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Friday, November 28, 2008

CNN's 2008 Hero: Liz McCartney & St. Bernard Project!

Did you watch CNN?  Did you catch the news?[NB:  You still can through Sunday.] I'm so very excited  to share that Liz McCartney, community crusader for the St. Bernard Project has been chosen as the CNN 2008 Hero of the Year! Hurray! Thank you to all who voted for her.

My sister informed me of the good news earlier this week as the CNN All Star Tribute being shown this week was recorded last weekend.  She also shared with me Liz's response to her good wishes.

That response got me thinking how this momentous achievement is not the end, but rather just one stop in a long journey - or rather crusade.  Because there is so much left to do.  In St. Bernard Parish alone, 1,600 families still live in trailers.  Think about other areas...

Liz has posted a Thank You Note on the St. Bernard Project website.  In it she reiterates what the St. Bernard Project represents: "a rebuilding organization that can transform a gutted house in to a safe and comfortable home in 12 weeks for about $12,000." 

That in itself is remarkable.

There's another aspect of her achievement that has more meaning since writing about Social Media, The Elections, What It Means For Marketing, Social Media & The Elections: What It Means for Marketing - Part II, and Social Media, The Elections & Lessons for Marketing - Part 3 [yet to be shared:  the marketing lessons].  It has to do with how all of us can help in solving many of our societal problems -- we are part of the solution.  The St. Bernard Project demonstrates per Liz that "people - with or without the government - can solve problems."  In other words, she and her friend Zack have developed a new business model for funneling human energy, goodwill and resources to help get tax-paying residents back into their homes.  It's a model that can be duplicated elsewhere to deliver results.

How cool is that?

Liz' letter not only thanks, but urges us on to do more:

"... Together we can improve the work we are doing in St. Bernard Parish. We can expand into New Orleans, and we can replicate our model in other storm-devastated areas.  Indeed, I know this is what we must do.  We must ensure that families move out of trailers and back into their homes, that seniors live out their lives in their own homes, and that children spend their formative years in homes, not tiny trailers. We cannot simply continue, we must improve and expand.  The operational ethos of the St. Bernard Project — treating our clients the way that we would want our family members treated — demands it.

So, I ask you to continue voting! But this time:

  • vote with your feet and volunteer 
  • vote with your voices and spread the word about the St. Bernard Project's needs and goals
  • vote with your wallets and support our efforts to increase our capacity in St. Bernard and expand into Gentilly
You can be a hero simply by getting involved. For the families you help, you will be more of a hero than I could ever be.  Now that we have won, I ask you to continue to spread the word about SBP.  Please ask your friends to spend time on our website, where they can get to know the families we have helped and those who are still waiting.

Because of folks like you, SBP has grown from a two-person operation to a new and effective model for post-disaster recovery.  Please continue to help us grow.  I urge you to think about what you can do to become a hero for our clients."

I can't say it any better than Liz does.  Please, will you help get the word out? Anything you do to spread the word will help get homeowners back into their homes faster.

And that benefits all of us.

Thank you.

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