UNSUNG HEROES: Make-A-Wish, Helping Wishes Come True


Bringing unwell and terminally children close to fulfilling a desire is the aim of Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley.

photoLast Saturday real estate agencies in four counties helped the cause. Wright Brothers Real Estate in Nyack and Area Pro Realty of Rockland in Stony Point were two of 11 businesses participating in the three-hour garage sale to benefit the nonprofit, which grants the wishes of children dealing with life-threatening medical conditions.

“Wright Brothers collected just under $500 and continued until 2 p.m. because people kept coming by,” HGAR’s Make-A-Wish Committee Chairperson Eydie Lopez said. “We’re hoping to raise that same amount this year.”

Due to the closeness of Saturday’s event, HGAR does not have the total number of offices that participated or total amount of money raised. Lopez said in the past 15 years the Make-A-Wish Committee raised more than $250,000 for the nonprofit.

Overcast morning weather dampened neither spirits nor shoppers, who browsed new and gently-used men’ and women’s clothing, home decor and household items like pots and pans, electronics, children’s toys, appliances and clothing and more.

“We still received a great support from the community, and some people were even stopping by just to give a donation without purchasing anything,” Wright Brothers agent Julia Kushnir said. “All tag sale inventory was donated by our staff and some clients as well.”

Tarrytown-based Make-A-Wish President and CEO Tom Conklin noted the garage sale is one of two annual fundraisers (the second is a cocktail party) held by participating realtors in  the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors ® (HGAR).

The Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors, the Rockland County Board of Realtors and the Orange County Association of Realtor merged in 2011 to become HGAR, which represents more than 9,000 realtors in five counties.

“Wright Bros. Real Estate Inc. is actively involved in the community, often sponsoring various community and charitable events,” Kushnir said. “We believe it’s very important to give back, especially when it comes to supporting children with life-threatening conditions.”

The joint effort was aided by social media, which helped spread the word. “We donated the time, and a few agents worked to collect the money and to set it up,” she said.

“We have an annual fall cocktail party, and last year we tried something new,” HGAR Goshen office Communications Coordinator Michelle Gilliard said. The response was overwhelmingly successful with 20 offices participating in the garage sale that HGAR held it again this year.

Last year its Make-A-Wish committee raised more than $23,000 for the nonprofit. Its October event at the Clubhouse at Patriot Hills in Stony Point raised $12,600. Plans are underway for this year’s fall event.

Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley has granted wishes of more than 2,300 children in the Hudson Valley region. For information call 914-478-9474.

Do you have an Unsung Hero? Send your pick to [email protected].


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