Time is a precious commodity, and those who volunteer their time are giving something that they can’t get back.
That’s why the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) recognized volunteer leaders in the province’s real estate community at an awards luncheon at the 2013 OREA leadership conference. Special volunteers were honoured for their time and effort at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Hotel at the conference in March. Association president Phil Dorner and immediate past president Ron Abraham presented a variety of awards.
“Volunteers truly make a positive difference to our profession and to the membership of the association overall,” Dorner told the audience. “All of this year’s winners and nominees should be congratulated for their extraordinary contribution and strong leadership skills.”
Individual and group awards were presented by OREA and the REALTORS Care Foundation. The ceremony also included long-service recognition for executive officers around the province celebrating milestone years of service for real estate boards.
Doug Pedlar of the London & St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® was the winner of the individual volunteer leader award, which recognizes a volunteer member of a board or association for an outstanding contribution to the organization over the past year.
The London & St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) was the winner of the Quality of Life award, selected by the association’s government relations committee. This award honours outstanding civic participation, charity work and advocacy by a real estate board according to at least one of five principles. They are: building better communities; ensuring economic vitality; providing housing opportunities; preserving our environment; and protecting the rights of property owners. The winning board, LSTAR, helped provide a variety of services and housing opportunities to homeless youth, spearheaded an awareness campaign against wind turbines, and participated in a Realty Watch community policing program.
As well, the REALTORS Care Foundation recognized 15 individuals who demonstrate leadership, volunteerism and support for their communities. These people were named Foundation Fellows in recognition for their efforts and support of the foundation. Since the inception of the fellowship program, 218 individuals have been honoured in this way. Tim Lee, past president of the foundation, announced the names of the new Fellows. They are: Val Brooks, Cambridge Association of REALTORS®; Lola Buttery, who was honoured in memoriam, a member of the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board, who passed away at the age of 105; Catherine Garbe, Barrie & District Association of REALTORS®; Neil Hetherington, former CEO of Habitat for Humanity Toronto, who is now CEO of Habitat’s New York City division; Walter Hayde, Mississauga Real Estate Board; Bradley Johnstone, Niagara Association of REALTORS®; Rennie Lowes, Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of REALTORS®; Christine Marquis, Durham Region Association of REALTORS®; Jeff Matteis, Guelph & District Association of REALTORS®; Brad Minogue, North Bay Real Estate Board; Cameron Nolan, REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington; David Reid, Muskoka-Haliburton-Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®; Richard Silver, Toronto Real Estate Board; Al Sytsma, Kingston & Area Real Estate Association; Barb Whitney, London & St. Thomas Association of REALTORS®.
The foundation also presented Spirit Awards to three individuals and one real estate board. These awards recognize a significant contribution to the success of the foundation and/or the advancement of its goal to assist members in supporting shelter-related charities in their local communities. Joanne Tibbles and Tracy Arnett of the Ottawa Real Estate Board received a Spirit Award for their success in increasing the funds raised at the board’s golf tournament by 156 per cent over the past five years. Lydia Ingles of the Toronto Real Estate Board received a Spirit Award in recognition of her extensive range of volunteer activities, which has fostered a positive image of real estate professionals throughout Ontario. Thirdly, the Windsor-Essex County Association of REALTORS® was recognized for showing tremendous support for the REALTORS Care Foundation through its promotion of awareness of the foundation and ongoing dedicated support.
In addition to recognizing volunteers, OREA also honoured executive officers (EOs) across the province for their milestone years of service. They were: Bill Duce of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS®, for five years of service; Sue Martin of the Renfrew County Real Estate Board, for five years of service; Susan Nish of the Kingston & Area Real Estate Association, for 20 years of service; and Betty Doré of the London & St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® for 35 years of service. At the luncheon, OREA officials also congratulated Lynda Kitchen, who served as EO of the Niagara Association of REALTORS® for 24 years prior to her recent retirement.
“The growth and success of our industry is largely dependent on having strong and capable executive officers,” said past president Ron Abraham. “We want them to know that they are valued and appreciated and that we recognize their unwavering contribution.”