Bringing America Back: Erin Brockovich, Dwyane Wade and Others Work to Help Communities

Homesaver Helps Others Avoid Foreclosure
ABCNEWS.com

In a special edition of "Primetime Nightline," we shine a spotlight on a few who are working to better the lives of many: Erin Brockovich, who continues to fight for her California neighbors to have clean water; Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, who works with communities to promote family; Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who is promising to hire thousands; a businessman, who saves people from foreclosure; and two veterans, who build modified homes for other wounded soldiers.

Read more about their inspirational stories and how they are bringing America back in the sections below.

PHOTO: After being laid off a few years ago, Bruce Buguslav nearly lost his own home. The experience shocked him and he decided he was obligated to help others keep their homes.
ABC News
Homesaver Takes on Big Banks to Keep Homeowners from Foreclosure
Heather Cadman bought her Framingham, Mass., home eight years ago, and now she is fighting to hold on to it; not because she got in over her head with a mortgage she couldn't afford, but because she lost her full-time job and is struggling to make ends meet.

When she asked her bank to modify her mortgage, which then cost about $2,600 a month, the bank's response was to bombard her with letters and collection calls.

But Cadman is not alone. She is one of 4 million Americans who are facing foreclosure every day.

Enter Bruce Boguslav. After being laid off a few years ago, the savvy businessman nearly lost his own home. The experience shocked him and he decided he was obligated to help others keep their homes. Now Boguslav and his company work to negotiate with banks to modify his clients' mortgages so they can afford the payments.

"I've been through this," Boguslav told ABC News' Chris Cuomo. "I know what these people are going through. I can't sit here and not share. It would be like walking away from the scene of an accident."

His non-profit, HSI Trust-HomeSavers , has taken on more than 200 cases since he started it in 2009, including Cadman's case. For the most part, Boguslav says he has gotten a positive outcome in almost all of them.

PHOTO: In an exclusive interview with ABC's David Muir, Ford CEO Alan Mulally explained how his company plans to hire 12,000 new workers.
ABC News
Ford CEO Plans to Hire
Ford Motor Co., an iconic staple in American industry for almost a century, was fighting for survival just a few years ago.

As other U.S. auto companies balanced on the brink of collapse, Ford also struggled during the recession. But unlike its domestic competitors, the auto giant did not file for bankruptcy and did not take a federal tax bailout. Instead, Ford borrowed $23.5 billion on its own to get back on track.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News' David Muir, Ford CEO Alan Mulally explained how his company has now repaid more than $21 billion from what it originally borrowed and he plans to hire12,000 new workers.

PHOTO: In many ways, basketball superstar Dwyane Wade leads a double life. By day, the Miami Heat guard is an NBA legend, but by night, Wade is a single father to his two young sons and his nephew.
ABC News
Dwyane Wade: Basketball Star Turned Beacon of Fatherhood
In many ways, basketball superstar Dwyane Wade leads a double life. By day, the Miami Heat guard is an NBA legend, but by night, Wade is a single father to his two young sons and his nephew.

Moms dropping their kids off at school didn't know what to make of him at first.

"I was like one of the only dads," Wade said. "Everybody was looking at me, it was kind of weird. They called me 'Mr. Mom' for a while."

It's an apt nickname for a man who is on a mission to bring back a bedrock U.S. value: family. Wade is reaching out to fathers and sons through community groups and his non-profit organization, Wade's World Foundation, to combat the jaw-dropping statistic that 72 percent of African-American kids are being raised by a single parent, mostly women. Even President Obama has asked Wade to come on as a kind of ambassador-at-large for fatherhood.

He is also determined to let his kids know that despite a bruising three-year custody battle, they have two loving parents, a lesson he draws from his own fractured childhood.

"It is not about the money I have or don't have," Wade said. "It is about the time I am willing to sit down across the table from my kids and if they don't get something right, helping them get it right."

PHOTO: To the residents of Hinkley, Calif., a small speck of a town on the edge of the Mojave Desert, Erin Brockovich, 51, is more than a mythic name. She is the real-life hero.
ABC News
Erin Brockovich Still Fighting for Neighbors
To the residents of Hinkley, Calif., a small speck of a town on the edge of the Mojave Desert, Erin Brockovich is more than a mythic name.

The 51-year-old is the real-life hero who led the charge against their neighbor, the giant utility Pacific Gas and Electric, which contaminated the town's water supply in the 1950s and '60s with a chemical called chromium-6. The state of California now recognizes chromium-6 as a carcinogen from ingestion in drinking water.

"Nightline" anchor Cynthia McFadden visited Hinkley in the mid-1990s, reporting on a community whose residents and animals seemed plagued with health problems and on charges PG&E covered up the water contamination. A few weeks after the piece aired, PG&E settled with Hinkley residents for $333 million in the largest direct-action lawsuit in history, although the company has never acknowledged making anyone sick.

Four years later, "Erin Brockovich" the movie was born. It quickly became a hit. In the Hollywood version of the story, the community was vindicated, PG&E learned its lesson and that was the end of the story. But the reality is much more complicated.

PHOTO: Two vets launched their non-profit organization, "Purple Heart Homes," which recruits volunteers to construct custom-made modifications in veterans' homes to fit their new needs.
ABC News
Vets Build 'Purple Heart Homes' for Wounded Soldiers
John Gallina and Dale Beatty, two war veterans who have been best friends for 15 years, were almost killed together after their Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Bayji, Iraq, Nov. 15, 2004.

Gallina was thrown from the vehicle and suffered head and back injuries, but Beatty lost both of his legs. After spending a year in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center, Beatty returned home to North Carolina to find that Gallaina and a group of volunteers had built a completely re-modified home, custom-made for a double amputee.

"It was such a good feeling for me and my family," Beatty said. "We really had the best case scenario for somebody who had been injured as bad as I was."

The project led the two friends to realize there were other wounded soldiers in need of similar house remodels. In 2008, the two launched their non-profit organization, "Purple Heart Homes," which recruits volunteers to construct custom-made modifications in veterans' homes to fit their new needs.

"It's about community. It's about lifting up those that are in need. It's about lifting up those that have served and sacrificed and in that, you know we've found a way that we can say we believe," Gallina said.

Learn more about "Purple Heart Homes" on their website: http://www.purplehearthomesusa.org/

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