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Former D.C. Lawyer is the 'Other' Hero

Mccartney_rosenburg If you've watched CNN lately, you've probably seen the promos for its CNN Heroes contest and Nov. 27 broadcast that will highlight the 10 finalists and the hero of the year. Voting is underway now to pick one from among the 10 "whose accomplishment, impact and story inspires you the most." The winner will receive a prize of $100,000.

One of the finalists is Liz McCartney, a woman so stunned by the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina that she left her job as a teacher in Washington, D.C., and moved to Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish, where she opened a nonprofit organization, the St. Bernard Project, to help rebuild homes by raising money and organizing volunteers. But McCartney was not the only hero behind the St. Bernard Project. She left D.C. and founded the project together with her boyfriend, Zack Rosenburg. A criminal defense lawyer in Washington, Rosenburg was equally moved by Katrina's devastation and the urge to do something about it.

Together, McCartney and Rosenburg left their Washington jobs in 2006, bought a truck and headed to Louisiana, initially intending to help out however they could. Within two months, they founded their nonprofit, which is based in Chalmette, and achieved results that have won the project wide acclaim. As of July 2008, the project had helped to build more than 140 homes. While their focus so far has been on building homes for the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with school-age children, they hope to continue their work until everyone who lost a home can return.

Even though CNN has chosen to honor just half of this dynamic duo as one of its 10 heroes, the lawyer half is not without honors of his own. Last week, at a ceremony in New York, the Manhattan Institute honored Rosenburg with its Social Entrepreneurship Award. The $25,000 award honors nonprofit leaders who have found innovative solutions for America's most pressing social problems. Both McCartney and Rosenburg say they will donate any prize money to the project they founded. You can read more about the couple and their project at the project's Web site and its blog, as well as in this profile published last year in The Times-Picayne. And you can vote for McCartney or one of the other finalists to be hero of the year at CNN Heroes.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 11, 2008 at 12:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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