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CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute

Aired December 25, 2010 - 18:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: In the darkest of places, in the darkest of moments, they became each other's heroes. A half mile beneath the earth's surface, they endured. Supporting each other, never losing faith, they worked together to survive for their families and friends waiting above.

They never let each other stop believing the day would come when they would be lifted up one by one, back into the world they loved.

For 69 days, we were amazed by these 33 brave miners. Their ordeal was unthinkable. Their rescue unbelievable. No one has ever been trapped underground so deep for so long and survived.

They endured a nightmare. They experience add miracle. And in the end, they became each other's brothers and heroes.

On behalf of "CNN Heroes," we salute all 33 Chilean miners. We welcome them here tonight. And we welcome them home.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to thank God and the world for your prayers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our families suffered! Our children suffered, too! But thanks to the prayers of the world. We could come out of this difficulty.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of our rescuers are here with us. Thank you for bringing us home. You are our heroes.





DEMI MOORE, ACTRESS: What really makes us human? What is it that connects us?

JESSICA ALBA, ACTRESS: It's when we help someone. That is what defines us.

LL COOL J, ACTOR: Whether we bring our friends together.

GERARD BUTLER, ACTOR: Or across the globe to help a complete stranger.

RENEE ZELLWEGER: It causes a ripple that spreads and expands.

AARON ECKHART, ACTOR: Building a bridge, connecting us together.

KEIFER SUTHERLAND, ACTOR: Extending a hand to the forgotten.

MARISA TOMEI, ACTRESS: Giving the broken a second chance.

KID ROCK, MUSICIAN: Or a home for the ones who defend us.

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS: Lighting the way to a new life.

BON JOVI, MUSICIAN: Real heroes everywhere are the ones who remind us.

JOHN LEGEND, MUSICIAN: That each act of kindness matters.

SUGARLAND: That we can all be part of the connection.

COOPER: And each of us can change the world.

This is "CNN Heroes."



COOPER: Good evening, everyone. I'm Anderson Cooper.

The Chilean men you saw on this stage embody faith, selflessness and courage. And those are the qualities that we celebrate tonight.

The 10 CNN heroes you're going to meet tonight are each in their own way helping to make this a better world. They're caring. They're compassionate. But make no mistake: they are also fighters. They are warriors against injustice, doing battle for all of us.

They gather here not just to receive our well-deserved acclaim but to inspire us to stand up and take action in our own lives and in our own communities. You're going to be able to immediately lend your support to these heroes by clicking the "donate now" tab at Facebook/CNNHeroes.

And later tonight, one of these honorees will be named the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year.

We have a really amazing lineup of some very famous folks who wanted to come and help honor our heroes tonight. And you're going to hear some amazing musical performances. John Legend, Sugarland and Bon Jovi are here.


COOPER: I've got to admit, I'm particularly excited to hear Bon Jovi. The first time I saw them live, I was 15 years old. I was wearing acid washed denim. I was rocking a white mullet.

Do we have that?


COOPER: Yes. That's right. I looked exactly the same at age 15. Isn't that interesting?


COOPER: We begin with a hero whose mission is to feed starving kids around the world, concentrating most recently on Haiti. It's a country obviously that's still in dire need of our help.

Here to tell this hero's story is a proud supporter of Artist for Peace and Justice, Gerard Butler.



BUTLER: Whenever a story starts like this -- two brothers walk into a bar -- it usually doesn't end well. But this story's different.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow walked into a bar with his brother. While having a drink, they talked about the heart-wrenching images from the Bosnian War they just seen on TV.

And so, they made an extraordinary decision most of us don't make -- they decided to help. And drove a truck filled with supplies to Bosnia. Twenty-three times, Magnus drove from Scotland to Bosnia. That amazing act of kindness led to his life's work.

He started Mary's Meals and feeds more than 420,000 children a day in 15 countries. Every day, he lets children know that they matter. That someone thousands of miles away cares about them. One simple decision and millions of starving children have been fed.

That's what Magnus did. And it's the story of a hero --



MAGNUS MCFARLANE-BARROW, CNN HERO: I think of my upbringing as, in some ways, being quite privileged growing up in this beautiful part of the world, such a peaceful place. But in 1992, during the height of the war in Bosnia, I watched this news report talking about how people were suffering. I was really amazed when I realized that I could do something to help them. And since then, it's been one step at a time.

And today, we're feeding about 420,000 children every day in 15 different countries. It's just lots of us doing little things, people who donate money or who volunteer their time, lots of small acts of love.

I thought I'd seen it all in Africa and different parts of the world. But I was really shocked but what I saw in Haiti.

The squalor here is just unbelievable. Three hundred thousand people living on what was a rubbish dump.

It's poverty that strips people of their dignity.

I feel a real sadness for the children, to see them living amongst this. It makes me feel very, very sad.

What's your name?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Peter Ambola (ph).

MCFARLANE-BARROW: Peter Ambola. My name is Magnus.

When you come back here to our world of plenty and privilege, I feel distraught that children are living like that. And I'm talking about before the earthquake. Since the earthquake, there are all kinds of other horrors here also.

We wanted to do something. And we began providing meals for children in Cite Soleil and in these schools that have been built there by Father Tom, an American priest.

FATHER TOM HAGAN, FOUNDER, HANDS TOGETHER: After the earthquake, a lot of the children lost their parents. So, they were just wandering the streets. You know, all we had to say was we have 50,000 kids that need food. He got it for us. It's just been a Godsend for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We put in pepper, for flavor.

MACFARLANE-BARROW: When you see hungry children, the first thing you want to do is get them something to eat. But you also want to set them free and that's why we provide those meals in school. Allow them to benefit from the education which can be their way out of poverty.

You can see that change is possible. It's a wonderful thing to see.



BUTLER: Please join me in honoring CNN Hero and I'm proud that he's a fellow Scotsman, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow. (APPLAUSE)

MACFARLANE-BARROW: Thank you very much. It's -- this is very, very humbling but it's also wonderful. It's wonderful to be able to receive this award on behalf of the thousands of people all over the world who are working to realize this vision that we have: that every child in the world should be able to receive at least one good meal every day in a place of education.

Today, we're feeding 460,000 children. The number's gone up since we made the film.


MACFARLANE-BARROW: I just want to take this opportunity, too, to thank my family, all of my co-workers, my friends. Especially my wife Julie who begun this work with me. And I just want to thank Mary, the mother of Jesus, who brought up a child in poverty who knew what it was to be exiled, to thank her for her inspiration and love. Thank you.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up on "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" -- Marisa Tomei, Halle Berry, and a live performance by Jon Bon Jovi.


COOPER: Welcome back. When CNN asked viewers to help us find heroes around the world, we received over 10,000 nominations from over 100 countries.

This next honorary lost her freedom, her child and nearly lost her life. But she transformed her pain into salvation for other women and transformed herself into a hero. Here to sing her praises is a proud fighter for V-Day, helping to end violence toward women, Marisa Tomei.


TOMEI: We all have someone in our life who causes us a lot of heartache. We fear that they will never change. And we quietly wonder if it's time to give up on them.

The story of our next hero makes me want to answer that with one word: never.

Susan Burton was at home when grief knocked on her door. Her young son was struck by a car and killed. The loss shattered her world. She struggled with addiction. And for more than a decade, she moved in and out of jail.

Then her life turned. She got clean. She found a job. She bought a house -- a house not just for her but for other women struggling just like she was. It's called a New Way of Life Reentry Project.

And there are now five houses in Los Angeles where she's helped hundreds of women set things right. So many have a chance --


TOMEI: -- so many have a chance because she didn't give up on them. And neither should we.


SUSAN BURTON, CNN HERO: I remember the last time being released from prison. I was so elated to be walking out of the door, so excited. And the guard told me, "I'll see you back in a little while."

When you're released from prison, you're released with $200 and adios. And many people don't even make it past that downtown Skid Row bus station. I thought, I know what I could do. And I began to help women come home from prison.

I bought a house. I put bunk beds up. And I began to invite women into the house.

We supported each other in recovery. And a way of life was born.


BURTON: What happens is a woman will write me a letter who is in prison and I will find out what day she's released. And I pick them up at the prison.


BURTON: When she gets here to the house, we begin to look at what she wants to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just taking it day by day and being around everybody here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a schedule.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a meeting with my sponsor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Continue my search for permanent housing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a test today at school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in prison for a total of 16 years before I came to a New Way of Life. Watching Ms. Burton give back makes you want to give back. And if I can help anybody to get to where I'm going, then we're going to hold hands and go together.

BURTON: So, you're not alone. Everybody in the house is counting on you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think I'll ever get this recovery thing right.

BURTON: Twelve years later and 500 women have been through here. I've watched women go back to school and become drug counselors. I've watched them become really great parents and get back custody of their children. I'm watched them become nurse's aides and open catering businesses. I'm watched them open up their own places to help homeless women have shelter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

BURTON: Seventy-eight percent of people who come through a New Way of Life have stayed out of prison, have went on to find their place in the community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm moving out today.

BURTON: I'm kind of like -- I hate leaving this way of life, you know? I don't have a home when I came here.

BURTON: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But this is home, right?

BURTON: This is home. This is always going to be home, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to miss Ms. Burton, you know, and her guidance in life, you know? Because she's been good to me. She really have.

BURTON: I didn't do this alone. People helped me along the way. I believe that all of us have a gift and a purpose. And when we find that purpose, we become heroic.



TOMEI: Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in honoring CNN hero Susan Burton.



BURTON: I'm so full of thanks and gratitude for being recognized by CNN as a 2010 hero. Through my life, I would have never imagined I'd be in the category as a hero.

And all of this would not have been possible without George Cameron (ph). He stuck by me through so many years, so many dark days. And never gave up on me. He took me to recovery October 4th of 1997.

And it's because of your support that I'm here today.

It's been nearly 30 years since my son's death. And I miss him every day. But I know, I know that he's smiling down on us, and that he's proud of me.

So I want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years, to bring change for a better world.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up on "CNN Heroes" --

ANNOUNCER: Jessica Alba.

ANNOUNCER: Kiefer Sutherland.

ANNOUNCER: And a live performance by John Legend.


COOPER: Welcome back to "CNN Heroes."

Well, tonight, we're celebrating people who have extended a helping hand to those in need. Our next hero not only extends his hand, he builds bridges, allowing the people of Kenya a safe pathway to their dreams.

Here to tell this hero's story, the star of the upcoming film "Battle: Los Angeles," Aaron Eckhart.


ECKHART: On some days, I look at the news and the problems are so overwhelming, so big, it's hard to believe we can do anything about them to make them better.

But then a visionary comes along -- like Harmon Parker, who shows us how our simple ideas can make a difference. Harmon builds foot bridges. They're beautiful things. They are basic in design, magnificent in purpose, and they save lives.

In rural Kenya, a river is a lethal place. People drown in floodwaters and are killed in attacks by crocodiles and hippos because there isn't a bridge.

So, Harmon built them, 45, so people won't die, won't go hungry, get sick and so kids can go to school. A foot bridge did all that. A simple thing can change lives. And that's what heroes do.



HARMON PARKER, CNN HERO: Because of the high mountains, there is serious flash flooding that happens in this area. You see the stream the way it is now, it will come up 12 to 15 feet and it's impossible for people to cross, absolutely impossible and extremely dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She drowned due to floods caused by a heavy downpour. She got carried downstream by water and was later pushed ashore dead. This is how I got left with the children.

PARKER: Many years ago, in 1985, I had the opportunity to go to the Congo just to help some missionaries build a house and little did I know it would change my life forever.

We are an organization that builds foot bridges throughout Kenya for marginalized communities who really suffer from the dangers of flash flooding and from crocodile and hippo attacks.

People ask me, why don't they build their own bridge? Well, the community, they do the best they can with the limited resources and technology that they have. And they build a bridge like this and it's fine, but it's also is washed away probably seven times a year. It cuts off the children from going to school, people to the market centers and getting to the clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last year, my husband was swept away by these floods.

PARKER: I hate it when I hear that someone has drowned when they didn't need to.

We're working for a community that lost four loved ones earlier this year. They initiated by calling me and writing me a letter, if I would come and help them.

My goal for my organization is to come in for a community like this and provide technical assistance to help them build their bridge.

SYLVESTER OUKO, BRIDGING THE GAP: The position where the bridge will be, we don't choose the position. The locals choose because that way they stay there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is happening now is that we are preparing food for the celebration.

PARKER: Today is about bridge opening. This is the day the community celebrates building their bridge. And it's incredible. We'll commission this bridge to the people.

CLEMENT AMON, HEAD TEACHER, PARDO BOARDING SCHOOL: This bridge has really assisted the students. It has made the school's enrollment to shoot up. From 250 10 years ago, up to, now, 650 pupils.

PARKER: When we arrived in Kenya, we had a 3-year-old son, we had three pieces of luggage, and it was 3:00 a.m. in the morning. And we didn't have much, but faith and belief that we could make a difference.



AARON ECKHART, PRESENTER: Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present CNN hero Harmon Parker.


HARMON PARKER, BRIDGING THE GAP: Wow. Thank you, CNN, for telling our stories tonight. I am not a hero. But tonight, I want to thank the two heroes in my life. My beautiful wife Teri --


-- and my incredible son Josh.


You are the foundations to my bridge.


Like most of you, I had no idea there was a need for life-saving bridges. Tonight, marginalized people are pleading to all of us for at least a half a million foot bridges. You can be a hero. You can be a bridge. A simple beautiful life-saving bridge. Thank you very much.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: When you step into the murder capital of the world, you don't expect to see much hope. But in the blood-soaked city of Juarez, Mexico, one woman has the guts to defy brutality. Her clinic now treats 330,000 patients a year, bringing health and healing to a people under siege. To tell her story, please welcome global ambassador and co-chair of Education for All, Jessica Alba.


JESSICA ALBA, PRESENTER: I grew up with a lot of strong women in my family. My mom, aunts and grandmothers. These women taught me about resilience, compassion and perseverance. The woman I'm here to honor tonight embodies all of these qualities. Her name is Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega. Guadalupe reaches out to save the poorest and most destitute women and their families in the war-stricken city of Juarez, Mexico. There, la senora runs her hospital, a sanctuary, that celebrates life, hope and love.

For more than 30 years, her hospital has offered free medical care to anyone in need. And in a city ravaged by death, the hospital has delivered more than 104,000 babies. Life, love and hope in the midst of so much heartache. It is this passion that defines strong women and it is this passion that makes Guadalupe a hero.



GUADALUPE ARIZPE DE LA VEGA, HOSPITAK DE LA FAMILIA: It's not just the idea of doing something, but when that idea converts into action and lives are saved and lives are changed and that's what really gives meaning to my life.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's midnight in Juarez. Mexico's most dangerous city.

This is the cartel war in Mexico. A conflict raging on America's doorstep.

DE LA VEGA: I was driving under a bridge. And all of a sudden it was the body of a man without a head, and the blood was flowing. We live in an environment that it's dangerous. Sometimes I believe that I am two people. One that is very sad and wanting to cry for what is happening and the other one is very angry and want to fight.

I don't want to live inside the house afraid. No, I want to be free. I want to accomplish things. I love the hospital. The hospital gives meaning to my life. You are going to see. It's magic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senora comosta (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guadalupe is the soul of the program. She produces an idea every two seconds and really, it's very difficult to keep the pace of her.

DE LA VEGA: We started up our program in 1973. Empowering women. Giving them the power to control their reproductive lives. So we started providing services in one of the clinics. Then in two clinics. Then in four clinics. Then the clinics grow. Every day, we have from 800 to 1,000 people. Some of them can pay. Some of them cannot pay. But we don't turn anybody away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife, she was real sick. She passed out like two times. And they told me, I don't think your wife is going to survive. But we're going to try to save the baby. I didn't know what to do. I thought I was going to be by myself.

DE LA VEGA: I like when the people come in the hospital maybe crying, maybe aching, and they come back and they are smiling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good thing about the hospital here, that you don't need to go do stuff that you're not supposed to be doing to get money because here they give you the help that you need. They treated me right. Like a human.

DE LA VEGA: I love coming to Juarez. And I love to do things. And I love -- I think I love people.

He is dreaming about Mexico in the future. That he can live in an environment as secure as he is now.



ALBA: Please join me in honoring CNN hero Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega.


GUADALUPE ARIZPE DE LA VEGA, HOSPITAL DE LA FAMILIA: Dear friends, tonight we celebrate the truth of life. We have to believe that we can and we should make a difference. Our commitment should be always stronger than the obstacles. Do not be afraid, and never, never, never give up.


What a better goal in life than the beautiful smile of a healthy baby in the hands of a strong, healthy, educated and empowered woman. This is --

This magic moment of change is what I see in our hospital every day. And I love it. That's what is going to change our world.

(Speaking in a foreign language)

TRANSLATION: I send an affectionate and sincere hug to all of you are watching us. From my beautiful and vast Mexico, from my beloved city of Juarez. Mexico lives! Gracias.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER: Coming up on "CNN Heroes," L.L. Cool J.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANNOUNCER: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" is proudly sponsored by Subaru.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER: Full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive standard on all vehicles.

COOPER: Welcome back to "CNN Heroes." Our first musical performance comes to us from a band whose sense of optimism isn't just embodied in their music. They're fronted by the chairman of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation which provides affordable housing for hundreds of low income families. Performing their anthem, "What Do You Got," here is Bon Jovi.


BON JOVI PERFORMING "WHAT DO YOU GOT": Everybody wants something, just a little more. We're making a living, and what we're living for. A rich man or a poor man, a pawn or a king. You can live on the street, you can rule the whole world, but you don't mean one damn thing.

What do you got, if you ain't got love? Whatever you got, it just ain't enough. You're walking the road, but you're going nowhere. You're trying to find your way home, but there's no one there.

Who do you hold, in the dark of night. You want to give up, but it's worth the fight. You have all the things, that you've been dreaming of.

If you ain't got someone, you're afraid to lose. Everybody needs just one, someone to to tell them the truth. Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I still believe. I believe in hope. I believe the change can get us off our knees.

What do you got, if you ain't got love? Whatever you got, it just ain't enough. You're walking the road, but you're going nowhere. You're trying to find your way home, but there's no one there.

Who do you hold, in the dark of night? You want to give up, but it's worth the fight. You have all the things, that you've been dreaming of.

If you ain't got love, it's all just keeping score. If you ain't got love, what the hell we doing it for.

I don't want to have to talk about it. How many songs you got to sing about it? How long you going to live without it. Why does some somewhere have to doubt it? Someday you'll figure it out.

What do you got, if you ain't got love? Whatever you got, it just ain't enough. You're walking the road, but you're going nowhere. You're trying to find your way home, but there's no one there.

Who do you hold, in the dark of night? You want to give up, but it's worth the fight. You have all the things, that you've been dreaming of.

If you ain't got love, it's all just keeping score. If you ain't got love, what the hell we doing it for.

Whoa. What do you got, if you ain't got love? What do you got, if you ain't got love? Whoa.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANNOUNCER: And tonight's performance by Sugarland.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER: "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" is proudly sponsored by Humana.


COOPER: We're back on "CNN Heroes." If you didn't have to struggle for food today, you're one of the lucky people on this planet. Our next hero got a painful reminder of that fact. His path was forever changed from five star chef of an upscale hotel to a soldier in the war against hunger. To tell us how one man can nourish the bodies and spirits of many, here's the support of the Global Fund for Women, Kiefer Sutherland.


KIEFER SUTHERLAND, PRESENTER: Every single one of us has seen something so devastating that it has broken us. Maybe it's something quiet. A mother kissing her kids goodnight in the back of her old station wagon or something even more shocking, a man literally starving to death on the street. And when we see things like this, most of us feel it deeply. But we manage to pull ourselves back together and go on with our lives. But thank God there are people on this planet like Narayanan Krishnan who cannot. He comes from a life of privilege but he shuns the cultural belief that some in India that says that men and women who are destitute, homeless, struggling or suffering from mental illness are untouchables, unworthy of compassion. But he sees them as equal. That is why he cooks for them, feeds them, cares for them and offers them the simple dignity of a bath. The sight of the hungry, the sick and the homeless broke his heart to pieces. But he took those pieces and built a life for himself, helping people in need as their friend.


NARAYANAN KRISHNAN: I saw a very old man. He was eating his own human waste for hunger. I thought, what is the purpose of my life? What am I going to do?

In a star hotel, I feed all my guests. But where in my hometown there are people who are living even without food. I quit my job and I started feeding all these people from 2002.

Today morning, we made Ven Pongal and Sambar. Ven Pongal is a blend of rice and dahl. And for lunch we made tomato rice and Sabji. We feed the homeless, mentally-ill destitutes and the old people who have been left uncared of the society.

People are suffering for food. They don't have food to eat. If you don't give them food to eat, they will die out of human hunger.

I cut their hair. I give them a shave. I give them bath. For them to feel, psychologically, that they are also human beings, there are people to care for them. They have a hand to hold, hope to live.

Food is one part. Love is another part. So the food will give them physical nutrition. The love and affection which you show will give them mental nutrition.

Brahmins are not supposed to touch these people, clean these people, hug these people, feed these people. Everybody has got five liters of blood. I'm just a human being. For me, everybody the same. What is the ultimate purpose of life? It's to give. Start giving. See the joy of giving.



SUTHERLAND: Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present CNN hero Narayanan Krishnan.


NARAYANAN KRISHNAN: Thank you so much, CNN for this global recognition. I want to thank my father for his support.


This is the right path I have taken. The people I feed are my friends and bring my inner joy no joy could ever could. Clarity and focus are needed to know our destination. I know mine. I will continue to go to the streets again and feed these people because they need us. Thank you, one and all.


COOPER: Sometimes heroes are driven by a simple desire to help their fellowmen. Our next hero's quest, however, is inspired by his own story. A history of violence that he is determined to erase. The story of redemption is shared with us by a proud member of the Children's Defense Fund, Renee Zellweger.


RENEE ZELLWEGER, PRESENTER: No one is perfect. All of us are flawed and in need of redemption in one way or another. Some of our indiscretions are small. And usually an apology can set things right. But other acts are so painful that redemption seems nearly impossible. In those cases, it just takes your breath away when someone is brave enough to try and right a wrong.

This is what Aki Ra does every day in Cambodia. He quietly walks through the villages, searching the ground, getting on his hands and knees, to clear land mines. Landmines that he was forced as a child soldier for the Khmer Rouge to bury. So far, he's removed 50,000 mines.


But that's not all he does. When he walks through the villages, he meets children who've lost limbs and parents to mines. So he built a home for 30 orphans and says I will love you as my own. Redemption is beautiful, dangerous, never-ending work. And a hero never fears it.



AKI RA, CAMBODIAN SELF HELP DEMINING: When we use a metal detector to find a mine, we move a little bit by a little bit. If we make mistake with the landmine, blow up -- kill or injure. When we hear something that sounds like mine, we have to prod it slowly. And dig it slowly.

Many, many thousand landmine I clear. I am hundred percent safe, I think.

When I was young, Khmer Rouge killed my family. I was then taken to live with Khmer Rouge.

(Speaking in a foreign language)

TRANSLATION: When I was 10 years old, they taught me how to use landmines. I didn't know the difference between right and wrong. I did bad things. Now I'm older, I've learned a lot. Many children have been hurt by landmines.

BILL MORSE, PRESIDENT, LANDMINE RELIEF FUND: He was a child soldier. He fought in three armies. He knew nothing but war until he was in his early 20s. But now he is clearing one landmine at a time.

RA: (Speaking in a foreign language)

TRANSLATION: Now I want to do good things. I want to help every child rebuild this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He's a good man. He's saving children with disabilities like me.

MORSE: We've got 30 children who live here at this relief center, this orphanage, and every child that he's brought in is going to have a better life.

RA: (Speaking in a foreign language)

TRANSLATION: The past can be erased slowly. It is possible. We have to do it together.

MORSE: Last year, his organization put 2,400 people back on land that had been killing in the past. He cleared 163,000 square meters of land. He's saving lives in every village that he works in. Every land mine that he pulls out. He is the epitome of one person making a difference.

RA: Even one landmine that we clear, it makes better peace, step by step.



ZELLWEGER: Please join me in honoring CNN hero Aki Ra.


AKI RA, CAMBODIAN SELF HELP DEMINING: My name Aki Ra. I haven't been chosen for anything except to be a soldier.

I want to thank CNN for this honor. I want to thank Bill, my baboo, for nominating me. I want everyone around the world to know that land mine are still killing and injuring people in Cambodia. And around the world.

They will only be removed with your help. I would like to say special thanks to someone who is not here. My wife Bou Seng Hourt who died last year. (Speaking foreign language).

One mind, one life. Thank you.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up.



ANNOUNCER: And Demi Moore.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight we celebrate CNN HEROES. Amazing individuals who give service to the world. And you can help their cause right now by logging on to, and clicking "donate now."

In fact I'll be on Facebook later tonight changing my status from "hosting CNN Heroes" to "in my jammies, eating pudding, watching 'Glee."" So --


COOPER: When it comes to food, those of us who live in the land of plenty often choose to eat what we know is unhealthy. But obesity rates rising globally. The world could use a personal trainer.

We may have found her in our next hero. To tell her story, here's an honored member of the Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet and star of CBS "NCIS Los Angeles." LL Cool J.


LL COOL J, AWARD-WINNING RAPPER: The battle of the bulge is a fierce one. To win it, you need a supersized motivator like our next hero Linda Fondren.

Linda is a force, a sculptor, reshaping lives in Vicksburg, Mississippi. When Mississippi was named the most obese state, she got out her chisel and she went to work. She carved "Shape Up, Vicksburg" and challenged the city to lose 17,000 pounds.


LL COOL J: Pretty good. She engraved healthy choices on restaurant menus and school lunches. She molded exercise classes for women and started a walking club with t-shirts that read "Walking is Cheap, Life is Precious."

That's what our sculptor Linda carved. All over her city. Life is precious, and so is she.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LINDA FONDREN, 2010 TOP 10 CNN HERO, SHAPE UP VICKSBURG: My name is Linda Fondren. And I challenged my hometown, Vicksburg, to get healthy and lose weight.

As elected officials, I call upon you to help to take the challenge by signing.

MAYOR PAUL WINDFIELD, VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI: I quit. You got a resignation with you?

FONDREN: By signing this contract.

WINFIELD: I just quit.

I'm mayor for the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Linda challenged each of us to lose a half pound a week for 17 weeks. She takes no prisoners. She takes no excuses.

FONDREN: Let's go, go, go. Let's go, let's go. Good. Go.

To get the community moving, we offered free exercise classes.

Looking good. One, two, three, get them up.

We went to the community centers here. We went to the churches. We went to the schools.

When the teacher has a healthy meal at the table, you're eating healthy, which causes them to eat healthy.

Fruit? Everybody got fruit? Who has a salad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here at (INAUDIBLE) we have soul food and much, much more. We have fried chicken wings. Macaroni and cheese. Hand- breaded shrimp. Regular shrimp. Pork chops. You name it. We do it all.

FONDREN: Southern food is absolutely delicious. But Mississippi has carried the title of being the most obese state for six consecutive years. Two out of every three adults are either overweight or obese. I asked the restaurants, can you put a healthy choice on your menu? Can you do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's always coming by to make sure we're doing right so I have to kind of stay with it.

FONDREN: The reason why I am so passionate about this is because my sister passed away in January of 2006 and she was restricted because of obesity. She worked in this school cafeteria just like you.

And she did not get to live her life. She wished she had lived it better. But now you have that chance to make a difference and to live yours better. It's a commitment. You ready? You already made the commitment. Sign the form.

WINFIELD: As the mayor, I certainly would love to see my town grow in population but not in weight.

POLICE CHIEF WALTER ARMSTRONG, VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI: I'm the chief of police in the city of Vicksburg. So far, I have dropped eight pounds and more to go hopefully.

WINFIELD: I lost 17 pounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working with Linda, I have lost 107 pounds.

FONDREN: Vicksburg was such a success that the 17 weeks ended but Shape Up, Vicksburg did not end. We're working with the schools. We're working with the teachers. We're going until we get every single person to learn to live healthy and lose weight.



LL COOL J: Ladies and gentlemen, join me in honoring CNN Hero, Linda Fondren.


FONDREN: Thank you. Thank you.

I want to thank CNN for this honor, but I also want to thank my husband, who I am grateful for, for being here today. My husband is Jim. Of 27 years.


FONDREN: Obesity does not have a color. Nor can it choose a political party. The growing rate of obesity in our children has made it no longer a personal matter. It affects us all.

Now is the time to use the greatest weapon we have. The ability to help each other. We must find credible, creative and, oh, yes, fun ways to make a healthy lifestyle, a permanent lifestyle.

You are the change that is needed to become someone's role model. To become someone's hero.

CNN, thank you so much for this honor. Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up.

ANNOUNCER: Halle berry. Demi Moore.

ANNOUNCER: And John Legend. Featuring Common and Melanie Fiona.


COOPER: Our next performer is not only a six-time Grammy Award winner but also an outspoken champion for education reform and the fight against global poverty. He received the Care Humanitarian Award for Global Change and was named one of "TIME" magazine's 100 most influential people.

Tonight he's here to call us all to action. Performing "Wake-Up, Everybody," joined by Common and Melanie Fiona, here is John Legend.




ANNOUNCER: Coming up, Kid Rock and Halle Berry.


COOPER: We're back on CNN HEROES.

Most of us think as coming home as a pleasant end to the day unless of course you're Bruce Jenner and you're coming home to the Kardashians. But --


COOPER: It's said out of love. It's said out of love.

But for soldiers returning from war, coming home can often be a battle. All too often the men and women who fight to defend our comfortable lives do not even have a house of their own to return to.

One man, however, is building them a better future brick by brick.

To tell this hero's story please welcome, proud supporter of Operation Home Front, who just released his new album, "Born Free," Kid Rock.


KID ROCK, SINGER: A couple of months ago, I gave a concert for the troops of Fort Jackson, South Carolina. When I look out at the crowd and saw all those uniforms it made me very proud. We're so lucky these brave, honorable men and women say yes, I'll serve.

But for too many veterans, coming home is a struggle. Many have been wounded and they either can't afford a house or their house doesn't fit them anymore. The halls are too thin for a wheelchair. The stairs too steep for prosthetics.

So Dan Wallrath says this. I'll serve the heroes. This great Texan builds them a brand-new house.


KID ROCK: Dan started Operation Finally Home and works with builders, contractors and developers to design custom homes for wounded veterans for free. And when they turn the key for the first time, Dan's right there, holding the door, saying "welcome home."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAN WALLRATH, 2010 TOP 10 CNN HERO, OPERATION FINALLY HOME: I built homes in and around the Houston area for around 30 years. One day, I got a phone call from a friend of mine. And he knew of a family that had had a son that was coming home from Iraq and he had sustained head injuries.

And he asked me if I'd go and talk to the family. So I went to their home and the father was there. He had shown me a picture of Steven before he was injured. He was just a big strapping Marine. And then showed me a picture of Steven after he was injured in his wheelchair. And it just -- it just broke my heart.

I had to do something.

This is a five-bedroom house so every one of your kids will have a bedroom. All the hallways are just really wide. It gives you a lot more room to move around. We want to make sure that we take into consideration all their needs.

SGT. JORGE DE LEON, VETERAN: In my case, I lost my leg when I was 31 years old. And you have to learn how to walk again. It was really hard. And then financially, emotionally, I will never, never having the money to buy a house like this, and I got it for free.

WALLRATH: You know, we can give them a lot of things. A lot of help in different ways. We can give them counseling and everything else. But nothing compares to a home.

Every time I do this, it doesn't get any less emotional. As Americans, we owe it to them.

AIRMAN COLTON REED, VETERAN: A house is everything. It's my livelihood back. I don't know what else you could give somebody other than a house, a home.

WALLRATH: There's over 38,000 young men and women out there that are injured. Those young men need our help but unfortunately as a builder, I don't know how to do that. But I do know how to build a home.



KID ROCK: Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present CNN Hero, Dan Wallrath.


WALLRATH: It's just an honor to be here tonight. And I just want to give all the glory to God for making me his instrument in carrying out his endeavor.


WALLRATH: I want to thank Carol, my lovely wife of 40 years. And my amazing family for all the sacrifices they have made over the last five years on this journey.


WALLRATH: The true heroes are service men and women who answer the call.

Tonight, I have with me Sergeant Scott Warsik, and he's a wonderful example of who stands in harm's way every day to protect our freedoms.


WALLRATH: Scott has had over 20 surgeries. He has more steel in his back than I have in my pickup truck.


WALLRATH: Scott will end up in a wheelchair one day. And he did that for you and me.


WALLRATH: God bless our young men and women in uniform. And God bless America.


COOPER: Tonight, we're honoring men and women whose tremendous humanitarian efforts brighten our world. Our next hero perhaps has brought more light than all.

To tell us his radiant story, please welcome proud supporter of the Genesis Center and star of the upcoming film "Frankie And Alice," Halle Berry.



Let me tell you what happens when darkness settles in around rural Kenya. Some children crowd around a tiny kerosene lamp while others crowd around the fireside to do their homework. Other children go to school night because they work all day.

But in both places, the learning is very difficult. The smoke burns their eyes. And when the fuel or wood burns out, the learning stops. The chance to dream also stops.

But an amazing young man, Evans Wadongo, found a way to solve this problem. He made the children a glorious lantern using scrap metal, small silver panels, inexpensive batteries and LED lights.

So far, he's built 14,000 lanterns bringing light to 50,000 Kenyans for free.

(APPLAUSE) BERRY: Because of what Evans made, I can imagine thousands of children across rural Kenya carrying their lantern, singing the universal song, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine".



EVANS WADONGO, 2010 TOP 10 CNN HERO: I used to see the disparities, in terms of performance in school for kids that are in the village and the kids that are in the schools that have electricity. Teachers would give you homework and they expect you to have done it the next day morning. The teacher can't understand that you didn't have enough kerosene at home.

If you look at a person who is earning less than a dollar a day, and that's money to have to get food -- they have to buy kerosene, it's a big burden for these people. Kerosene lamps, because you have to read, so you put it on the table very close. It produces smoke, which goes into my eyes, so I developed eye problems. I saw kids in the village, some of them dropping out of school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Traditionally, school in Kenya runs between 8:00 a.m. in the morning to 5:00 p.m. in the evening. This is a time when children in Samburu culture have to take care of the animals.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the evening, they come at around 6:00. Classes start when the darkness starts. You cannot have a shepherd to class without lighting.

WADONGO: The real motivation that made me to come to try and see if I can come up with a solution. I design and make solar powered lanterns called MwangaBora (ph), which is a Swahili word which means good light. I design and study making solar lamps in 2004. And up to now, made local and distributed over 14,000 lamps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My vision is that we'll be able to provide a lamp per child.

WADONGO: The villages where we've taken the lamps to, we've noticed a big improvement now, because we find that enrollment from elementary school to high school has gone up. Now, once get the lamp, we're eliminating part of that money they spend on kerosene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then they can be able to save that money and start some sustainable income generating projects.

WADONGO: In a way, it's actually reducing the cycle of poverty.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please join me in honoring CNN hero Evans Wadongo.

WADONGO: Imagine if all the light in this theater and in Los Angeles went out right now. All over the world, the real heroes brave the darkness. They walk to school and can't see. They can't see when they get home, because at home there's no light. And there's no lights because there's no money. They suffer and can't learn and deserve better.

They need the MwangaBora. They need the good light. With your help, the brave heroes in the darkness in Kenya and around the world can all have one and see. They can see and make a bright future and lift Africa from what they say the dark continent to a bright continent. Thank you.



COOPER: Welcome back to CNN HEROES. Perhaps one of the most disturbing crimes that we see today is the exploitation and trafficking of children as sex slaves. In India, for instance, 2.8 million people are sold in the sex trade, and more than one-third of them are under the age of 18. Our next hero fights to end this horrible brutality and bring some solace to the girls that she rescued.

Here to introduce us to her is founder of the DNA Foundation, which aims to eliminate child sex slavery worldwide, Demi Moore.


DEMI MOORE, FOUNDER, DNA FOUNDATION: I admire our next hero because of the brave and serious work she does. Every day, this woman confronts the worst of what humanity has to offer. She says stop; stop selling our girls.

By raiding brothels and patrolling the India/Nepal border, she saves girls from being sold into the sex trade, where they are repeatedly raped for profit, tortured and enslaved. Since 1993, she has helped rescue more than 12,000 women and girls.


MOORE: Through her organization, Maiti Nepal, she has provided not only a shelter for these girls and young women, but she has created a home, a place for them to heal, to go to school, learn a skill and, for some who are infected with HIV/AIDS, a place to spend their days where they're surrounded by love.

This is why I admire our hero, Anuradha Koirala.


MOORE: So, until we live in a world where everyone knows that real men don't buy girls, we have a hero fighting to free them with every beat of her heart.






ANURADHA KOIRALA, CNN HERO: She went to India? No, you don't know who took her? Now she's traumatized. She's pregnant also. She was taken to India. So she doesn't -- she cannot say anything.

We have seen children who have come back with, you know, broken legs, with HIV positive when they're 14, 13, which is very sad. They're still child, you see?

Maiti Nepal becomes a safe haven for them. It becomes a home, their own place where they can now stay, work, be happy and enjoy the rest of their life. They call me Dijout (ph). That means the elder sister. So they have belief in me. I'm really proud of that, that the children really believe in me.

We are doing various programs in the villages. We go from door to door campaigning.

When the trafficker comes, he never says, I'm going to take your child and make her a prostitute. He comes and says, there is a big job in the city.

We have message for everyone. So we are trying to educate all of them and saying that trafficking is inhuman.

Just imagine what would happen if your daughter was standing there and if your daughter was there, what would you do? How would you fight? So you have to join hands. You have to take each child as your daughter.



KOIRALA: I want a society free of human trafficking. I hope I will make it happen one day.


MOORE: Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present CNN Hero Anuradha Koirala.


KOIRALA: Namaste. Today, I want to remember all my girls and survivors of trafficking back at Maiti Nepal. I want to thank Bishua (ph), Bridget and Joe, Nesa (ph). Please close your eyes and take every child as your own daughter. Soon you will feel their sorrow. And then you will feel the strength that comes out of you to protect them.

Human trafficking is a crime, heinous crime, a shame to humanity. I ask everyone to join me to create a society free of trafficking. We need to do this for all our daughters. Thank you. Namaste.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up on CNN Heroes --

ANNOUNCER: -- a live performance by Sugarland.

ANNOUNCER: And we'll announce the CNN Hero of the year.


COOPER: Welcome back. Our final performers are a duo that has enchanted fans with their triumphant and uplifting music. The song they will enrich us with is a tale of personal empowerment, a rallying cry that echoes the message of our show and is a fitting tribute to these heroes. Performing "Stand-up," here is Sugarland.




ANNOUNCER: We're moments away from revealing the CNN Hero of the Year.



COOPER: Each of these ten remarkable heroes has been awarded 25,000 dollars to carry on their urgent work.


COOPER: In a moment, the Hero of the Year will be named and receive an additional 100,000 dollar grant.


COOPER: These honorees really do represent the best of humanity. They're courageous. They're determined. And each of them are risk takers. They've taught us how to give back and hopefully encouraged many of us to maybe try and make a difference as well. We gave you the opportunity to go to to vote for the hero who inspired you the most. Nearly two million votes were cast and all of our heroes received a tremendous amount of support.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's my great privilege to announce the CNN Hero of the Year.

The 2010 CNN Hero of the Year is Anuradha Koirala.


COOPER: Namaste. I would like to have Nisa with me here and Samrat (ph). Nesa and Samrat --

I want to -- I want to let the whole world know that we always speak of women and children, but they are youth. These were the two youth who nominated me. They knew the cause, so please try to respect the youth and do something for the youth. They are the ones who are going to build our next generation. Thank you. Thank you so much.


COOPER: These ten heroes remind us to just never give up, to open our hearts to those in need and to stand up and fight. You can continue to support all of the efforts of the people on this stage by donating at

These heroes have come from all over the globe and they choose each day, every day, to make the world a little bit better. Hopefully they have inspired you to think about what heroic deeds are possible in your own communities, in your own lives.

If you know a hero and you would like to see them honored, go to and tell us about them. The nominations for our 2011 CNN Heroes are opening right now.

I'm Anderson Cooper. Good night. Thank you for being with us.