Best Citizen - 2009
On November 7, 2008, Teodora Petrova, a Bulgarian immigrant who spoke little English and had been in the country for less than two months, started a new $8-per-hour job at the MERS Goodwill in Glen Carbon, Illinois. As Petrova was sorting through donated clothes and shoes, she discovered a shoebox full of cash. She alerted her manager to the find, the story found its way onto TV news and a family stepped forward to claim the money — a cool $7,500, which had been hidden among a big batch of belongings donated after the death of a parent. The grateful family gave Petrova a reward for her selflessness; not to be outdone, an anonymous philanthropist wrote out a check for — you guessed it — $7,500. Once her fifteen minutes of fame ticked down (she made headlines even in her native country), Petrova invested her windfall to continue her education in America; she holds degrees from Bulgarian universities in management and criminology.