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Beliefnet names "Most Inspiring Person"

by Carla Hinton Published: December 17, 2009

Zach Bonner has been named Beliefnet’s “Most Inspiring Person of the Year. for 2009.”

Bonner, a 12 year old philanthropist, created his own nonprofit called the Little Red Wagon Foundation and he led several national initiatives to raise awareness of and help homeless children.

He was among several nominees, including Oklahoman Capt. Katie Illingworth (pictured at far right. At her left is Air Force Maj. Tobin Griffeth), for the inspirational online community’s annual award.

Award nominees were sent in by readers and then readers’ voted on the finalists.  Bonner was chosen from among the top three nominees who received the highest number of readers’ votes after voting closed on Dec. 12.

“Sometimes it takes a child to lead the way to right action, and that’s exactly what Zach Bonner has done,” Laurie Sue Brockway, Beliefnet’s family and inspiration editor, said in a news release.

Illingworth, of Oklahoma City, was a nominated along with her colleague Maj. Tobin Griffeth of McKinney, Texas, for their Operation Red River Cares charity drive. The two Air Force officers started the effort while serving at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

Through the charity drive, people sent donations of warm clothes, shoes and school supplies for Afghans. Some sent boxes marked “Texas,” while others sent boxes marked “Oklahoma,” having a bit of fun with the Red River Rivalry — for a good cause.

Congratulations to Bonner, Illingworth, Griffeth and all the nominees. Read more about the award and all the nominees by visiting

Carla Hinton

Religion Editor    

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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