Recently, Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, delivered a TEDTalk on the concept of everyday heroes, sharing stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary work. One of these heroes is a banker who discovered suspicious spending data at a nail salon, ultimately revealing an underground system of human trafficking. The importance of everyday heroes has risen recently, Villa says, because crime is changing. Being a hero is no longer about following the money; it’s about following the data.

These are the heroes Thomson Reuters wishes to celebrate and support with their Everyday Heroes award, sponsored by its Fraud Prevention & Investigations business. Each year, the program honors successful efforts by individuals and organizations that use the business’ investigative and public records search products to improve society and promote the rule of law. For each of the selected winners, Thomson Reuters makes a donation in their honor to the charity of their choice.

This year’s top honor went to Metro Legal Services, whose investigations manager Patrick McPherson used Thomson Reuters CLEAR to locate the assets of a retired widow who had lost her savings to a fraudulent investment scheme. Metro Legal Services, a leading provider of specialized legal services to individuals in Minneapolis and Saint Paul since 1969, works to support the legal system in which they believe.

“However, it’s imperfect,” recognizes McPherson. “And that’s why we chose the Minnesota Innocence Project to receive the Everyday Heroes donation.” The Minnesota Innocence Project and its national organization have dedicated themselves to exonerating those wrongfully convicted and to reforming the criminal justice system since 1992. Erika Applebaum, executive director, was presented with the donation last week at Metro Legal Services’ offices in Minneapolis, and discussed the importance of the donation.

“This is going to make a huge impact on us as a place of last resort for men and women who are wrongfully convicted,” Applebaum said. “That Thomson Reuters recognizes that there are still good people out there doing good work says a lot.”

Please visit the websites of Metro Legal Services and the Minnesota Innocence Project to learn more about their work and to show your support.

Metro Legal Services and the Minnesota Innocence Project are only two examples of many everyday heroes. To read more about other individuals and organizations recognized in 2012, click here. After such success in 2012, Thomson Reuters is proud to continue recognizing Everyday Heroes in 2013; to find out more about this year’s program, click here.

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