Wednesday
August 16, 2017

Meet the 2016 Good Neighbor Award Winners

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Meet the 2016 Good Neighbor Award Winners

REALTOR® Magazine and the National Association of REALTORS® today announced the honorees for the 2016 Good Neighbor Awards. For the past 17 years, the program has recognized and supported REALTORS® who dedicate countless volunteer hours and funds to help others. NAR President Tom Salomone notes that the five winners serve as an example of how REALTORS® can be successful in business while also working tirelessly to build and strengthen their communities.

"This year's Good Neighbor Award winners have gone beyond the call of duty," says Salomone. "They touch the lives of those they serve in many positive ways while also maintaining successful careers in real estate and supporting their clients on a day-to-day basis.”

Learn more about the work of each Good Neighbor Award winner by reading the profiles of the winners, linked below.

  • Cindy Barrett, Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, S.C., co-founder of Christmas In Action
  • Susan Gruen Helsinger, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Merrick, N.Y., founder of The Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation
  • Ed Liebzeit, Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty, Jackson Hole, Wyo., board president of Community Safety Network
  • Wyn Ray, Coldwell Banker Burnet, Chaska, Minn., for his aid work in Ethiopia
  • Sarah Sorenson, Whale’s Tail Realty Inc., Wailuku, Hawaii, founder of Wishing Well…for Maui Students

REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards program is supported by primary sponsor realtor.com® and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing. Learn more.

Each winner will receive a $10,000 grant for their cause and will be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. More than $1 million in grants have been awarded to Good Neighbor charities since the inaugural award. This year’s winners will also be featured guests at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando in November, where they’ll be recognized by their peers and presented with crystal trophies.

In addition to the winners, five REALTORS® will receive $2,500 grants as honorable mentions in the Good Neighbor Award program. They are:

  • Tommy Arnold, Keller Williams Louisville East, Louisville, Ky., founder of Feast On Equality
  • Pam Harrison, RE/MAX Executive, Millersville, Md., fundraiser for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank
  • Danna Johnson, Crye-Leike, REALTORS®, Jonesboro, Ark., a wish granter for Make-A-Wish Mid-South
  • Vince Mirabelli, RE/MAX First Choice Realty, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Can., fundraiser for Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation
  • Rhonda & Jerry Overberg, RE/MAX Best Choice, St. Louis, Mo., founders of the annual St. Louis Night of Superstars

Danna Johnson brought home an additional $1,000 donation for Make-A-Wish Mid South from realtor.com® for winning the web choice vote. During the month of September, the public cast nearly 42,000 votes for the 10 finalists to determine who would receive the honor. Johnson, who has fulfilled wishes for more than 50 children with life-threatening medical conditions and has raised more than $3 million for the charity, tapped social media, the charity, her small community, and her state and local REALTOR® associations for support in securing the vote tally, which surpassed all totals amassed in previous years.

“The people in the community and my Make-a-Wish family and my REALTOR® family… I couldn’t have done it without all the support. I’ve been so busy; I think I’ve only voted two times!” she says. “I live in one of the greatest areas of the country when it comes to supporting each other.”

Last week at the Arkansas REALTORS® Association’s annual convention, organizers asked Johnson speak at the opening ceremonies. Johnson encouraged members to learn more about the award and begin volunteering in their communities, and association executives encouraged the hundreds of attendees to vote in the web choice awards.

“I wanted to get across how important just for us as REALTORS® this program has been. It’s increased the public’s perspective of us,” she says. “Whether it’s with Make-a-Wish or not, I hope that everyone has something they’re passionate about where they can give back.”

—Meg White, REALTOR® Magazine