Albuquerque native ‘Street Vet’ wins CNN’s Hero of the Year award

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — We previously told you about Kwane Stewart, the Albuquerque native whose free veterinary care received national attention.

Now, the Street Vet has a new title — Hero of the Year.

CNN named Dr. Kwane Stewart the 2023 CNN Hero of the Year.

“It’s a surreal moment you hear that a lot, all of the other nominees going through the process, rehearsal the next day, sitting on stage and all of the cameras are on us, it does feel surreal,” he said.

That moment. He never even dreamed of it when he started providing vet services for animals on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. 

“When they announced my name, because you are not fully expecting it, you almost have this black out moment. I almost don’t remember walking from the end of the stage to the podium when I gave my acceptance speech. It’s just an overwhelming feeling of excitement and adrenaline,” Stewart said. 

Stewart is a proud New Mexican. He attended West Mesa High School and UNM before heading to Los Angeles. 

Through his charity, Project Street Vet, he donates his time to help care for pets belonging to people who are homeless and dealing with addiction on Skid Row.

The new title is now allowing him to expand his work. Stewart says, since he won, more veterinarians reached about volunteering their time.

“The mission is really fueled by the talent of the volunteer veterinarians and assistants and, of course, the donations. We use that for medications, in hospital procedures,” Stewart said. 

Stewart will receive $100,000 which he split among the other nine heroes.

In response to this, the San Diego Foundation wrote his charity a check for $90,000. 

He says this money will be life changing for the people and pets on Skid Row. 

“I obviously can’t treat everything on a street corner. I can do about 80% of the cases I see under a traffic lamp, and an alleyway. But the other 20% we have to get into a hospital, and that is where a lot of the cost is incurred,” Stewart said.