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Fla. Realtor a 2015 NAR Good Neighbor Award winner

INVERNESS, Fla. – Sept. 30, 2015 – Florida Realtor® Barbara Mills with RE/MAX Realty One in Inverness, Fla., is one of five winners chosen by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) for Realtor Magazine’s 2015 Good Neighbor Award.
NAR says it selected Mills for her work in founding the nonprofit Operation Welcome Home to honor soldiers as they return from Iraq or Afghanistan.
“This year’s Good Neighbor Award winners work tirelessly to increase the quality of life for so many individuals and families, while also enriching communities countrywide,” says NAR President Chris Polychron. “The passion, dedication and commitment shared by this year’s winners serve as an inspiration to us all.”
Polychron says he’s “proud to honor Barbara’s dedication to welcoming soldiers home after their military service.”
Barbara Mills started Operation Welcome Home in 2007 to honor soldiers as they return from serving overseas. A military mother herself, Mills has raised more than $200,000 to hold welcome-home parties for nearly 500 veterans and National Guardsmen.
She holds a community celebration at the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, and after speeches she presents each soldier with her signature red gift basket valued at about $450. Community members – everyone from police officers to politicians – also bestow items, such as checks and gas gift cards, which add about another $500 or so in value.
In addition to honoring returning troops, Mills also honors soldiers from past wars as an Honor Flight coordinator and guardian. Mills escorts Citrus County vets – typically WWII veterans in their late 80s or 90s – to Washington, D.C., to visit the war memorials. She’s committed to serving these vets despite a daunting obstacle of her own: her fear of flying. Mills has been on 20 Honor Flight trips since 2012 but drives 13 hours each way every time.
NAR has more information about Mills and her charitable works, including a video, posted on its website.
Mills and the other four Good Neighbor Award winners will receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and be featured in the November/December issue of Realtor Magazine. The recipients will be presented with crystal trophies on Saturday, Nov. 14, during the 2015 Realtors Conference & Expo in San Diego.
The Good Neighbor Awards have been granted annually since 2000. More than $1 million in grants have been awarded to the winners’ charities since the inaugural award. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time, as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing.
Other Good Neighbor Award winners include:
″ Daniel L. Goodwin, The Inland Real Estate Group Inc., Oak Brook, Ill., for founding New Directions Housing Corp.
″ Nancy E. Hines, F.C. Tucker Co. Inc., Avon, Ind., for cofounding Ovar’coming Together Inc.
″ John Kersten, Century 21 Town & Country, Utica, Mich., for raising $15 million for Easter Seals Michigan
© 2015 Florida Realtors®
Source: Florida Realtors Feed

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