REALTORS Good Neighbors Enrich Their Communities
REALTORS® care about the communities in which they work and live, and many of them devote themselves to causes and efforts that build and strengthen those communities. The five individuals named by the National Assn. of REALTORS® as this year’s REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Awards have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of those around them, from enhancing access to education to expanding health care opportunities and reducing homelessness.
The 2007 Good Neighbor Award winners are Virginia L. Ferry, Twelve Oaks Realty, Joliet, IL, MorningStar Mission Ministries; Phil Landis, RE/MAX Ranch & Beach, San Diego, Veterans Village of San Diego; Patrick W. Moore, Rowling Real Estate, Fort Gratiot Twp., MI, Harvest of Haiti; Carol Reza, The Real Estate Store, Whittier, CA, Bridge of Faith; and Bert Waugh Jr., Prudential Northwest Properties, Portland, OR, Transitional Youth.
“Many of America’s neighborhoods are stronger because of the great volunteer work that REALTORS® do to build strong communities,” said NAR President Pat V. Combs of Grand Rapids, MI, and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt, “The Good Neighbor Awards encourages and rewards that hard work and gives us an opportunity to highlight the enthusiasm, commitment and talent of some of our members.”
The Good Neighbor Awards are presented by NAR’s REALTOR® Magazine. This year was the eighth year of the program and a record year for applications, with more than 320 entries.
Each winner will receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and a $1,500 Lowe’s gift card, and will be profiled in the November issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The five winners will also receive a crystal trophy and the right to use the Good Neighbor Awards logo on their web sites and in promotional materials. The recipients will be presented with their awards at the 2007 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in November; 30,000 REALTORS® and guests are expected to attend the convention.
For 36 years, Virginia Ferry has been dedicated to MorningStar Mission Ministries, a homeless shelter that provides meals, counseling, training and job placements to 10,000 people annually. Ferry opened the mission’s first women’s shelter in 1980, and more recently helped raise $4.5 million to build a new 72-bed family recovery center. The hotel-style facility’s flexible accommodations are designed to keep homeless families together by housing a variety of underserved groups, including women with children, intact families and families with older male children.
Since 1996, Phil Landis has led Veterans Village of San Diego, an intensive rehabilitation and training facility for homeless veterans of all eras. Landis, a Vietnam combat veteran, helped grow VVSD from an organization that was barely scraping by to its current $16 million budget. He has raised $9 million and supervised the construction of a new 112-bed facility; a second facility is fully funded and scheduled to open in 2008. VVSD claims an impressive 83 percent success rate after one year; success is defined by a client who has no homeless nights and is crime-free, sober, paying child support and earning an income.
As co-founder of Harvest of Haiti, Patrick Moore provides medical care to desperately poor people in remote villages. Using his experience as a firefighter and former emergency medical technician, Moore treats patients with injuries, disease and malnutrition. When Moore realized that many of the villagers’ health issues were caused by a lack of access to clean water, he began installing water filters and training people to maintain them. In six years, he has made 48 trips to Haiti, set up 475 water filters and helped nearly 10,000 people. Moore has brought four children to the United States for surgery, and even adopted a little girl who underwent cleft palate surgery. To expand its reach, Harvest of Haiti is also funding medical school for two Haitians.
While counseling female inmates, Carol Reza was struck by how the women’s incarceration affected their children, many of whom ended up in foster care. Reza, a former foster child and foster mother, saw a cycle that needed to be broken. She founded Bridge of Faith to help girls who “age out” of the foster care system at age 18 and have little support and nowhere to go. Reza bought and repaired a large home that shelters as many as 12 girls; she serves as housemother and mentor, offering emotional support and encouraging them to obtain education and job skills. To help fund the house, Reza also runs a thrift store that doubles as a drop-in counseling center.
Bert Waugh Jr. founded Transitional Youth in 1991 to help homeless teens off the streets. He has grown the organization from a fundraiser for other local charities to a full-service agency with an outreach center and three group homes. With the guidance of house parents, youth in the homes learn to transition from the streets to family life, where they must work or go to school. The outreach center offers shelter, meals, clothing and mentoring to 30-70 homeless teens each day.
Five other REALTORS® have been recognized as Good Neighbor Awards honorable mentions; they will each receive $2,500 grants and a $500 Lowe’s gift card. They are Randall Barnett, The Buyers Agent of Asheville, Asheville, N.C., Boy Scouts of America; Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt, Stellar Properties & Investments, LLC, Grayton Beach, FL, Children’s Volunteer Health Network; Ted K. Gilbert, Gilbert Bros., Portland, OR, HOST Development; Pamela Kidd and Keri Cannon, Fridrich & Clark Realty, LLC, Nashville, TN, Village Hope; and MaliVai O. Washington, Washington Properties, LLC, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, The MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation.
“By reaching out and volunteering their time to help those in need, the 2007 REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards winners do more than buy and sell real estate,” said NAR Vice President of Publications Pamela Geurds Kabati, REALTOR® Magazine’s editorial director. “I hope the Good Neighbor Awards winners will inspire Realtors® everywhere to become even more involved in their communities. We’re proud to honor those who have made a difference in the lives of so many others.”
REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by eNeighborhoods Inc., a Dominion Enterprises company, which has supported the program since its inception in 2000. Co-sponsors are Lowe’s and LandAmerica. A contribution was also made by Phil McGinnis, McGinnis Commercial Real Estate, Dover, DE.
“The hard work and dedication of one person can have a tremendous impact on a community, and the Good Neighbor Awards showcase the accomplishments of these special REALTORS®,” said Stu Siegel, vice president of Dominion Enterprises and founder of eNeighborhoods, who personally funds most of the Good Neighbor grants through his family charitable foundation. “It’s very rewarding to be able to personally acknowledge their efforts and thank them for doing truly great things for their neighborhoods.”
Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time, as well as financial and material contributions to their cause. To be eligible, nominees had to be NAR members in good standing. More information about the Good Neighbor Awards winners is available at www.realtor.org/realtormag.
Good Neighbor Award Sponsors
The e-PRO® certification course is an educational program unlike any other professional certification or designation course available; it is comprehensive and interactive. Offered by the National Association of REALTORS®, it is specifically designed to help real estate professionals thrive in the competitive world of online real estate.
eNeighborhoods, “The Neighborhood Info Experts,” has been an NAR REALTOR® Benefits Program partner offering unique marketing solutions to REALTORS® since 2002. As the nation’s premier compiler of home and neighborhood information, this Dominion Enterprises company has been providing real estate professionals with a comprehensive set of marketing tools they use everyday to present buyers and sellers with the most up-to-date information about listings, neighborhoods and schools.
Lowe’s has been working with customers to maintain and improve their homes for more than 60 years. Lowe’s is proud to help support the Good Neighbor Awards and similar community efforts through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity International and as underwriter for Habitat’s Women Build program. In 2006, Lowe’s funded 52 Habitat builds nationwide. Lowe’s remains dedicated to educating future homeowners through Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program, which awarded $5 million in grants to nearly 1,000 public schools nationwide. Lowe’s and the National Association of REALTORS® have partnered to bring REALTORS® exclusive benefits to help build relationships with their customers, build referrals and build their client base. The benefits program is featured on www.LowesRealtorBenefits.com.
LandAmerica Financial Group Inc., based in Richmond, VA, is a leading provider of real estate transaction services with more than 900 offices and a network of 10,000 active agents. LandAmerica serves agent, residential, commercial, and lender customers throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. LandAmerica is recognized as number one in the mortgage services industry on Fortune magazine’s 2007 list of America’s most admired companies.