Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds

By Beth Dreher

Who says you have to be a household name or hold an advanced degree to change the world? At Reader’s Digest we’re all about celebrating seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

1. A Texas postman by day, Kermit Oliver, 69, is the only American artist to design scarves (left) for French luxury goods maker Hermès. Listen to an NPR story about his art and life here, and don’t miss this slideshow of his scarf designs.

2. Lakewood Ranch, Florida, teenager Brittany Wenger recently won the Google Science Fair Grand Prize for an app she developed that helps doctors diagnose breast cancer. Check out her website for the impressive details of her project. “I think it might be hospital ready,” says Wenger.

3. Members of Planet Hunters, a group of armchair astronomers who volunteer to comb through data gathered by the NASA Kepler space mission, discovered a new planet. Even better: The new planet, called PH1 (for “planet hunters”) is six times bigger than Earth and has four suns!

Photo credit: Jason Sheeler

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