A South Carolina veteran is among 10 finalists for CNN’s Hero of the Year for his work with the Warrior Surf Foundation.
The nonprofit’s website says it provides free surf camps and outdoor therapy to veterans and their families.
Founder Andrew Manzi, of Folly Beach, served as a Marine in the Iraq War. He struggled with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after his time in the military.
“People got blown up, people got shot. But no matter what happened the day before, you had to wake up the next day and do your job,” he told CNN.
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He was honorably discharged in 2007 and found healing through surfing and bonding with other veterans on the beach.
Since 2015, the Warrior Surf Foundation has shared this form of therapy with about 300 other veterans.
“I want them to take away a little bit of hope,” he told CNN. “Life can be really good if you make it good.”
Voting for Hero of the Year is underway through Dec. 12 at www.cnn.com/specials/cnn.heroes/vote.
The winner will be announced at 8 p.m. Dec. 17.
Each of the 10 nominated heroes receives $10,000. The winning Hero of the Year will receive $100,000 for his or her cause.
▪ Stan Hays, Operation BBQ Relief, which feeds disaster survivors and first responders
▪ Samir Lakhani, Eco-Soap Bank, which has soap recycling centers across Cambodia
▪ Jennifer Maddox, Future Ties, which has a free after-school program in Chicago
▪ Rosie Mashale, Baphumelele, which cares for abandoned, orphaned or sick children in South Africa
▪ Leslie Morissette, Grahamtastic Connection, which provides free computers and iPads to children battling serious illnesses
▪ Mona Patel, San Antonio Amputee Foundation, which offers programs for amputees and financial assistance for prosthetic limbs
▪ Khali Sweeney, Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program, which trains and tutors children in Detroit
▪ Aaron Valencia, Lost Angels Children’s Project, which is an after-school youth program that focuses on classic car restoration
▪ Amy Wright, Bitty and Beau’s Coffee Shop, a North Carolina shop that employs people with disabilities.
Lisa Wilson: 843-706-8103