Beliefnet.com, the leading online community for inspiration and spirituality announced its nominees and winner for the Most Inspiring Person(s) of the Year 2006.

  1. (Winner) The Amish of Nickel Mines, PA -- Inspiring for the incredible spirit of forgiveness they immediately extended to a gunman who killed five young girls in a tragic school shooting this fall, the Amish community of Nickel Mines, PA, showed the world how to forgive and live in peace.
  2. Bindi Irwin -- Bindi, the daughter of Steve Irwin - the beloved "Crocodile Hunter" who lost his life earlier this year when his heart was punctured by a stingray - is continuing her father's work in wildlife conservation.
  3. Elissa Montanti -- Dubbed "The Saint of Staten Island," Montanti has been a miracle worker for many war-maimed children, bringing them to the U.S., enlisting airlines, hospitals and a prosthetic manufacturer to donate services to provide medical care they desperately needed. Montanti founded the Global Medical Relief Fund, a nonprofit that works to get free medical help for children hurt or maimed in war or natural disasters.
  4. Warren Buffett -- The second richest man in the world and the most generous philanthropist pledged this year to give an estimated $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, doubling the foundation's assets. He is doing so in honor of his late wife, Susan Thompson Buffett, who shared his belief in the philosophy that all great fortunes should be used to benefit others.
  5. Jason McElwain -- An autistic boy who broke the boundaries of his disability to shatter a school record for 3-point shots, McElwain holds on to an unwavering belief in his own abilities and determination to push boundaries. "Never give up," Jason told Beliefnet. "Keep dreaming, and if you don't dream it, you can't become it. That's it."
  6. Adam Zuckerman -- A young man from Maine who was moved by the atrocities committed in Darfur, dedicated himself to being an activist for the victims of the genocide. Zuckerman is considered one of the most outspoken advocates of the Darfuri cause in the U.S. He has spoken before the Maine state legislature, lobbied Congress and continues his good deeds beyond Darfur -he traveled to Honduras to help build a local water system and to Costa Rica to participate in a program on endangered wildlife and reforestation.
  7. Lance Corporal Todd Corbin -- As a U.S. marine fighting in Iraq, Lance Corporal Corbin embodies the essence of what it means to be a hero. One brutal day on the battle field, his troops came under fire; they were hit by a suicide bomber, followed by intense gunfire. Under the severe attack Corporal Corbin carried his wounded men off the field to the safety of their vehicle. His valiant act, or which he received the Navy Cross, meant that not one marine lost his life after the initial attack.
  8. Kathleen Traylor -- Having been inspired at a young age to act, Traylor refused to let her isabilities - double leg amputations, scoliosis and a disfigured heart - stand in the way of her acting. Partnering with several former classmates, Traylor co-founded the Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League, and went on to perform numerous plays and musicals throughout the last two decades.
  9. Charles Moore -- A homeless man from Detroit who found savings bonds worth over $20,000 in a trash can and turned them in to the local shelter so they could be returned to the rightful owner is a prime example of selflessness. Moore's actions show that character and principles cannot be broken, regardless of hardships and misfortunes.
  10. Reverend Richard Cizik -- Vice President for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, Cizik is a Washington lobbyist for "Creation Care," the philosophy that caring for the Earth and all it holds is a biblically mandated duty.
  11. Russell Simmons -- A hip-hop mogul, and chairman for the Foundation of ethnic Understanding (FFEU), a non-profit organization that works to eradicate racism and build understanding between ethnic groups, Simmons is behind the foundation's National Ethnic Tolerance campaign. He is also the chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, co-founder of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a member of PETA and was recently named a UN Goodwill Ambassador.
  12. Immaculee Ilibagiza -- a Rwandan holocaust survivor, she was forced to hide from her attackers in a 3' x 4' bathroom, with seven other women, for 91 days. She emerged from her asylum to find that she had lost her parents, grandparents and three brothers. Immaculee did not let rage, grief or desire for revenge take over her life. Instead she found only forgiveness in her heart for her enemies and prayed for the redemption of their souls.
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