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CNN names doctor as its 2018 Hero of the Year, Idaho finalist receives $10,000

December 10, 2018 GMT

TWIN FALLS — The votes are in, and CNN has named Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong as its 2018 Hero of the Year.

Luke Mickelson, founder of nonprofit Sleep in Heavenly Peace, was in the running for the award after CNN announced in November he was among the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2018. The Hero of the Year was selected from among that list based on votes collected throughout the month. The cable news network announced the results on Sunday.

Mickelson will still receive a $10,000 cash award, with a matching donation from CNN up to $50,000. He founded Sleep in Heavenly Peace in 2012 — and later quit his high-paying job to build bunk beds for children who don’t have them. Sleep in Heavenly Peace now has more than 120 chapters in 40 states.

The CNN Hero of the Year, Pun-Chong, started a nonprofit that provides free housing, meals and support to sick children and their families in Peru while they undergo treatment. You can learn more about the honorees at CNNheroes.com.

The Times-News will feature a Big Story on Mickelson and Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Sunday’s paper and online Thursday at magicvalley.com.