Giraffe Heroes

There are over 1,300 entries in our free database of real heroes, all of them about people who have stuck their necks out for the common good.

You can search there for Giraffes by name, location, problem addressed, age, gender, and occupation.

And you’re free to use our profiles of these heroes—with attribution, in the form of a link back to www.giraffe.org.

The Board of Directors of this nonprofit chooses new Giraffe Heroes several times a year. If you’ve spotted a hero you’d like to nominate, please go to our nomination page.

More Giraffe Heroes

bajek.jpg

Bob Bajek ›

“Journalism is about seeking the truth. That is why I wanted to be a journalist.”

That’s Bob Bajek, a small-town reporter who has been seeking the truth about a neighborhood lake that’s been seriously polluted for years—he's been blocked at almost every turn from getting the story out.

Rantoul, Illinois, is a village of about 13,000. Residents often use HeritageLake for recreation. The problem is that HeritageLake used to be a sludge pit adjoining the Chanute Air Force Base. The base has been closed for years, but back in the 1960s, an airman buried a mixture of herbicides in...

more
chiponda.jpg

Melanie Chiponda ›

When the “diamond rush” struck the impoverished populace in 2006, thousands of poor Zimbabweans flocked to the Marange district in the country‘s Manicaland Province in a desperate attempt to “get rich quickly”.

The fortunate ones became instant millionaires whilst the unlucky perished from injuries inflicted upon from dog wounds and multiple bullet wounds fired by “trigger happy” state security agents under the guise of maintaining “law and order”.

Everyone was kicked out of the diamond fields leaving the army and a few powerful politicians with the assistance of Chinese...

more
hall.jpg

Andy Hall ›

It’s an old story, unfortunately: A courageous person blows the whistle on a company that’s doing something harmful. The company ignores the harm it’s doing and exacts revenge on the courageous person. The courageous person is considered a hero by some but is probably out of a job and beset by legal issues.

That story applies multifold to Andy Hall. He’s the courageous person, and Thailand’s Natural Fruit Company is the company that’s doing something harmful. The difference between Hall’s case and most other whistleblowers’ is that he faces imprisonment in Thailand.

In 2012,...

more
hopko.jpg

Hanna Hopko ›

This is how you make a revolution. At least, this is how Hanna Hopko is helping make a revolution in Ukraine.

You start by building your credibility: You get a Master’s Degree in International Journalism and a Doctorate in Social Communications. You become an ecological journalist, conducting trainings, speaking at conferences, and heading up governmental and non-governmental committees. You publish articles and appear throughout the media. You take over as the Communications Manager of the Ukraine Citizen Action Network. You act as the Advocacy Coordinator of Ukraine’s Campaign for...

more
kiriakou.jpg

John Kiriakou ›

There are some professions—surgeon, firefighter, parachute jumper—in which you really don’t want to make a mistake. Add to that list “CIA operative.” John Kiriakou found out the hard way.

Kiriakou’s CIA resume was sterling: Middle East analyst, economic officer, foreign-agent recruiter, Chief of Counterterrorist Operations in Pakistan, leader of raids against al-Qaeda, and even the target of assassins. In 2004, he resigned from the CIA with a multitude of awards, medals, and other honors.

Kiriakou joined an accounting firm and later became a terrorism consultant for ABC News, a...

more
roske_martinez.jpg

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez ›

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez loves the outdoors. Maybe it’s the Aztec genes passed on through his father’s side of the family; maybe it’s the environmental activism modeled by his mother. Or maybe it’s just that the forest around Boulder, Colorado, is stunning, and Xiuhtezcatl has grown up loving it.

Whatever the reasons, when he was only six years old, Xiuhtezcatl realized that something was happening to his forest, and that something wasn’t good. It was getting warmer, the trees were dying, the logs were feeding huge fires, plant growth was disappearing, and species of animals were...

more
vrain.jpg

Terry Vrain ›

Let’s begin with a little science, courtesy of Dr. Thierry Vrain, research biologist:

“When we started with genetic engi­neer­ing in the 1980s, the sci­ence was based on the the­ory that one gene pro­duces one pro­tein. But we now know, since the human genome project, that a gene can cre­ate more than one pro­tein. The inser­tion of genes in the genome through genetic engi­neer­ing inter­rupts the cod­ing sequence of the DNA, cre­at­ing trun­cated, rogue pro­teins, which can cause unin­tended effects. It’s an inva­sive technology.”

Why is this important? It’s important because...

more
willingham.jpg

Mary Willingham ›

As academic advisor to student athletes at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Mary Willingham assumed that the purpose of the university to educate its students, such students including the athletes she was advising.

Based on the university’s reaction to her findings on how they were doing that job, such an assumption was perhaps naïve.

Willingham, a reading specialist, conducted research on 183 UNC-Chapel Hill football and basketball players from 2004 to 2012. She found 60% of them reading at fourth- to eighth-grade levels and 10% reading at below a third-grade...

more

Subscribe to our blog, Heads Up

You can be the first person on your block to know who the new Giraffe Heroes are. Just subscribe to Heads Up, our only-when-it-matters emails. (We don’t sell or even lend our subscribers’ addresses to anyone. Ever.)