Orlando REALTORS® don’t just help people realize their dreams of homeownership, they also help build communities.
Now, 10 of those community-building REALTORS® have been honored for their efforts by the fourth annual Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association Good Neighbor Awards. Each of the nonprofit organizations helped by our GNA recipients’ volunteer efforts will receive a $1,000 donation from ORRA to support their missions.
“The ORRA Good Neighbor Awards recipients epitomize the REALTOR® dedication to improving the quality of life for all residents of our communities,” says ORRA President Lou Nimkoff, Brio Real Estate Services, LLC. “This year’s award winners – along with every Orlando REALTOR® who embraces the spirit of volunteerism – go above and beyond in their commitment to making our neighborhoods better places to live.”
The ORRA Good Neighbor Awards is a project of the ORRA Community Relations Committee, which is responsible for many of the association’s community service initiatives. It also organizes volunteerism activities for all members’ participation and considers requests for ORRA support by local nonprofit organizations.
2018 ORRA Good Neighbor Award Recipients
Zep Bholai-Lawrence, Fusilier Realty Group
Organization: Pipiol Angels Foundation
Zep’s volunteer work with the Pipiol Angels Foundation helps the organization address needs of the local Trinidadian community. She has spent more than one thousand hours in the past year supporting programs that provide training and supplies leading to sustainable employment and gathering clothing and household items for families in need.
Zep also provides high-level consulting on the foundation’s long-term strategies for empowering Trinidadians, in addition to raising funds and soliciting donated goods. She even helps the Trinbago Association of Central Florida Inc. with its annual Orlando Kiddies Carnival, which seeks to connect Trinidadian children with their cultural heritage.
Bob Caldwell, Caldwell Realty Services
Organization: Debbie Turner Cancer Care & Resource Center, Inc.
Bob is currently serving as volunteer president of the Debbie Turner Cancer Care & Resource Center, and when he’s done overseeing a Board of Directors meeting, he steps outside to work on the building’s maintenance or make repairs with materials that he donates.
Bob has donated thousands of dollars and spent more than a decade as a volunteer of the center, which assists cancer patients with their many day-to-day challenges. The center provides transportation assistance, Internet access, support and counseling, prosthetics, a food bank, and even hair and spa services. There’s even help for teens who want to attend their proms and graduations.
Tawain Davis, Olde Town Brokers
Organization: Habitat For Humanity of Seminole County & Greater Apopka
Tawain puts his professional knowledge to work in his role at Habitat for Humanity! He serves on the Family Selection Committee, which involves reviewing applicants who are interested in the homeownership program. He also conducts home visits of potential applicants and assists with application orientations.
Tawain has assisted in reviewing more than 300 applications and has performed 10 home visits. His efforts over the past year and a half have resulted in 15 new families joining the ranks of homeowners.
Gretchen Demps Simmons, Ferrell Realty, Inc.
Organization: Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, Catholic Diocese of Orlando
As an auxiliary volunteer, Gretchen is a key source of support for both local parishes and the bishop of the Diocese. She is currently a trustee, and in her 21 years with the organization has launched, organized, or participated in fundraisers and recruitment activities such as the Black History Month Prayer Breakfast.
Gretchen also jumps in to help the parish promote social justice and civic improvements, and she makes personal contributions to the parish’s causes and education/scholarship programs. You can usually catch her reading or singing at the 8:30 am Mass on Sundays.
Karlene Grimes, Keller Williams Advantage III
Organization: Clarita’s House Outreach Ministry Inc.
Karlene has gathered and donated more than 200 pairs of pajamas during her tenure as a volunteer Clarita’s House Outreach Ministry, which serves the homeless in Kissimmee. She’s placed a “donate now” tab on her website, reached out to business colleagues and vendors, and of course, spread the word via social media. Even her neighbors have taken up the pajama cause!
Karlene also helps out at Thanksgiving plus gathers toys and toiletries, all the while staying laser focused on her goal of donating 1,000 pairs of pajamas to homeless children in Orange and Osceola counties.
Amy Jo has spent six years volunteering with Autism Speaks, where she is involved with activities that range from community screenings to awareness festivals. Of course, Amy is an integral part of the organization’s annual Walk, which raises money to fund research and provide services to those with autism and their families. She takes on Walk-related tasks such as soliciting character appearances and (this is a biggie) running the registration table for 5,000-plus walkers on the day of the event.
She also initiates fundraising events such as a brokerage raffle and give-back days at local retail boutiques.
Madelyn Kamrada, Real Estate Firm of Orlando
Organization: Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips, Inc.
Madelyn has been a Rotary volunteer for nearly 14 years and has contributed more than 2,000 hours to its many programs. In addition to serving in Rotary leadership positions, Madelyn participates directly projects that in turn benefit organizations such as A Gift For Teaching, Adopt-A-Precinct, and Give Kids The World.
Madelyn has served the lead organizer of many Rotary fundraising events over the years. Some of her events have supported education/scholarship programs while others have generated more than $50,000 for Arnold Palmer Hospital.
Rosie Papagiannakis, Keller Williams Winter Park
Organization: Rotary Club of Florida e-Club
Rosie’s participation in Orlando’s global real estate community and her social media contacts help to spread anti-human trafficking messages across two continents, all on behalf of the Rotary eClub of Florida (members of this chapter meet online and address Rotary six main focus areas). She is also deeply involved in the organization’s Little Free Library project and helps with fund-raising events in addition to sorting and preparing books.
Rosie previously served as elected treasurer of the eClub, and in 2019 will step up from her current role as president-elect into the president’s position.
Melissa Service, Service First Realty LLC
Organization: United Foundation of Central Florida, Inc.
With Melissa’s help, United Foundation of Central Florida, Inc., raised more than $21,000 to help its 2018 graduates attend college. In addition, Evans High School students who participate in this after-school mentorship program also benefit from Melissa’s real estate knowledge; she regularly speaks to the students about the field’s many career opportunities.
Melissa also plays a part in additional foundation activities such as arranging college tours, coordinating car pools and meals, and, of course, performing outreach and fundraising. In addition, Melissa frequently hosts home-buying seminars at the Pine Hills Community Center.
Chris Sileo, SunFlorida Realty
Organization: Wings to New Horizons
Chris isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty doing volunteer work at Wings to New Horizons, which is dedicated to fostering sick, injured, and neglected exotic birds. In addition to executing marketing and public relations efforts that result in donations and volunteer hours, he willingly helps by cleaning the birds’ cages.
Chris serves on the board of directors and has even connected Wings to New Horizons to local elected officials and other community leaders to ensure the organization’s continued well being. He has contributed more than 500 hours to our feathered friends over the past year.