Wednesday, November 18, 2015

N.J. woman named 'CNN Hero of the Year'

CNN 2015 Hero of The Year, Maggie Doyne, left, of Mendham Borough, speaks with journalist at the American Museum of Natural History on Tuesday after receiving her award. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for CNN)

By Jeff Goldman:

A New Jersey woman who helped build a school and an orphanage in Nepal has been named CNN's Hero of the Year.

Maggie Doyne of Mendham Borough received the honor at a ceremony Tuesday night at the American Museum of Natural History, CNN said on its website.

Doye, 29, will receive $100,000 for her BlinkNow foundation on top of the $10,000 she got for being chosen as one of the 10 finalists.

"If you had told me when I turned 18 that I was going to be the mom of 50 kids, I would have told you that you were totally crazy," Doyne said in her acceptance speech Tuesday. "And I am. And to my kids, I love you so much. Don't ever forget how much I love you.

"And to the country of Nepal, thank you so much for loving me and accepting me as a daughter welcoming me into your country."

Her interest in aiding children in Nepal began when she took a backpacking trip there after graduating from Mendham High School in 2005. Doyne used $5,000 she saved from babysitting to buy land and eventually raised enough money to build Kopila Valley Primary School in Surkhet, Nepal.

The foundation also raised enough money to build a home where 50 children live as well as a women's center and a health clinic in a country that was struggling to rebuild following a civil war.

Doyne spends 10 months each year in Nepal. She will speaking at the Oak Knoll School in Summit at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

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