Elizabeth Bispo, 65
Volunteer ombudsman, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
A retired nurse, Bispo saw that many of her charges were unable to fight for their rights and needs. So in 2009 she volunteered for a federal program intended to resolve nursing-home residents' complaints.
Required to visit monthly, she instead goes weekly to four facilities in her hometown of Fredericksburg, Texas. She addresses financial problems both small and large -- for example, reporting a relative who's draining a resident's bank account.
Her pet cause: explaining to families the need for a financial power of attorney.
"I try to educate people about watching out for their parents. Because what I see happens when it's too late," says Bispo.