MIAMI — Always looking for a new challenge, RE/MAX Advance Realty (RMA) broker/owner Anthony Askowitz was asking his family for suggestions one day. On a whim, his brother-in-law’s girlfriend mentioned climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. “Within minutes, I went online and booked the adventure,” Askowitz recalled.
The grueling six-day climb of Mount Kilimanjaro took him across the globe and almost 20,000 feet above sea level. The successful ascent not only marked a personal goal for Askowitz but a charitable one as well. The local real estate leader invited friends and family to support a fundraising effort on behalf of Miami Children’s Health Foundation (which benefits Nicklaus Children’s Hospital) that has raised nearly $2,000 to date.
“I have been blessed with good health and opportunity, making this climb through challenging terrain and wavering temperatures possible,” said Askowitz. “Many children in our community are not so fortunate, and their courage inspired me to not only raise these funds but to keep climbing even when things got difficult on the journey.”
Supporting the community
RMA is a longtime supporter of the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, whose local beneficiary is Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
“Anthony has been a longtime friend and supporter of the CMN Hospitals Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital,” said Maria Moldes, senior director of programs and community relations for Miami Children’s Health Foundation. “Anthony’s passion for helping children in our community goes beyond leading the largest RE/MAX office in our community. Anthony always keeps CMN Hospitals top of mind with his creative fundraising efforts, including his annual online auction, his cufflinks sales, his yearly involvement with our MCHF5K walk, and his latest adventure, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro! Anthony, thank you for making miracles happen for over 20 years!”
Preparing for such a climb was as big a challenge as the climb itself. Askowitz climbed Machu Picchu in Peru and did the Lost City trek in Colombia before tackling Mount Kilimanjaro.
“To say climbed would be a bit of a stretch in each case; these are more like very strenuous hikes!” he said. “To do this, I had to take a hard look at my level of physical fitness. Although I play quite a bit of tennis and am in relatively good shape, I also turned 50 this year and realized I needed to add some muscle and lose a few pounds.”
So, he hit the gym, adjusted his diet, and made sure he got plenty of sleep.
“After a typical day on the journey, which usually consisted of a nine-hour trek carrying a 15-pound backpack, I was very grateful for the additional training I had put my body through,” said Askowitz.
Askowitz is already on to his next challenge: “I want to visit the Amazon and live purely off the land for one week. Then, [I want to] live on a deserted island – Survivor-style (like the TV show). Finally, I would love an extended visit to Costa Rica, or another Spanish-speaking country and immerse myself so I can become fully fluent in Spanish.”
Whatever comes next, he’ll continue to support his community. In addition to his support of the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, he also does his part to help the homeless in the Miami area.
“I know it’s not much, but I carry around peanut bars and crackers to give to the homeless when I see them at intersections,” Askowitz said. “It’s an easy and personal way to help.”
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The Wurzels, Anne-Marie, Robert and Reagan, enjoying family time together.
WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. — Realtor® Anne-Marie Wurzel is a fighter. Like most moms, the sales associate with Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Winter Springs wants to make sure her daughter gets every opportunity to thrive. That’s because 3-year-old Reagan was diagnosed at birth with glutaric acidemia type 1, a rare, inherited metabolic disorder.
Katerina Brosda and several volunteers show some of the PJs donated for the Pajama Program.
MIAMI – In 2008, Katerina Brosda, a broker with Brosda and Bentley Realtors in Miami, was asked by a friend to donate some pajamas and new books to children in need. Not only did she donate, but she also organized drives at her children’s schools.Read More »
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As a Navy wife, Jessica Vaughn understands the struggles that military families go through not knowing where they are going to be one year to the next.Read More »
DELAND, Fla. — Bee Powell likes taking chances. It’s no surprise then, to know that this broker of Bee Realty Corp. in DeLand was once a professional skydiver.Read More »
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Growing up in a rural area, Realtor® Wendell Davis, executive vice president of Watson Property Management in Jacksonville, knew of the sacrifices his parents made for him.
“Just being allowed to play football was a big deal,” says Watson, who notes that long hours at school meant alterations to his parents’ schedule.
However, he, like his parents, realized the importance of being involved. The lessons learned on the football field prepared him for life.
“I learned how to collaborate and get along with others,” he says. “The lessons you learn on a competitive team pay dividends the rest of your life. You learn how to be a leader, a problem solver; you learn to give and take.”
Giving comes naturally to Davis. His involvement in the community is extensive. From board positions with the Clay YMCA, St. Johns River State College Foundation and North Florida March of Dimes to his community leadership involvement with the Clay County Commission, Florida Realtors®, and Seven County Regional Planning Council, Davis believes in serving the community that has treated him so well.
In 2015, he was honored with a Twelve Point Award by the Boy Scouts of America, which recognizes outstanding service to youth and the community, not only for his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America but also for his civic contributions and leadership in the community.
Davis earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida. Following graduation, he served for two years in the U.S. Army as an armored tank officer in Texas and Korea. After his active military service, Davis entered the civilian world. He coached high school and college football for 23 years while continuing to serve in the Army Reserves as a military police officer (MPO).
Davis first earned his real estate license in 1978 after a career of coaching high school and college football. “Like most professionals, real estate was the second career for me,” he says. And it happened quite by accident. As part of the required continuing education, Davis and the high school principal decided to take a real estate course at the local community college.
Davis recalls, “The instructor was a friend, and he pushed me to take the real estate exam at the end. I passed and worked that summer selling real estate.”
However, his passion for football was still calling him to the sport. He took a college coaching position at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. “We had a lot of players who [transferred] from Division 1 schools. So, with that talent, in 1981, we had three NFL draft picks and finished fourth in the country,” he says.
He retired from coaching in 1986 and went into real estate full time. “People spend too much time talking about down markets. I just did it and made a living at it,” he says.
As a Realtor, Davis has worked diligently over the years to help his clients and his colleagues. He has been an active, involved member of his local, state and national Realtor organizations: the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors® (NEFAR), Florida Realtors and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). He served as Florida Realtors president in 2010 and was honored as the state association’s Realtor of the Year in 2011.
Davis is proud of his career, but even more proud of his community efforts.
“The more you give, the more you receive,” he says. “When you help someone, say, visiting a friend in the hospital, you’re taking the time to let them know you care. But, after the visit, you feel better, too. You were helped. It turns out they gave back to you, too. If you give with your heart, you will benefit, too.”
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Oviedo Realtor Allison Day, far left, with Roni O’Quinn, Jason Weller and their children in front of their first home, which had to be rebuilt following a fire that happened shortly after the family moved in.
OVIEDO, Fla. — Allison Day, a Realtor® with RE/MAX Optima in Oviedo, was thrilled when the Roni O’Quinn-Jason Weller family she was working with finally closed on their dream home the day before Thanksgiving 2015.Read More »
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On Nov. 3, Jesse Acevedo, a broker-manager with Ace Realty & Investments in Fort Lauderdale, will join professional colleagues from Florida and across the U.S. in Orlando for the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) 2016 Realtor Conference and Trade Expo, which continues through Nov. 7, 2016.Read More »
MOUNT DORA, Fla. — Music has always been a part of Lisa Jones’ life. The sales associate with ERA Grizzard Real Estate in Mount Dora says she’s been singing since she was a child.Read More »