ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 7, 2016— Florida Realtors® has named Jose Fernandez as its 2016 Humanitarian of the Year, proving that Realtors make a difference in their communities. Fernandez is a member of the Miami Association of Realtors® and a sales associate with Keller Williams Realty in Miami Beach.
The awards were presented during the state association’s recent 100th annual Convention & Trade Expo at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla.
Fernandez has been involved in humanitarian efforts since he was a child living in Puerto Rico. He began sponsoring several children through Children International in 2001, when he was attending Florida International University. Over the years, he has traveled on missionary trips to Uganda, Mexico, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
While helping children across the globe, Fernandez was introduced to an orphanage in Honduras for 33 children who are not only orphans but also living with HIV or AIDs. FundacionAmor y Vida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing love, protection, care, education and development for those children. The cause captured his heart. Fernandez has been actively involved with the orphanage since 2008, has volunteered more than 1,000 hours in the past 16 months and raised close to $200,000 to benefit the children. This past November, he brought all 33 kids to Walt Disney World for a five-day, all-expenses-paid, dream trip of a lifetime.
In his local community, Fernandez is active in his church, working with several of its ministries and support groups. He volunteers at the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Miami and for “Mejorando tu Salud,” a health fair that has benefitted thousands in Homestead, Little Haiti, Immokalee, Pembroke Pines and Miramar, among other areas.
For the past five years, he has organized Red Day, an initiative to give back to the community, at the real estate firm where he works. Through his leadership of that event, he has helped more than 350 children from low-income communities in Miami-Dade County and those living at His House Children Home in Miami Gardens.