NAR Good Neighbor Award Finalists Honored for Good Works in Their Communities

WASHINGTON (September 1, 2016) — (RealEstateRama) — The National Association of Realtors® has named 10 Realtors® as finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2016 Good Neighbor Awards. This award honors Realtors® who have made an extraordinary impact on their communities through volunteer work.

This year marks the 17th year the Good Neighbor Awards program has recognized Realtor® volunteers. The Realtors® being honored have donated their time, money and passion to improve and enrich the lives of the people in their communities. Since 2000, the Good Neighbor Awards has donated more than $1 million to the nonprofit organizations these Realtors® volunteer for.

“The Good Neighbor Award signifies the dedication that each of these Realtors® has for their communities,” said National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Margate, Florida. “I am proud to announce this year’s ten finalists for their profound impact that they are making to help others.”

On September 28, five winners will be named from among the 10 finalists. Winners will receive a $10,000 grant and national media exposure for their community charity, including a feature in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The winners will also receive travel expenses to the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida, where they will accept their awards at a presentation in front of thousands of their peers. The five honorable mentions will receive a $2,500 grant for their nonprofits.

Nominees were judged on the impact they have made through personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause.

The public can also vote for their favorite of the 10 Good Neighbor finalists. The finalist who gets the most votes – the Web Choice Winner – will take home an additional $1,000 donation. Cast your vote at realtor.com/goodneighbor(link is external) between Aug. 30 – Sept. 26.

Tommy Arnold, Jr., Keller Williams Louisville East, Louisville, Kentucky

In 2008, Arnold hosted Thanksgiving dinner for a few dozen lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students who were not welcome to go home to their families. This modest effort inspired him to found Feast on Equality(link is external), an event that has raised $500,000 for the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville to fund themed housing and study-abroad programs, leadership development and emergency funds. Most recently, the LGBT Center and the School of Medicine partnered to pilot program to teach medical students about the specific needs of LGBT patients. (Read full story)

Cindy Barrett, Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Cindy and her husband co-founded Christmas in Action(link is external) in 1996 to help low-income people in their community remedy health and safety issues such as leaky roofs, electrical fire hazards and rotting floors. Since then, she has inspired thousands of volunteers — including college students from around the country who flock to Spartanburg to use their time off from school in a meaningful way — to complete free home repairs on more than 800 homes for low-income seniors, people with disabilities and veterans. (Read full story)

Pam Harrison, RE/MAX Executive, Millersville, Maryland

For 10 years, Harrison has run food drives to make sure people in her county don’t go hungry. Among the many events and fundraisers she has masterminded for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank(link is external) is a friendly competition involving 120 real estate professionals, sponsored by industry partners like mortgage and title companies and home inspectors. In 2015, she raised $64,000 and collected more than 70,000 pounds of food, which is enough to feed more than 42,000 people for an entire month. (Read full story)

Susan Gruen Helsinger, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Merrick, New York

After her teenage son died suddenly at school from an undiagnosed heart abnormality, Helsinger knew she needed to do something to prevent similar tragedies. She founded The Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation(link is external) and for 30 years, she has fought to bring awareness, fund research and equipment, and screen teen athletes so that those with cardiac issues can seek treatment. Helsinger has raised nearly $2 million to fund efforts to understand these ailments and diagnose them early. (Read full story)

Danna Johnson, Crye-Leike, Realtors®, Jonesboro, Arkansas

Johnson became a Make-A-Wish®-Mid South(link is external) wish granter 18 years ago and she was hooked. Since then, she has fulfilled wishes for more than 50 children with life-threatening medical conditions. Wishes can be anything a child might dream up, from a trip to Walt Disney World Resort® to a room makeover to being a chef for a day. And as co-chair of Jonesboro’s Have-A-Heart Wish-A-Thon, Johnson has raised more than $3 million to make sure that more children get their wish. (Read full story)

Ed Liebzeit, Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Liebzeit is board president of Community Safety Network(link is external), which provides shelter and advocacy to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Liebzeit, a Vietnam veteran, oversaw a strategic plan that emphasizes education and early intervention to encourage people in the community to recognize warning signs and refer potential victims. He launched an annual luncheon and he has raised more than $450,000 since 2015. (Read full story)

Vince Mirabelli, RE/MAX First Choice Realty, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Mirabelli was inspired to support his local hospital foundation after the hospital saved his father’s life. For 13 years, he has been a champion for patients and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation(link is external). He became a board director, founding and chairing an event that has raised $500,000 for cardiac care, personally funding a pediatric endowment, and volunteering weekly in the neonatal unit holding babies born to mothers with opiate addictions. (Read full story)

Rhonda & Jerry Overberg, RE/MAX Best Choice, St. Louis, Missouri

The Overbergs were inspired to help the community to honor a friend who had terminal cancer. Since 2011, they have hosted the annual Night of Superstars(link is external) to recognize children with special needs for their contributions to the community. The children get celebrity treatment with limos, gowns, and a red carpet with paparazzi and autograph seekers among the 600 attendees. Along with smaller events, the Overbergs and the Night of Superstars have raised $100,000 to benefit local nonprofits.(Read full story)

Wyn Ray, Coldwell Banker Burnet, Chaska, Minnesota

Ray and his wife, Sunny, serve a very remote and forgotten area of Ethiopia. A former teacher, Ray created a cooperative effort with villagers to improve living conditions and education. Since 2008, the Rays, now working with the New Covenant Foundation(link is external), have provided clean water to 11,000 people and built latrines to serve 10,000 people in an area where half of children die from water-borne illness. They also furnished a school where kids had been sitting on the dirt floor, and provided books, microscopes, and school supplies. (Read full story)

Sarah Sorenson, Whale’s Tail Realty Inc., Wailuku, Hawaii

Sorenson founded Realtors® Wishing Well…for Maui Students(link is external) in 2007 to support the chronically underfunded public schools, which in Hawaii are not supported by property taxes. Schools create wish lists of needed items, like school supplies, furniture and computer equipment. Then she finds donors to supply them. Wishing Well serves 23,000 students in 35 schools in Maui and the neighboring islands of Lana’i and Moloka’i, with total donations valued at $1.5 million.(Read full story)

REALTOR Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is supported by primary sponsor realtor.com and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Realtor.com®(link is external) is the trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers, offering the most comprehensive database of for-sale properties, among competing national sites, and the information, tools and professional expertise to help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. As the official site of the National Association of Realtors® realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today helps make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. For more information, visit Realtor.com®(link is external).

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the nation’s leading originator and servicer of residential mortgages, offering home loans to consumers through the country’s largest network of mortgage locations and bank branches, online, and via phone. With more than 7,500 Home Mortgage Consultants across the country and robust digital capabilities, Wells Fargo is committed to meeting Realtor® expectations and homebuyer needs. Focused on a culture of caring for communities, Wells Fargo is a proud new sponsor of the Good Neighbor Awards to recognize the extraordinary contributions made by Realtors® in the communities where we, together, live and serve.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries

MEDIA CONTACT: SARA GEIMER / 312/329-8296 /
MEDIA CONTACT: COLE HENRY / 202-383-1290 /

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