What makes a hero? Certainly the three Americans who stopped a gunman on a Paris train qualify. As do our country’s women and men who serve in the military. But what about the dad who saw restaurant crayons going to waste and got them into the hands of hospitalized children? Or the school janitor who mentors students from single-parent homes? These individuals are also heroes to the lives they touch.
Now, in an all-new special edition — American Heroes: Inspirational Stories of Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Good, the editors of PEOPLE bring you inspiring stories of Americans from coast-to-coast, and in other parts of the world who are paying it forward, and helping make a difference. From well-known names, such as Angelina Jolie and her work with refugees and women around the globe or Alicia Keys, whose foundation helps change the lives of children who have been touched by HIV, or the heroes among us such as Bridget Platt, who helps cheer up children whose parents are on duty in the military, these are the heartwarming stories of people have seen their chance to make a difference and taken it.
These stories and the courageous people behind them prove that anyone can be a hero.