May 20, 2018

Introducing the 2016 Good Neighbor Finalists

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Introducing the 2016 Good Neighbor Finalists

The National Association of REALTORS® today named 10 REALTORS® as finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2016 Good Neighbor Awards.

The awards program, which honors NAR members who’ve made an extraordinary difference in their communities through volunteer work, is in its 17th year. Since 2000, the Good Neighbor Awards has donated more than $1 million to the nonprofit organizations affiliated with the Good Neighbor Society. NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Margate, Fla., praised the finalists “for their profound impact that they are making to help others” through both personal contribution of their time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause.

Learn more about the program

Of these ten finalists, five will be announced as winners on September 28, which means they will receive a $10,000 grant to help continue their good works. The national media exposure can also help bring attention to their causes, including a feature in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The program will also pay for winners’ 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. 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 between Aug. 30 and Sept. 26. But first, learn more about the finalists below:

Tommy Arnold, Jr., Keller Williams Louisville East, Louisville, Ky. 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, an event that has raised $500,000 for the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville. Read full story.

Cindy Barrett, Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, S.C. Cindy and her husband cofounded Christmas in Action in 1996 to help low-income people in their community fix problems in their homes that were causing health and safety issues, such as leaky roofs, electrical hazards, and rotting floors. Since then, she has inspired thousands of volunteers to complete free repairs on more than 800 homes. Read full story.

Pam Harrison, RE/MAX Executive, Millersville, Md. Harrison led the Anne Arundel County Food Bank in a friendly competition involving 120 real estate professionals, sponsored by industry partners such as mortgage companies and home inspectors. In 2015, she collected more than 70,000 pounds of food, which is enough to feed more than 42,000 people for a month. Read full story.

Susan Gruen Helsinger, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Merrick, N.Y. Helsinger founded The Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation 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 research and early diagnosis. Read full story.

Danna Johnson, Crye-Leike, REALTORS®, Jonesboro, Ark. Johnson became a Make-A-Wish Mid-South wish granter 18 years ago and since then, has fulfilled wishes for more than 50 children with life-threatening medical conditions. As co-chair of Jonesboro's Have-A-Heart Wish-A-Thon, Johnson has raised more than $3 million. Read full story.

Ed Liebzeit, Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty, Jackson Hole, Wyo. Liebzeit is board president of Community Safety Network, which provides shelter and advocacy to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Leibzeit, a Vietnam veteran, oversaw a strategic plan encouraging the community to recognize warning signs and end these abuses. Read full story.

Vince Mirabelli, RE/MAX First Choice Realty, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Can. For 13 years, Mirabelli has been a champion for patients and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. Now a board director, he started an event that has raised $500,000 for cardiac care, personally funded a pediatric endowment, and volunteers weekly to hold babies born to mothers with opiate addictions. Read full story.

Rhonda & Jerry Overberg, RE/MAX Best Choice, St. Louis, Mo. Since 2011, the Overbergs have hosted the annual Night of Superstars to recognize children with special needs in 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, they’ve raised $100,000. Read full story.

Wyn Ray, Coldwell Banker Burnet, Chaska, Minn. Ray created a cooperative effort with villagers to improve living conditions and education in a very remote and forgotten area of Ethiopia. Since 2008, he and his wife Sunny have provided clean water to 11,000 people and built latrines to serve 10,000 people. They also furnished a school in the area, providing books, microscopes, and supplies. Read full story.

Sarah Sorenson, Whale’s Tail Realty Inc., Wailuku, Hawaii. Sorenson founded REALTORS® Wishing Well...for Maui Students in 2007 to support chronically underfunded public schools. Schools create wish lists of supplies, furniture, and computer equipment they need, and Sorenson finds the donors to supply them. Wishing Well serves 23,000 students in 35 schools. Read full story.

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