Giraffe Heroes Database
Letter "O"
Entries beginning with "O"

O Hearn, Darcee

Darcee O'Hearn of Chilliwack BC was a kayaking Olympic hopeful until she hit a rock and plummeted over a waterfall, breaking three vertebrae in her neck. Months in the hospital helped her recover, and introduced her to people with similar injuries who remained paralyzed. While still on the mend herself, O'Hearn did a solo bicycle tour across Canada, raising money and awareness about spinal injuries.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, Canada, British Columbia
Home when commended: North America, Canada, British Columbia
Home now: North America, Canada, British Columbia
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

O Kell, Pamela

Pamela O'Kell of Titusville FL endured harassment and intimidation while fighting a private aerospace company that was handling highly dangerous hypergolic fuel in her neighborhood. O'Kell's diligent work led to a city council ban on further use of the fuels within the town limits.

  • government
  • public safety
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Florida
Home when commended: North America, US, Florida
Home now: North America, US, Florida
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oakley, Debbie

Debbie Oakley of Kennesaw GA was working in a school lunchroom when troubled kids started seeking her out as friend and counselor. So many came that they couldn't fit in the kitchen; the kids followed her home, where Oakley provides bed, board, and/or sound advice, 24 hours a day, turning no kid away.
  • education
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Georgia
Home when commended: North America, US, Georgia
Home now: North America, US, Georgia
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oleske, James

Pediatrician James Oleske of Newark NJ recognized in 1981, when AIDS was barely known, that he was treating babies and children who had the disease. Derided in the medical profession and dismissed by potential funding sources as a troublemaker who was causing hysteria, Oleske nevertheless championed the treatment of kids with AIDS, making sure they got proper care—and securing over time recognition that he was right.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New Jersey
Home when commended: North America, US, New Jersey
Home now: North America, US, New Jersey
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oliver, Gordon

When Gordon Oliver was elected mayor of Cape Town, South Africa, he filed a formal complaint against the city's police for their brutal treatment of anti-apartheid demonstrators. Despite protests from the city council, Oliver then joined with Desmond Tutu and Alan Boesak to lead 40,000 Capetowners in a peaceful multiracial protest against police brutality. On the very day Nelson Mandela was released from decades in prison, Mayor Oliver invited him to speak and stood with him on the steps of Cape Town’s City Hall as Mandela addressed the nation.

  • civil liberties
  • criminal justice
  • ethnicity/minorities
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, South Africa
Home when commended: Africa, South Africa
Home now: Africa, South Africa
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Olson, Karen

Karen Olson of Summit, New Jersey, began giving food to one homeless woman in New York City's main bus terminal as she passed through on her way to work at a Manhattan corporation. As Olson got to know that one woman, concern for the poor became more important to her than her career in business; she founded and directs a program for the homeless.

  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New Jersey, New York
Home when commended: North America, US, New Jersey
Home now: North America, US, New Jersey
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oman, Don

Don Oman of Twin Falls ID, a veteran forest ranger, refused to ignore federal grazing regulations that protect publicly owned lands, despite death threats from angry ranchers and their pressure on the US Forest Service to transfer him. Oman fought back, an order to transfer him was withdrawn, and the USFS tightened up enforcement of grazing regulations.

  • environment
  • government
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Idaho
Home when commended: North America, US, Idaho
Home now: North America, US, Idaho
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Ong’udi, Rosemell

Rosemell Ong’udi fed AIDS orphans in her village, Rabuor, Kenya when other villagers wouldn’t even talk about AIDS and wouldn’t help her. Undeterred, she kept pushing; the women in the village were moved to help her create a nursery school for the orphans. Her daughter, Loyce Mbewa-Ong’udi, living in the US, founded and fundraised for a nonprofit that helped the villagers develop their own solutions to the challenges of poverty and AIDS.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Kenya
Home when commended: Africa, Kenya
Home now: Africa, Kenya
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Orzechowski, Theresa

Theresa Orzechowski of Newburgh NY took homeless people into her own trailer, then opened two large shelters. Despite many setbacks and a lot of resistance from local government, she continued to search dangerous streets, bringing the homeless into her shelters.
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New York
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Osborn, Eliot

Eliot Osborn and Louise Lindenmeyr of New York NY founded "Project Troubador,” a diverse group of musicians, dancers and clowns who perform free in Third World hospitals, orphanages, schools, refugee camps, leper colonies and shanty towns.
  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, Connecticut
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Osei-Darkwa, Nana Yaw

Despite being shot at by members of political parties and threatened by government officials, Nana Yaw Osei-Darkwa works to make his native country of Ghana a peaceful place. Through his organization, Youth Icons, Osei-Darkwa teaches and motivates Ghana's youth to help create that peaceful future. He’s trained hundreds of Ghanaian youth and has spoken at conferences and other events around the world to convey messages of peace and responsibility.

  • international peace
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Ghana
Home when commended: Africa, Ghana
Home now: Africa, Ghana
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oulman, Lynne

Lynne Oulman is fighting against the construction of a coal-export terminal near her home town of Bellingham, Washington. She changed her life from that of an artist, working quietly on her own, to devoting hundreds of hours and her own money to lobby officials, forge alliances, gather signatures, and gain support from local businesses to stop the termina 

  • environment
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Washington
Home when commended: North America, US, Washington
Home now: North America, US, Washington
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oxford, Duke

Instead of spending their retirement years relaxing, Toni and Duke Oxford opened a food delivery service for the homeless and the poor of South Charlotte NC. Risking their own financial and physical safety, the Oxfords deliver wholesome food to the hungry of the town, going into neighborhoods they’ve been warned are dangerous, which the Oxfords will tell you is nonsense.

  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, USA, North Carolina
Home when commended: North America, USA, North Carolina
Home now: North America, USA, North Carolina
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oxford, Toni

Instead of spending their retirement years relaxing, Toni and Duke Oxford opened a food delivery service for the homeless and the poor of South Charlotte NC. Risking their own financial and physical safety, the Oxfords deliver wholesome food to the hungry of the town, going into neighborhoods they’ve been warned are dangerous, which the Oxfords will tell you is nonsense.

  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, USA, North Carolina
Home when commended: North America, USA, North Carolina
Home now: North America, USA, North Carolina
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Oxford, Toni & Duke

Instead of spending their retirement years relaxing, Toni and Duke Oxford opened a food delivery service for the homeless and the poor of South Charlotte NC. Risking their own financial and physical safety, the Oxfords deliver wholesome food to the hungry of the town, going into neighborhoods they’ve been warned are dangerous, which the Oxfords will tell you is nonsense.

  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, USA, North Carolina
Home when commended: North America, USA, North Carolina
Home now: North America, USA, North Carolina
Gender: C (couple)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

O'Hara, Jaz

Jaz O'Hara, a fashion designer in England, saw a news report about refugees stranded in Calais, France, got in her car and drove there to find out who the refugees were and why they were there. In the years since then she's worked fulltime to rally supplies, volunteers, and funds that have made a huge impact on refugees there and in camps across the world, where she travels in person to meet people, and work beside them. She calls her efforts the Worldwide Tribe.

  • education
  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Europe, Africa, and Asia
Home when commended: Europe, England
Home now: Europe, England
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.
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