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

Zabalaga, Denise

Denise Zabalaga risked her life and her career to travel alone in Afghanistan and document with her photographs the lives of Afghan women, many of whom suffer from domestic violence, are killed in honor murders, used to pay off debts, denied education and health care, and suffer extremely high suicide rates.

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

Zealand, Faye

Faye and Terrence Zealand of Newark NJ gave up their own security and privacy to open St. Clare's, a temporary home where kids with AIDS or HIV could stay until the Zealands could find permanent homes for them.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • youth issues
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: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Zealand, Faye and Terrence

Faye and Terrence Zealand gave up their own security and privacy to open St. Clare's, a temporary home in Newark NJ where kids with AIDS or HIV can stay until the Zealands find loving homes for them.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • youth issues
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: C (couple)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Zealand, Terrence

Terrence and Faye Zealand of Newark NJ gave up their own security and privacy to open St. Clare's, a temporary home where kids with AIDS or HIV could stay until the Zealands could find permanent homes for them.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • youth issues
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.

Zenk, Willis

Willis Zenk, an ordained minister, raids dumpsters to supply food to the hungry. Retired from his ministry, Zenk works 70 hours a week distributing supermarkets' discarded but healthy food to the poor of Kennewick WA.

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

Ziegenmeyer, Nancy

After Nancy Ziegenmeyer was raped, she wanted no one to know what had happened to her. But an article in her local paper about the need for rape victims to speak up led her to give an interview to the paper, and that led to a major national discussion about the prevalence of the crime and the need for women to stop keeping quiet about it. She went on to write her own book, offering advice to other women and ideas on how society can stop this violent crime—and stop blaming its victims.

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

Zimmerman, Russell

Russell Zimmerman of Dayton OH, once the president and CEO of an aerospace company, left that world to start AIDS Foundation Dayton, despite the puzzlement and outright disapproval of many of his peers. Paid a fraction of his former salary, Zimmerman finds the job so satisfying that he says he will never return to the fast track.
  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Ohio
Home when commended: North America, US, Ohio
Home now: North America, US, Ohio
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Zolkoski, Roberta

Roberta Zolkoski is a school nurse-practitioner in Pittsburgh PA who spends her summer vacations at camp—refugee camp. When school gets out she heads for the Sudan where she teaches primary health care to thousands of refugee Ethiopians and Eritreans, living and eating as they do. Zolkoski also travels to Guatemala every Christmas, laden with gifts for the people she met there in her six-year tenure as a Peace Corps volunteer.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Sudan; Central America, Guatemala
Home when commended: North America, US, Pennsylvania
Home now: North America, US, Pennsylvania
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Zon, Ann Marie

Ann Marie Zon, a member of the Felician Sisters for 18 years, left the order when she was told she could not continue working with the poor in Nicaragua. She has been in Nicaragua ever since, returning to this country three months a year to canvass for donations and earn cash as a teacher.

  • international aid
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): Central America, Nicaragua
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.

Zornow, Oliver

Oliver Zornow turned his high school research project in Appleton, Wisconsin, into a long-term project to assist the people of Caneille, Haiti. Zornow washed cars and held rummage sales to finance a school in Caneille and expand it each year, giving the children of that impoverished community a future.

  • education
  • international aid
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, Haiti
Home when commended: North America, USA, Wisconsin
Home now: Africa, Swaziland
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Zuercher, Michael

Michael Zuercher, a maintenance crew member at a school in Oak Harbor WA, refused orders to bury toxic materials on the school’s grounds. When the dumping was done anyway, Zuercher blew the whistle on his employer—the local School District. Zuercher was fired, but his revelations forced the district to then fire his supervisor and to institute a “least toxic” management policy that is being adopted by other districts in the state.

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