by Jim Backus in Greenwood, Wisconsin, made a big difference when a medical transport helicopter had to land at night and there was no one available to guide the landing. The deputies turned on their new turbo flares and set up a landing zone for the pilot so he was able to get to the accident site quickly.

The inmates at the Women’s Topeka Correctional Facility in Kansas have had to expand their running program thanks to volunteer Suzanne MacDonald who gave them a newly paved track and new running shoes for all the inmates. Through their commitment to running, even more women are learning that they have the power to change their lives in positive ways.

John McBride bought racing bikes for his middle school riding team of at-risk kids and they just won two Arizona state championships, took gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Junior Olympics, won the coveted Yellow Jersey in the Tucson Bike Classic, and they won an additional three division championships out of the four they competed in last year. They were the most successful youth cycling team in the state last year.

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