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SC veteran could become ‘CNN Hero of the Year’ with your vote. Here’s how to cast it

Every one of us has our own personal heroes, but one Lowcountry resident is in the running to be declared a hero on the national stage.

CNN has announced the 10 finalists for their 2017 “CNN Heroes”, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year, and Lowcountry resident Andrew Manzi made the cut.

The awards celebrate “everyday people who are changing the world” according to a CNN press release.

Manzi, an Iraq War veteran and resident of Folly Beach, was chosen as a finalist for his creation of and work with the Warrior Surf Foundation, which was founded with a mission of “bringing veterans and their families together to promote mental and physical well-being by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing,” according to the foundation’s website.

Since its founding in 2015, the organization has provided its services to 300 veterans and their families, according to the CNN release, engaging them in six week long surf camps and therapy sessions.

“Each 6 week session helps warriors overcome anxiety with social situations, crowds, and creates non-battlefield bonds,” says the foundation’s website. “The nature of war and its aftermath can be counteracted by using the ocean as a healing remedy. The cycle of post-combat inactivity is broken, and the body and brain work through residual feelings of discomfort and distress while in the water.”

Manzi will face off against finalists from every corner of the country and as far away as Cape Town, South Africa to claim the title “CNN Hero of the Year” and receive a $100,000 prize on top of the $10,000 he has already been rewarded as a top ten finalist.

All the finalists are also receiving organizational training from the Annenberg Foundation, according to the CNN release, and the news network has partnered with CrowdRise to help people donate to the projects of each finalist.

You can check out each of the finalists and cast their votes for “CNN Hero of the Year” at You can also vote using Facebook messenger by messaging VOTE to the CNN Heroes Facebook page, according to the CNN release.

You have until Tuesday, Dec. 12 at midnight pacific time to cast your votes.

A winner will be announced as part of the network’s “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” broadcast on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. eastern time.

Michael Olinger: 843-706-8107, @mikejolinger