Special/Signature Issues » Teachable Moments

We May Never Solve Our Worst Problems, But We'll Keep Trying

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Alicia Rasin It's not uncommon that Alicia Rasin is called to a homicide scene before police. Comforter of the afflicted, she's planned funerals and vigils, grieved with loved ones, served as spokeswoman for families wracked by tragedy.

Thomas Cannon Reaching up from his own impoverished position, this retired postal worker embodied the spirit of giving for more than three decades. By the time he died in 2005, Cannon handed out more than $155,000 of his own money — often to people whose circumstances weren't nearly as precarious as his own.

Bill and Alice Goodwin Cynics may say that altruism sometimes comes with tax advantages. But this philanthropic couple has stood behind myriad projects that mean a great deal to them and the city. More than $200 million in charitable donations since 2002 is nothing to sneeze at.

Robin Starr Her future as an animal-welfare leader was called into uncertainty with the accidental death of her dog in 2009. But there's no denying the impact Starr made as executive director of the SPCA, drawing national attention for the $7.4 million, 64,000-square-foot humane center she shepherded and her push for a no-kill policy.

Oliver Hill Sr. He did his best work five decades ago conquering segregated schools, but it seems like it took us that long to really truly appreciate him. This blessed “human earthling” now belongs to the ages, but is enshrined — along with Spottswood Robinson — in the new Civil Rights Memorial on the lawn of Capitol Square. 

Do-Gooder of the Decade: Thomas Cannon

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