~ Daily Voting Begins November 17th and Continues Through December 5th ~
We at Beliefnet are excited to announce today – November 17, 2008 – ten nominees for the eighth annual Most Inspiring Person of the Year award. 
The nomination is a yearly recognition by Beliefnet readers and editors of noteworthy humanitarian actions that inspire and encourage us all to live better lives.  The Most Inspiring Person of the Year award is bestowed upon someone who has risen above expectations.  He or she may have countered stereotypes and demonstrated courage, forgiveness, self-sacrifice or love under difficult and challenging circumstances. 
Profiles of the nominees and voting guidelines can be found at:
www.beliefnet.com/mostinspiringperson2008 <http://www.beliefnet.com/mostinspiringperson2008> .
Between November 17 and December 5, visitors can vote once daily for the person whose actions they find most inspiring. 
Beliefnet’s Most Inspiring Person for 2008 will be announced on December 10th.
A forum where community members and visitors can discuss what they love and admire about the nominees can be found at: http://community.beliefnet.com/mostinspiring2008.
Nominees for Beliefnet’s Most Inspiring Person of the Year for 2008 are:

  • Heroic Boy Scouts?Transformed into True Leaders by a Deadly Iowa Tornado. Dozens of Nebraska and Iowa Boy Scouts attending a weeklong leadership training session rallied into action without missing a beat when a devastating tornado ripped through their remote western Iowa campsite. Courageously, the boys overcame fear and panic to rescue their friends and community members and assist the injured.
  • Paul Newman?Beloved Film Star and Philanthropist Who Built a Life by Doing Good for Others. Academy Award Winner and generous humanitarian, Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps for seriously ill children give hundreds of thousands of kids an opportunity to laugh, play and enjoy the fresh air, green grass and sunshine.  
  • Randy Pausch?Carnegie Mellon’s “Last Lecture” Professor Who Inspired Millions to Live Their Dreams.  Hugely popular professor who recently passed away after a brave journey through pancreatic cancer showed the importance of living each day well–even when facing death–and to never give up on your dreams.  His “Last Lecture” video and book, and interviews with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America remain an inspiration to people around the world.
  • Master Sgt. William “Spanky” Gibson?Oklahoma Marine Who Returned to Iraq Despite Devastating War Injuries.  After doctors amputated his leg above the knee as a result of a combat injury, 19-year veteran Master Sgt. Gibson refused whole-heartedly to think of himself as disabled.  “Born to be a Marine,” Gibson retrained with gusto, and returned to battle with a prosthetic leg; he proudly serves his country to this very day.
  • Dr. Halima Bashir?Sudanese Doctor Brutalized for Condemning Darfur Horrors.  Bashir’s memoir relates how she was brutally punished for medically treating the injured and then declaiming the rape and torture of young girls who are being traumatized by government-backed rapists in Darfur.  Her breathtaking life story and passionate commitment to speaking out against violence on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves has inspired millions. 
  • Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor?Amazing Story of Stroke and Recovery by a Brain Scientist  who Views Her Experience as a Gift to Others.  A doctor who spent her life studying the human brain awoke to discover that she was having a massive stroke herself.  As she watched her own brain deteriorate she reached a profound level of spirituality that eventually inspired her to change the course of her life and share new knowledge with the world. 
  • Christina Applegate?Vivacious Actress and Breast Cancer Survivor Passionate about Raising Awareness and Helping Other Women Find the Treatment they Need. The well-known actress has risen as an inspiration to women everywhere.  When her mother was stricken with the disease, she became a passionate crusader for breast cancer awareness and finding a cure.  Now a breast cancer survivor herself, she continues to inspire and motivate others to join the fight against this deadly disease.
  • Dara Torres?Olympic Swimming Medalist and Selfless Competitor.  At the Beijing Olympics this past summer, 41-year-old Dara Torres hauled in three silver medals for Team USA, to become the oldest swimming medalist in Olympic history.  But many considered Torres’ most valiant and inspiring moment to be her instinctive and selfless gesture to help a competitor that stopped the clock seconds before race. 
  • Darin Headrick?Reuniting a Tornado-torn Community by Rebuilding its Schools. When ten people died and 95 percent of tiny Greensburg, Kansas was destroyed by a two mile wide tornado, Superintendent of Schools Darin Headrick spearheaded efforts to get the school system back up and running better than ever before.  His environmentally-friendly “Green” schools gave students and families hope and a reason to stay and grow with the new community they pledged to build.
  • Steven Curtis Chapman?Christian Music Artist Who Faced a Parent’s Darkest Hour. Award-winning singing star sustained his family’s spirit and faith through the tragic loss of his daughter.  His courage in the face of personal loss balanced by a reliance on God serves as a model for millions of people around the world. Chapman is a tireless advocate for underprivileged children and Christian relief.
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