More Heroes of the Year!
THE COPS WHO HELPED SAVE JAYCEE
Lisa Campbell, 41, and Ally Jacobs, 34, Berkeley, Calif.
They didn't like his strange talk. So the two University of California, Berkeley, police department employees ran a background check on the odd man who had come to campus to get an event permit—and the rest is history. On Aug. 26 Phillip Garrido, 58, was in custody, and Jaycee Dugard, 29 (along with her two daughters), was freed after 18 years in captivity.
JACOBS: I've always wanted to catch bad guys, like Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. I have young sons. It was a mother's intuition.
CAMPBELL: People say we're heroes. We were just doing our job.
JACOBS: We went a little bit out of our way and ended up saving three lives. Jaycee and her family will always be part of our lives.
A LOVING HOME FOR DISABLED KIDS
Ellen Loftus, 51, and Tim Loftus, 48, Lenox, Mass.
When Arun, 7, jumps on a backyard trampoline, it's a victory for the Cambodian orphan born with a severely shortened leg—and a reflection of the boundless love of Ellen and Tim Loftus. Since 2002 Ellen, a former cop who got a taste for helping others after working with refugees, and Tim, a potato-chip deliveryman, have brought more than 250 children to the U.S. for free medical care at Boston-area hospitals and raised nearly $500,000 to cover other expenses. Already parents to three sons, they've permanently taken in seven medically needy kids—Shon and Oki, 11, Arun and Jake, 7, Saidi, 6, and Nathan and Diya, 5—from South Korea, India and other countries. "These kids," Ellen says, "have my heart. If I had a bigger house, I'd have more."
A LIFELINE FOR GRIEVING FAMILIES
Bonnie Carroll, 52, Washington, D.C.
He was her hero—and her inspiration. After Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll died in a plane crash in 1992, a devastated Bonnie was shocked at the lack of support for widows. So in 1994 she founded TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; taps.org). With 5,000 trained volunteers, a crisis hotline, mentoring programs and grief camps, TAPS has helped more than 25,000 people, including those touched by the Nov. 5 mass shooting at Fort Hood. Recently, Bonnie took a 2 a.m. crisis hotline call from a woman whose husband was killed in Afghanistan and who didn't know how she'd get through the night. "We talked about her husband and his extraordinary life," Bonnie says. "By the end, she was laughing and crying. We need to take time to embrace the person who's struggling."
HEALING THEIR TOWN
Dan Bell, 60, and Suzie Bell, 58, Eureka Springs, Ark.
The doctor and his wife were fed up. They'd seen too many uninsured patients desperately ill because they hadn't gone to a physician. So they set up a twice-monthly free clinic staffed by 200 volunteers—hairdressers and secretaries work alongside off-duty doctors and nurses—that has treated more than 1,100 residents in a church gym since 2005. Now, with grants and donations of $235,000, they are opening a permanent clinic. "I want to make the world a better place," says Suzie. "The only way I can do it is one person at a time."
OPRAH AND People SALUTE HEROES ACROSS AMERICA / TUESDAY, NOV. 24, 2009 CHECK LOCAL TV LISTINGS