Giving thanks for some great people: from fighting for the underdog, to Hollywood stars and spiritual leaders.Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, because he still has it all these years later, better than ever, fighting for what he believes in.

2. Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin for illuminating and explaining the life of Lincoln and the Roosevelts for emigrants like me.

3. Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, because the 80-something genius still has it and then some. Hallelujah!

4. Chuck Feeney

Warren Buffett names Irish American philanthropist Chuck Feeney as his hero

Warren Buffett names Irish American philanthropist Chuck Feeney as his hero

Chuck Feeney for giving away all his money and inspiring others like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to do the same.

5. Mary McAleese

Mary McAleese she may be Ireland’s former president but standing up for a role for women in the church has been inspiring to watch.

6. Pope Francis

Pope Francis, for opening the door to all, not just the exalted.

7. Tom Brady

Tom Brady, for showing how to keep doing it at an incredible level, even into his late thirties.

8. Don Keough

Don Keough, for putting Notre Dame and Ireland together – what an amazing combination.

9. Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O’Hara 94-years-old and finally an Oscar winner. Three cheers for that – and an extra helping of “Miracle on 34th Street.”

10. Pete Hamill

Pete Hamill the great Irish American writer survived a health scare – IS there a better Holiday short story ever than “The Gift”? Nope.

My favorite quote this year: “If the pavement of this city could speak, it would sound like Pete Hamill” by Dan Barry of The New York Times.