Five years ago, Brad Blauser of Grapevine landed in Iraq as a civilian contractor. Though his family remains here, Blauser has stayed in Baghdad. But he quit his job in 2005 in order to focus full time, and without pay, on securing wheelchairs for disabled Iraqi children, to whom he refers as "the forgotten ones in this war."
Last week Blauser came home to be feted for his work: He was at L.D. Bell last Tuesday and in L.A. Saturday night, where CNN -- with the assistance of a Love Boat panel of judges that included Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Turner, Shakira and Kirk Cameron, not to mention millions of online voters -- named him one of the year's Heroes. CNN will televise its tribute Thanksgiving night, as Blauser shares a stage with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Hudson, The Rock and Neil Patrick Harris. A video featuring Blauser in action follows.