REALTOR® Wyn Ray, with Coldwell Banker Burnet, in Chaska, is one of five winners chosen by the National Association of REALTORS® for REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award. Ray was selected for his work in Wekin, Ethiopia, to improve living conditions, bring clean water, and improve educational opportunities.
“This year’s Good Neighbor Award winners have gone beyond the call of duty to improve communities around the globe,” says NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Margate, FL. “They touch the lives of those they serve in many positive ways while also maintaining successful careers in real estate and supporting their clients on a day-to-day basis. I am proud to honor Wyn’s dedication to saving lives and educating children in Ethiopia.”
Wyn Ray and his wife, Sunny, serve a very remote and forgotten area of Ethiopia. A former teacher, Ray created a cooperative effort with villagers to improve living conditions and education, an area where half of children die from water-borne illnesses. Since 2008, the Rays, now working in partnership with the New Covenant Foundation, have constructed latrines and brought clean water to 11,000 people.
Erik Laursen, the foundation’s executive director, says Ray’s eagerness to travel to an easily overlooked part of the world reflects the depth of their dedication. “It’s a real difficult place. There are bugs, the toilets are holes in the ground, and the food can be difficult to eat,” he says. But despite the awful conditions, “Wyn is super happy the whole time.”
The Ray’s work “is not about tax deductions or a pat on the back,” adds Laursen, who traveled with them to Wekin in 2014. “They just have a heart for these people who are suffering and want to love neighbors who happen to be far away.”
To read Ray’s full story and watch his video, go to realtor.org/gna. Ray and the other four Good Neighbor Award winners will receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and will be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine.
The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.