CT woman named among top 10 CNN Heroes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT woman named among top 10 CNN Heroes

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Rochelle Ripley, who is a CNN Heroes top-ten finalist, talks with Mark Zinni. (WFSB) Rochelle Ripley, who is a CNN Heroes top-ten finalist, talks with Mark Zinni. (WFSB)
SOUTH GLASTONBURY (WFSB) -

A Connecticut woman stands to win $100,000 if she can build enough online support for her cause.

Rochelle Ripley is a CNN Heroes top-ten finalist.

On Monday, Kay Ferris had a special delivery on her hands. In it was scarves, gloves and blankets. All handmade by church members at St. James' in Glastonbury.

"This is just not me, but a group of 25 gals that knit all year long, so we can provide these knitted goods,” Ferris said.

The items are going to a Glastonbury warehouse where Rochelle Ripley runs her non-profit called Hawkwing.

She collects donations for the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation in South Dakota where approximately 6,000 members of the Lakota tribe struggle to survive.

"You have things like a 90 percent unemployment rate. You have an average life expectancy of 48. You have only 30 percent of our children graduating schools,” Ripley said. “Some of our schools as recently as two-years ago had no textbooks."

Since 1998, Ripley's organization has helped deliver $9 million worth of goods and services to the Lakota people. Ripley started Hawkwing after her grandmother asked her to go home and help their people.

"The tribe has honored me by calling me an honorary member or elder of the tribe, which is a huge thing that rarely happens,” Ripley said.

Ripley recently found out she's a CNN Heroes top-ten finalist.

Each year, the network honors people who are helping others and if she gets enough online votes, she'll win $100,000.

"She is a saint,” Ripley said. “No, no, I'm serious. She is my sister, my sister."

If Ripley wins, all the money will go to special people who need it most.

"Everyone who volunteers here, including me, no one gets paid in this organization,” Ripley said. “We want every dollar that comes in to go out and help the people who really have the need."

Everyone can vote once a day every day through Nov. 15 and a winner will be announced in December.

To vote for Ripley, click here.

To learn more about Hawkwing, click here

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