A Few Good Neighbors, Posted by Gary

sep-11-Good-NeighborWe REALTORS® work hard to help people realize their dreams of home ownership. However, that’s not all we necessarily do. Many of us go the extra mile by volunteering our time and skills to help improve our own communities or communities across the globe, making an extraordinary impact on people’s lives. I cherish the time I spend helping out in my community of Orange County and I’ve been active with the March of Dimes. I wouldn’t trade it for a second.

Knowing how important it is to be involved in our communities, REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards recognize Realtors® who make a difference and earlier this week they named this year’s 10 finalists. The finalists serve the needs of those who are less fortunate in a variety of ways.

Plus, I’m happy to say that two of the finalists are from my home state of California. The work they are doing in their communities is just tremendous. Marta Karpiel, a REALTOR® from Carmel, Calif. raises money to help remove hundreds of landmines in Cambodia. Wayne J. Shaffer, a REALTOR® from Santa Cruz, cofounded a local soup kitchen, as well as a home that provides shelter and care to women experiencing a crisis pregnancy.

The other eight finalists are also outstanding. Their contributions run the gamut — from raising $1 million to fight multiple sclerosis, creating miles of bike and pedestrian trails, founding a youth outreach program to keep teens safe from drugs and alcohol, and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to help hospitals and wounded veterans. They also touch people’s lives on a global stage by helping build homes and a school in Guatemala, and bringing clean water to families in Kenya. For more details on all the finalists go to REALTOR.org.

In October five winners will be selected and highlighted in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine, and announced at our Annual Conference.  I hope you’ll join me in Anaheim for the big announcement.

Despite a troubling economy and an uncertain housing market, these REALTORS® continue to volunteer their time and put others before themselves. This year’s finalists are incredible examples of how Realtors® value service and a commitment to bettering communities, whether it is in their own backyard or across the world.

I’m continually amazed and proud of our REALTOR® family.

Gary Thomas, 2011 NAR First Vice President

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