Heroes of the Year

Matt Jones tried to calm his frightened fiancée and explain, once again, why a working dad with a blended brood of five would want to donate his kidney to a perfect stranger. “Tell them you’re not doing it,” a teary Meghan Baumer pleaded. But the burly car-rental agency manager from Petoskey, Mich., held his ground. “I want to do something the kids can look at and remember me by,” Matt, 30, explained. “I want to leave a legacy.”

He did that—and much more. For when Matt donated his kidney in July 2007, he set off a chain reaction that changed the lives of 20 people in what has become the nation’s first and longest-running open-ended kidney-transplant chain.

Continue reading this amazing story from People magazine.