The Good Neighbor Awards recognize REALTORSŪ who've made an extraordinary commitment to improving the quality of life in their communities through volunteer work. Five winners will receive $10,000 grants for their cause. The 2009 deadline will be May 22.
2008 Good Neighbor Finalists Announced
2005 Honorable Mentions
Five Good Neighbor honorable mentions will receive $1,500 each for their community cause.
Charlotte Esarey Buck & Buck Inc., REALTORSŪ, Jacksonville, Fla.
Esarey took a leave of absence from her real estate career to travel to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, for two months to help the victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami. A former nurse in the U.S. Navy, Esarey worked with nurses and general contractors to set up make-shift medical clinics to treat victims of the disaster and its aftermath. Through her church, the Fort Caroline Christian Church, and the Jacksonville community, Esarey raised $28,000 to purchase medicine and medical equipment, and 12 sets of playground equipment for the children living in camps for displaced people.
Marla S. Johnson, GRI Maryland Real Estate Group Inc., Frederick, Md.
Johnson is president of Spectrum Support Inc., which supports hundreds of people with developmental disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, and cerebral palsy, 60 percent of whom also suffer from psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, or depression. In the 15 years Johnson has served on the board, Spectrum Support has provided day habilitation, housing, employment opportunities, and family support in Maryland and Tennessee. Under Johnson’s direction, the agency has grown in one year from an annual budget of $4 million to nearly $6 million and has begun a residential program that currently houses 26 people.
Pam Kiker, CRS The Kiker Team, Keller Williams Realty, Englewood, Colo.
Kiker is chair of The Adoption Exchange—an organization that recruits families to adopt children who are school-age, have disabilities or have survived abuse and neglect—where she has volunteered for 15 years. The Adoption Exchange, which has placed 431 children since 2004, spends approximately $2,500 to place each child, compared with $20,000 per year it estimates it costs taxpayers for each child in state care. Kiker was the driving force behind establishing the organization’s post-adoptive services program, which trains caseworkers and supports new parents with education, childcare services, and small grants to cover unexpected expenses—with the goal of reducing the number of failed adoptions.
Robert Thomson Waterfront Properties and Club Communities, Jupiter, Fla.
After years of supporting children’s causes, Thomson founded Charities for Children in 2004 to provide holiday gifts and other support to poor children through churches, schools, and social service agencies. He donated 28,000 toys last year alone and made donations to such causes as Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Thomson recently donated 120 bicycles to a church toy drive, but when 275 children showed up, he quickly purchased 155 more bikes then found volunteers to assemble them in two days and deliver them to the children.
Jeanne Williams-Livesay William E. Wood & Associates, Chesapeake, Va.
Williams-Livesay coordinates 57 churches to provide shelter and meals to the homeless from November to April for Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless Inc. She recruits host churches to house anywhere from 25 to 105 homeless men and women and also provides overnight chaperones and supplies. It can be a complicated task, since churches may be willing to take anywhere from two nights to 10 during the 170 nights of the cold season. Williams-Livesay also finds support churches or local companies to plan, prepare and serve each night’s hot meal. Some guests stay in the shelter only for a short time until they get back on their feet; others are elderly or mentally disabled and will use the services for many years.