Way Cool People of 2011

So who were the folks who inspired us in 2011? The ones that breathed fresh air into a stale media, renewed our faith and refused to give up? Here’s a list of the top 5 way cool folks of 2011 – in no particular order:

Adele

How can you not love that attitude and the unapologetic honesty of this fireball? She’s one of those rare people who can tell it like it is, mince no words and still not insult anyone else. Oh – and then there’s that voice. I think I want to be Adele when I grow up. What’s that? You’ve never heard her music? Sure you have! But check out the video below and see for yourself why she is a must-have on any “way cool” list.

Kate Middleton

Ah, the newest addition to the royal family. When she married Prince William earlier this year, she was given the title Duchess of Cambridge. She’s elegant, humble and with not a single pretentious bone in her body. If there were, you can be sure the paparazzi would’ve reported it, shoved it down our throats and spewed harsh images to serve as proof that she was anything but a lovely addition to her husband’s family. Hopefully, she can find a way to insert a sense of humor into the queen. I know…I know…it just wouldn’t be proper for the Queen to cut loose – but wouldn’t it be fun?

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Sometimes the media simply gets it wrong. This was one of those times. Jared Loughner, a disturbed young man, felt it proper to show up at an Arizona town hall meeting Rep. Giffords was hosting on a cool Saturday morning in January. It’s what he did after he showed up that paralyzed the entire nation as the news came rolling in. He shot 19 people and killed 6. One of those shot and was reported dead was Rep. Giffords. She was shot in the head and despite the collective media’s reports that she didn’t survive, that’s exactly what she did: survive. Then, in this amazing renewal of faith, we watched her recovery. Today, she is thriving with a new appreciation for life. I’ve yet to see this woman display rage, or even anger, self-pity or the “woe is me” mentality we see with the likes of Lindsay Lohan and other “has been that never should’ve been” celebrities. Instead, she and her husband simply keep on keeping on with grace and humility.

Navy SEAL Team 6

An unexpected announcement that President Obama would be addressing the country on a Sunday night sent the rumors flying. Within an hour, he was standing in front of his podium and telling the world that an incredibly brave and elite group, the Navy SEAL Team 6, had killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. It was an amazing moment for every American and the pride each of us felt for our military is immeasurable. No one knows their specific names, of course, but they’ll go down in history known as Navy SEAL Team 6.

J.R. Martinez

Martinez is also one of those brave souls who made the choice to go into the U.S. Army at a very young age. The Iraqi vet suffered devastating injuries that nearly cost him his life. Like Rep. Giffords, Martinez opted to pick up the pieces and reclaim his life. Since then, he has served as a powerful motivational speaker and on a whim, decided to try out for a role on All My Children, which he landed. More recently, Martinez took the mirror ball trophy on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. Watching him week after week was something millions of Americans looked forward to as we each was reminded, courtesy of that dancing man, the true meaning of patriotism.

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