Volunteers: Celebrating Some of Our Seldom-Sung Heroes

By Sherri Butterfield

The English word volunteer comes from the Latin verb volo, meaning “to be willing, to wish.” Thus, a volunteer is a person who is willing to undertake a task or to provide a service, usually without any thought of compensation or remuneration. Where resources are inadequate, volunteering is one way to close the gap between what is and what can be, thereby, turning today’s wishes into tomorrow’s reality.

In ways to many to mention and in places too numerous to count, Orange County REALTORS® Affiliate and REALTOR® members quietly go about volunteering their time and donating products and services to make a meaningful difference throughout Orange County—and the world. The purpose of this magazine feature is to celebrate some of these very important but too-seldom-sung heroes.

Alisa Bates
Broker Associate, Plan A Real Estate

Volunteer Service: Because Alisa loves babies, she spent two days a week folding blankets, stocking the nurses’ carts, and snuggling the premature infants in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She also provided comfort and reassurance to parents facing the daunting prospect of caring for a preemie at home. Although family responsibilities have forced Alisa to cut back on her volunteering temporarily, she plans to return as soon as her schedule permits.

Recipient Organization: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo

In Her Own Words: “I think it is important for us to give back, especially to the community in which we live. We are so blessed in so many ways, and to be able to take some of your time and do something for someone else is just the best feeling ever! I hope that I can put a smile on someone’s face and, more important, in their heart.”

Nancy Feathers
Director of Marketing and Business Development, Mission Country Escrow, Mission Viejo

Volunteer Service: For the past six years, Nancy has helped John Hacker, who is the Orange County organizer for the Veterans StandUp. The purpose of the StandUp is to connect veterans with special services to help them find housing, meet medical needs, and get their lives back on track. Nancy spearheads a committee that provides monthly dinners for a veterans home and is helping John plan the next StandUp.

Recipient Organizations: OneOC, a Veterans Home in Fullerton, and the Veterans StandUp

In Her Own Words: “My heart feels the needs of others. I come from a military family. When my brother (a Marine) died as the result of Agent Orange seven years ago, my heart felt the need to help other veterans. Many veterans get lost after being discharged from the service. My dad was in the military for thirty-three years. Upon retirement, he ran a very successful business; but not everyone is that fortunate or that focused.”

Jessica M. Siguenza
Business Development/Strategic Initiatives Executive, Finance of America Mortgage, and Regional Impact Committee Chair West, Finance of America Cares

Volunteer Service: Jessica serves on the Board of Directors as the Regional Impact Chair for Finance of America Cares, where she oversees two thousand employees in the largest region of this nationwide nonprofit. Since helping her company open this nonprofit in February 2018, she has raised more than $170,000.

Recipient Organizations: Orange County Rescue Mission, South County Outreach, OliveCrest, Project Night-Night, Me-One Foundation, Allegiant Giving, and the Young Professionals Network (YPN) during its Month of Giving (August)

In Her Own Words: “I believe in the far-reaching power of empathy. If I don’t step up to help, who will? As soon as I became a mom, my mission to give back became even deeper because I started to care about the world I would leave for my son, and I wanted to do what I could to make it a better place.”

Stuart Thomas
CEO/Broker/Owner, RE/MAX Select One

Volunteer Service: In every year since 2009, Stuart’s RE/MAX office has been a Miracle Office for CHOC Children’s Hospital, which means that its agents have donated a portion of their commissions to the hospital. In addition, Stuart came up with the idea of bringing real estate offices, Affiliate partners, and local businesses together once a year to raise funds for a variety of nonprofit organizations in the community.

Recipient Organizations: CHOC Children’s Hospital, Colette’s Children’s Home, Habitat for Humanity, Project Self Sufficiency, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Huntington Beach Police and Community Foundation

In His Own Words: “In early 2009, I had lunch with the president of RE/MAX worldwide, and we got to talking about the Children’s Miracle Network. In 1992, he had facilitated the relationship between RE/MAX and the Children’s Miracle Network, which gives money to local children’s hospitals. I decided that our focus at RE/MAX Select One would be on doing as much as possible to help kids in the community.”