David Lesser, 57
Consumer protection volunteer
A onetime bank general counsel who was winding down his own small manufacturing firm, Lesser answered a 2010 call for volunteers from the Office of Consumer Protection in Montgomery County, Md.
Drawing on his legal expertise, he spends 15 hours a week investigating and resolving complaints; he's recovered tens of thousands of dollars so far.
A big victory: Identifying hundreds of plumbers who charged customers an average of $85 for sham permits when installing appliances -- then getting retailers that had hired the scammers to guard against future fraud.
"People often feel helpless when seeking redress. It takes a certain kind of perseverance and skill to succeed," says Lesser.
For these MONEY heroes, helping people in the workplace learn to manage their personal finances is an assignment they don't shirk.