Heroes of the Economy: Where are they now?

In March, CNNMoney profiled people making personal sacrifices to help others during the recession. Did their efforts pay off? CNNMoney checks in.

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Marilyn Mock
Marilyn Mock
Marilyn Mock, founder of Foreclosure Angel Foundation, based in Rockwall, Texas.
Heroic act: Saved a stranger's home
Result: Helped 51 more families

Last October, Marilyn Mock accompanied her son to a foreclosure auction and heard a woman sobbing nearby. "She wouldn't stop crying," Mock says. "I asked her over and over, 'Is it worth it?' She kept saying, 'Yes!'"

On an impulse, Mock bought the house for $30,000 and offered the woman a deal to let her stay in the house, paying monthly until her debt was resolved.

A few weeks later, Mock set up the Foreclosure Angel Foundation. Fueled mainly Mock's own savings and profits from her business, a company that builds rock retaining walls, FAF helped three families over the next few months.

Since CNNMoney.com spoke with Mock in April, she has appeared on television shows, including "Oprah" and "20/20." Donations poured in, and FAF has now helped 51 families stay in their homes.

The number of requests also exploded: Mock estimates about 7,000 pleas for help are currently in her inbox.

"I go through the emails and look for the most desperate people," Mock said. "Those who have done the right things their whole lives and are just in a spot of bad luck."

While people do try to make payments, many are so down on their luck that it's impossible for them to keep up. So most simply receive the funds as a grant.

One current FAF project is the home of a woman in North Carolina who needs a leg amputation. She's sleeping in a recliner and renting out each room of her house to try to pay off her mortgage, Mock says.

"She cleared the land for that home herself, in a wheelchair, with a chainsaw," Mock says. "Sometimes I get so depressed over these situations. I've even asked myself, `Why did I ever do this?' But you just keep going."

Mock is still using her own savings and business profits to fund FAF's efforts, which she expects to do indefinitely. But she also gets donations through her Web site.

"It seems like everybody focuses on Democrats and Republicans, when they should be thinking of who's right next to them. Let the politics fall where they may. Just help your neighbor."

NEXT: Rob Katz
Last updated November 23 2009: 11:09 AM ET
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