Helping people find a place to call home is the business of Coldwell Banker Burnet, and giving back to the community is part of its business culture.

CEO of Coldwell Banker Burnet, Joe Reis and wife Kathy

CEO of Coldwell Banker Burnet, Joe Reis and wife Kathy

The company mission statement includes the language: Positive Experiences for our Customers and Communities. With community support in mind, the company created the Coldwell Banker Burnet Foundation to support housing-related needs of people at all stages of life in the communities served. For the past several years, Coldwell Banker Burnet Foundation has been the presenting sponsor of Hammer’s signature fundraising event, Reach for Ralph.

“Because we live and work in the community, we give back and support organizations that help those in need, like Hammer,” said Coldwell Banker Burnet CEO and longtime Hammer volunteer, Joe Reis.

Joe and his wife Kathy began volunteering for Hammer Residences more than 25 years ago through their church, Holy Name of Jesus in Medina. In 2010, Joe joined Hammer’s Board of Directors building on the relationships he developed with the people served by Hammer, who he drove to church so many Sunday mornings. Those precious relationships deepened during worship and fellowship, guiding his and Kathy’s commitment to Hammer.

“We believe in Hammer’s mission to help those we serve live life to the fullest, respecting their abilities,” said Joe and Kathy. “We truly believe we have received more than we have given.”

Joe and Kathy Reis at Hammer Residences

Joe, Kathy, and Don

One special friend was Don Rudd, who came to live at Hammer as a child and was supported for 41 years before he passed away at the age of 55. Joe recalls their special relationship fondly. “Our family learned from Don’s positive attitude, the way he approached people with such exuberance. After mass, Don greeted many with ‘Good to see you, how are you?’ Whatever their response, he always responded, ‘I AGREE’. He was such a joy to be around. At Don’s memorial service, his sister Mindy remembered the gifts he brought to her life. She said that for so many years, she thought she was helping and teaching Don. In the end, she realized it was he who was teaching her and so many others. As I listened to her, I thought, I AGREE!”

Joe Reis at Hammer Residences

Joe, Karen, and staff in NYC

Another special friend is Karen Thorud, a talented singer and performer who has appeared in numerous productions at the Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. She lives in a Hammer apartment in Crystal. Karen always dreamed of traveling to New York City. Joe and Kathy learned about Karen’s dream and made a personal commitment to make her dream come true. “During her trip to NYC, she had a chance to try out at the Apollo Theater, attend Mama Mia on Broadway and do lots of sightseeing. Karen shared the details of her trip with us with such infectious joy. She definitely made us feel like we had made a big difference in her life.”

“We are very proud of Joe for going above and beyond in volunteering in the community,” said Robin Peterson, president of Coldwell Banker Burnet. “He is a fine example of how our leaders and employees value service and are committed to giving back.”

Join us at Reach for Ralph, Hammer’s annual summer benefit on Thursday, July 14th.
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