During a conference in Nashville last week, Tennessee Realtors honored me with its 2023 Good Neighbor Award for the work my wife, Lindsey, and I have done with Camp Horizon. We started the program in 2005 to serve young people who have special needs.
Lindsey, a physical therapist at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital, noted that her patients needed to experience life without the limitations their physical handicaps imposed upon them. So, for one weekend each year, we invite campers to step outside their limits and challenge their horizons in an outdoor environment with other children with similar issues.
A lot goes into making the camp successful and many people graciously donate their time. For example, each camper pairs up with a doctoral candidate volunteer from the physical and occupational therapy programs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
While I’m thrilled to receive the honor, I feel humbled to be in the company of previous Good Neighbor Award recipients, all of whom have done a great deal of work in their communities.
The 2022 honoree, Cindy Lockhart of Nashville, a volunteer at Proverbs 12:10 Animal Rescue, has spent hundreds of hours caring for, socializing and training rescued animals.
The 2021 honoree, Holly Swogger of Memphis, founded a nonprofit called For Those Who Serve to establish a new health care facility for military veterans and their families in the Memphis area.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the first-ever recipient of the Good Neighbor Award, fellow Chattanoogan and Realtor Janice Robertson, who founded Snack Pack. The program provides food for children over the weekend, when school meals aren’t available.
To show how much Greater Chattanooga Realtors admires the work Janice does for our community, we hold multiple fundraising efforts for Snack Pack and make an annual donation.
It says a lot about our state association that it believes in giving back by presenting this award. Tennessee Realtors provides $5,000 to the recipient’s charity and the winner is entered in the National Association of Realtors’ Good Neighbor Award.
While the work these people have done might be varied, there is one constant between us: we’re all Realtors. Each of us believes in serving and helping others with the resources we’ve been afforded.
The community service Realtors provide doesn’t always make the front page. And yet the Community Aid and Real Estate Report (the CARE Report) from NAR shows that 82% of Realtors donate money to charitable causes every year, compared to the national average of 56.6% of Americans who do so. That translates to a huge impact not just in our area but also across the country.
Being a Realtor involves more than planting a “For Sale” or “Sold” sign in a yard; it entails working to make things better for everyone. I’ve heard many times over the years that Realtors serve as ambassadors to their communities. I wholeheartedly believe that. We serve the needs of homeowners and those wishing to attain homeownership.
All Realtors are good neighbors and we truly love where we live. That’s Who We R.
Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is the voice for real estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,700 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors serves Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. The association is one of approximately 1,100 local associations and boards of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors owns and operates a Multiple Listing Service that is one of approximately 600 MLSs in the country and services more than 3,000 MLS users. Local association membership consists of Realtors servicing the Greater Chattanooga area and specializing in a variety of disciplines, including appraisal, commercial, industrial, land, multifamily, property management and residential. Affiliate members who represent related industries work alongside these Realtors, including mortgage lenders, home inspectors, title and closing services, pest inspection and control services and insurance providers.