ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 27, 2012— Florida Realtors® has named two outstanding Realtors as co-recipients of its 2012 Humanitarian of the Year award: John Castelli, a member of the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale (RAGFL), and Phillip Wilson, a member of the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of Realtors. Wilson is broker-owner of Wilson Realty in Port Charlotte, Fla., while Castelli is broker-owner of Castelli Real Estate Services in Wilton Manors, Fla.
The awards were presented during the state association’s recent 96th annual Convention & Trade Expo at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla. The two Humanitarian of the Year award winners prove that Realtors make a difference in communities.
Castelli has devoted numerous volunteer hours to helping both children and the elderly. For the past two years, he has been president of RAGFL’s Charitable Foundation, established in 1987 to help people with specific needs that cannot be met by any other source. He led the foundation’s largest fundraiser in history – attracting the most attendees and raising the most money.
For many years, the foundation has hosted a Christmas party for children of families staying at the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, a 57,000-square-foot 200-bed residential facility. These kids know Castelli as Santa – wearing his own Santa suit and a professional wig and beard to play the part convincingly. Last year, the children were encouraged to write letters to Santa with their wish lists. Even though he had just been in the hospital, Castelli gave the performance of a lifetime: 29 children, from toddlers to teenagers, were given hope and trust along with the toys, shoes and clothing on their lists.
He was instrumental in obtaining a wheelchair for a young athlete involved in a near-fatal car accident. The custom-designed chair enables the young man to act on his dream of playing wheelchair tennis. And, in his spare time, Castelli volunteers at Sunserve, a not-for-profit community foundation that provides the elderly with day care, recreational activities and medical services.
Phil Wilson’s volunteer efforts in his community span more than two decades: He’s served as the community auctioneer for the American Cancer Society for 25 years. Wilson has used his skills as a professional auctioneer to help raise funds for nearly every community group in Charlotte County, including the YMCA, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, 4H Club, Rotary Club, American Heart Association, Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Leukemia Cup Race, Future Farmers of America, Kiwanis Clubs, high schools, churches, medical centers and many others.
He was instrumental in the county historical society’s “Save The Courthouse” project. A talented fiddle and saxophone player, Wilson has played fundraisers for nursing homes, the Salvation Army and the Military Heritage Museum among others. He also helped coach Little League baseball for many years, and sells hot dogs every fall to raise money for the Charlotte Tarpons varsity football team.
No stranger to winning awards for his giving nature and kind heart, Wilson received his local Realtor association President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service, and also won the Rotarian of the Year Eagle and “Service Above Self” awards. The Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce recognized Wilson and his wife Linda with its 2011 “Pacesetter” award for community excellence