We asked you to tell us about people you know who are helping inspire others (in your workplace or otherwise) during these tough times and we got some great nominations - thank you!
Check out the winning nomination below, as well as a few of our other favorite submissions. Need more inspiration?
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My brother-in-law George Vehanen is one of the few people during tough times who is actually leaving a very small carbon footprint. Instead of driving a Prius, he doesn't own a car at all, and only rents one on occasions when he needs one. He lives in a small studio apartment without appliances like a washer and dryer. He rides his bike to work and wears casual clothes, so no big fashion expenses for him. He's wearing the same perfectly good clothes he wore 15 years ago. He's my hero! -- Jean Vehanen
Evelyne Broitman is an 85 year old lady from El Dorado Estates in Long Beach. I saw her ad in the PennySaver. It said room for rent 625, so I called. She pleasantly, and graciously offered to show me the room. It was in a beautiful house on a pretty, quiet street in Long Beach. The room, she said, used to be her daughters'. She had explained that she had been renting the room for the last 40 yrs. I was impressed that she would open her house to so many, mostly students who attended a local University. She had pictures of family and friends decorating a hallway to the room which she happily described to me. One in particular stood out. It was a black and white picture of a lady in a wedding gown next to a sailor in a navy uniform. The bride reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor. It was Evelyne and her husband, Ben, who had passed away 10 years ago.I was touched by all this and a lady that students had called "Grandma" for so many years. Evelyne, thanks for your kindness for renting the room to me, you're a great person and a kind soul. -- Francisco Reyes
My house burnt down May 20th 2008. I stayed away until I could deal with the clean up without going into total depression. My life was in that house. Since March, when I did not have $1,800 to pay someone to clean it up, I had to do it myself with some help from my friends. The one friend who has been there from day one is Herb. He helps every weekend and I am within 2 weeks of getting it to the point where I can finally set up a mobile home to live in. My heart goes out to Herb for being there every weekend to help physically, mentally and financially when I was ready to give up. -- Katt Lewis
Due to the recession, many qualified, low-income students cannot afford college. My older brother, Ly Hua, not only decided to return to his alma mater to teach high school science and help these kids, he also decided to coach basketball alongside his former high school basketball coach. To date, he's helped several students obtain much needed jobs, kept countless more away from the ravages of gangs and drugs, and most recently, wrote a letter of recommendation for a superstar student from a disadvantaged background, who ended up receiving a $140,000 full 4-year scholarship to Emory University. -- Hong Hua
Two years ago, Willie Bassett, my mate of five years abruptly lost his job that had lasted twelve years. He was a property manager so on top of losing the job (the apartment building was sold) we lost the roof over our heads as well. It was devastating! All the financial responsibilities fell on my shoulders, and I could barely keep up! Most people would withdraw into depression faced with the reality of being in their 50's and unemployed in this economy. But most people are not like Willie!! He is so optimistic and hopeful, which makes me optimistic and hopeful! We are going through a hard time, and have been now for two years, but without his sense of "its going to be alright" I would have given into the stress a long time ago. We also ended up inadvertently rescuing some abandoned animals (the houses around us were foreclosed and the people abandoned the animals)...it was alot to suddenly take care of, but Willie felt that if we can't help these truly helpless animals, they would surely starve. So now we are the proud owners of 15 ducks, 7 baby kittens, a rooster, chicken and a very sweet dog! The animals are a handful, but they also distract me from my problems...and actually are a blessed distraction. So life is hard...but good, and when you have a hopeful, optimistic person by your side you can truly make it through everything!!! -- Denise Kramer