Wednesday, May 23, 2012
CNN iReport Awards: Personal stories


Editor's note: The iReport Awards recognize the best in participatory journalism from around the iReport community. You can see the nominees in all of the categories and vote for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website.


iReporters share personal stories with CNN - and the world - every day. Their courage, openness and honesty add a personal dimension to often-difficult issues.


The nominees in the Personal Story category of the iReport Awards shared an intimate look into their lives as well as a unique perspective into the news:


Son’s tribute to a fallen soldier


Braydon Nichols' father, Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols, was one of 30 American troops killed last August when their Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. The 10-year-old boy said that he had seen pictures of other troops killed in the crash and asked CNN to please include a photo of his dad.


Braydon’s tribute to his father inspired a tremendous response from the iReport community. Readers have left hundreds of comments over the past nine months offering encouragement and praising him for his courage and his family’s sacrifice.


From blind vision to beyond sight



Kurt Weston is a legally blind photographer who has been living with HIV/AIDs for decades. Weston suffered a number of AIDS-related illnesses, including the condition that took his sight.


He says anti-retroviral medications saved his life and enabled him to focus on his art career.  Weston says he believes in the healing power of art and that his work is about appreciating life.


Family finishes 3-year, 17,500 mile bike trip


John and Nancy Sathre-Vogel took their twin sons Davy and Daryl on a bike ride from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the southern tip of Argentina. They documented much of their trip on iReport.


Nancy Sathre-Vogel said they wanted to go on this 14-country adventure before their teenage sons were too old to want to travel with their parents.


Challenger disaster inspires NASA painting


David Wesley Jarvis was watching from his balcony in Cocoa Beach, Florida, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after liftoff in 1986. Jarvis says that memory inspired him when he was chosen to create artwork to commemorate the 1990 launch of space shuttle Columbia.


Jarvis’ iReport showed how the Challenger disaster and his admiration for the space program influenced him as an artist.


My Tunisian story


Tunisian student Meriem Ben Salah was in graduate school in California when revolution broke out in her home country. She watched from afar as the Arab Spring erupted in Tunisia and shared her frustration with the government and her fear for friends and family at home.


She said the corruption in her country made many people ashamed to admit they were Tunisian, but said that she was very proud of her country now.


Advice from my dad


Michael Cohen shared the difficult and often conflicting emotions he has experienced while dealing with his father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. He says the disease has made his 80-year-old father irrational and paranoid.


Cohen painted this portrait as a tribute to his father’s Spanish heritage and expressed his admiration for his dad’s legacy as a hard worker and a father.


Which story would you pick? You can vote for your pick for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website and you can share your story at CNN iReport.

May 25, 2012
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June 19, 2012
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