Extraordinary People

Richie Havens reprises his 1969 song "Freedom" at a concert at the Bethel Woods Center, Friday, Aug. 14, 2009, in Bethel, N.Y. Havens was the opening act at the 1969 Woodstock festival. A concert at Bethel Woods on Saturday will commemorate the event's 40th anniversary. AP Photo/Stephen Chernin

Now and then, if you're lucky, you meet someone in the course of every day comings and goings who is truly extraordinary -- someone whose very essence makes the world a better place. And every day this week, The Early Show will tell you about one such person in its special series, "Extraordinary People."



Friday, May 16, 2008

Orrin Hudson's interest in chess was sparked by a high school teacher who noticed him running with the wrong crowd in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Hudson eventually staightened out so much he wound up becoming a state trooper. After six years on the force, he was drawn by the lure of a more lucrative career dealing used cars. Then, in May of 2000, Hudson watched a news story about a shooting in Flushing, N.Y. in which seven people were gunned down (five were killed) for less than $2,000 in a Wendy's restaurant. Hudson decided to reach out to troubled and disadvantaged kids the only way he knew how, by showing them the value in making the right moves on a chess board -- as it applies to life. Hudson sold the car business and started the non-profit organization Be Someone. In his eight years, Hudson has lectured 20,000 kids. His goal is to reach a million. Mark Strassmann told Hudson's story, then Hudson came to our set with youngsters from East Harlem's Union Settlement, a community center that was to have its first chess tournament that night.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Erik Weihenmayer is one of only 150 climbers to reach the seven summits -- the highest peaks in each continent. He's also blind. He lost his sight to a rare disease of the retina when he was 14. Weihenmayer is the first blind person to scale the seven summits. He has gained world fame and become a huge inspiration to blind people everywhere. In 2004, Weihenmayer and a team of climbers brought six blind Tibetan teenagers up a 23,000-foot peak in the shadow of Mt. Everest. Their trek was documented in documentary, "Blindsight." Correspondent Priya David told his story, and co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez chatted with him:



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whenever a tornado tears apart a town, a big, yellow bus -- CJ's bus -- shows up to help. As new Early Show contributor Flavia Colgan reports, it's the passion of Kathryn Martin, whose inspirational story makes her an extraordinary person. Martin lost her little boy in a tornado, and now helps other victims. The bus is a mobile playground driven by Martin and her volunteers. Her team provides free emergency daycare:



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Timmy Kelly has Cerebral Palsy and is totally blind -- but boy, can he sing! He's performed for rock stars and politicians. New The Early Show contributor Flavia Colgan introduced him to us. She says he's touched her heart and changed her life:



Monday, May 12, 2008

Steven Wiltshire can sketch entire city skylines, in remarkable detail, completely from memory. What's more, reports correspondent Mark Phillips, Wiltshire is -- severely autistic:

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