As we set aside Veterans Day on November 11 to honor those who served our country, San Diego-based Windermere Homes & Estates (WHE) and its agents show support for the military community year-round by hosting events and raising awareness for veterans, active military members and their families.
WHE works with the Windermere Corp. Foundation to host fundraisers and charitable events for local nonprofits that support low-income military families and homeless families. This year, WHE chose to support STEP (Support the Enlisted Project), a San Diego-based charity dedicated to supporting active duty and veteran families with financial grants and counseling. The WHE team raised over $12,000 and collected 21 crates of essential items for STEP via donation drives at seven of its San Diego offices, and by hosting events. (more detail is available upon request)
WHE co-owner, Brian Gooding, says it’s extremely important for San Diego businesses to support military families. “Since we are such a heavily military ingrained community, we feel it is important to reach out and support local families who serve our country – giving up so much,” says Gooding. “We are honored to work with STEP as its team continues to support active duty and veteran families in San Diego who need it most.”
In addition to supporting STEP, several WHE employees go the extra distance to support military families through fundraising programs of their own. The WHE employees below have military ties and are available for interviews.
Anamaria Contis-Steer, a military wife and WHE real estate broker, is hosting a silent auction for a 3-year-old boy named Karsen Allen, a son of an active military member. Karsen was born prematurely at 32 weeks and spent the first 2 months of his life in NICU. At his one-year checkup appointment, his parents discovered that Karsen had a rare disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis, which is a rare form of Epilepsy, severe Gastroparesis, Asthma, and severe heat intolerance. Shortly after the multiple diagnosis he went in to surgery to have a gastronomy (feeding) tube placed in his stomach. He is now completely reliant on the tube for all nutrition and medications. Despite his sickness and inability to do activities other boys his age are doing, he is a vibrant and happy little man with a huge personality. With his parents being on a limited income, Anamaria and her team are raising money to help this struggling military family.
Alison Peterson, military wife and WHE certified Military Relocation Professional (MRP), has actively supported the military community throughout her husband’s 30-years of service. In San Diego, Alison works with her local church to collect items for military families in need, then distributes them from Camp Pendleton. Year-round, Alison’s MRP certification allows her to help military families that need to sell or purchase homes quickly due to the demands and responsibilities that come along with being relocated to a new military base. Being a military wife and mom herself, Alison knows about the challenges and struggles of constantly having to move often, and she hopes to alleviate those challenges for military families coming to and from San Diego. “I know how stressful it is to sell your home quickly,” said Peterson. “I also know the uncertainty of relocating to a new city, state or country. It’s an overwhelming process and I help them buy or sell their home with confidence.”
Ramona Broekema, a military daughter, sister and wife, has been involved with supporting military families throughout her entire life. As a WHE real estate agent, she has gone through specific trainings to help her military clients with VA loans, offering her expertise based on these trainings as well as her personal experience, being a military family member. She was also an active participant in the military appreciation day for STEP, collecting essential items for military families and helping to organize the event. Additionally, Ramona and her husband donate their time and financial contributions to Wounded Warriors and other San Diego organizations that are working to support local military veterans and active duty members.