Max Vogt and his team at Windermere Centralia were completely surprised to be awarded Realtor Office of the Year 2017 by the Lewis County Chapter of Washington Realtors. As owner, Vogt is quick to give credit for the honor to his staff. He sees the win as a result of his team’s efforts to “exemplify what Realtors are about, be involved in the community, give back and reach out beyond the office into the outer world.”
The Windermere Foundation empowers agents to donate part of their commission checks to a special project. As one of the largest charities in Washington, it has donated over 35 million dollars to address homelessness issues and help disadvantaged children. In addition, all Windermere offices close for a community service day every summer. “On our community service day we collect school supplies, clothing and backpacks for homeless school kids,” Vogt says. Windermere Centralia raised over $4,400 this year which directly benefitted local school children.
Pat Soderquist, homeless coordinator for the Centralia School District, is thankful for the Windermere Centralia partnership and the good it does for students in need. “Their giving goes beyond and their generosity will have an impact for a lifetime by eliminating barriers to education,” Soderquist says. “[Windermere Centralia] has been amazing. Our kids just need help sometimes and validation that they are important.”
Kim Edminster, a Windermere Centralia Realtor, enjoys being involved in community activities. Her favorite project each year is the school supply drive. She especially loves going shopping together as a team and then delivering the backpacks to the schools. “It’s because I know it’s going to a good cause, to kids who really need it,” Edminster says.
As the sponsor of The 4th of July Summerfest Parade, Windermere Centralia works hard to make sure the event is the best it can be. Most people aren’t aware that real estate agents usually only have four days off per year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and the 4th of July. “However, my agents show up on the 4th of July, march in the parade, help organize it, be part of the judging and dedicate their day with their families,” Vogt says. “It’s a commitment from my agents to do this.”
Their efforts are deeply appreciated by the community at large. “The support from Windermere is what makes this massive community and family gathering event happen each year,” says Scott White of the Fox Theatre.
Windermere Centralia supports the local community in a variety of ways. “Max Vogt and Windermere Centralia were early supporters of the Fox Theatre Restoration Project and have continued to support the project in a significant way for nearly 10 years,” says White. “Our Windermere Real Estate Christmas movies have been among our most successful fundraising events at the Fox with agents providing an array of generous gifts for those attending.”
“The Fox Theatre is one of our favorite charities,” says Vogt. “Restoration and real-estate are important to us.”
When sponsoring Christmas movies at the Fox Theatre in years past, Vogt would hand out gifts during intermission. This is Realtor Don Lorette’s favorite Windermere Centralia project. “The Fox restoration is bringing back a piece of history and that is cool,” he says. “Windermere is a great place to work and we have a lot of fun.”
Vogt is personally involved in the local community as Centralia Mayor Pro-tem and Centralia City Council Member. Stan Giske, 2017 President of the Lewis County Chapter of Realtors, says Windermere Centralia deserves the award because, “Max is very involved in local government and the local scenario. He is looking to improve the community and looks beyond the short-term. He cares about the area. That reflects in the contributions Max and his staff have made to the community.”
The Windermere Centralia team are often involved in charitable activities outside of work as well. Realtor Len Noble, who has been with the company since 2003, collects school supplies for students in the Chehalis School District through her church. She also contributes to the school children of Centralia. “It’s a wonderful thing to give money from our commission checks to help homeless kids,” she says. “A lot of kids don’t say what their circumstances are.”
Realtor Kelvin Wallin also contributes to helping children with his church. He especially enjoys doing chili cook-offs with the kids. Wallin’s favorite project while at Windermere is the 4th of July Parade. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says.
Windermere Centralia also sponsors Music in the Park. Vogt and his staff are on hand to clean-up during and after the concert so attendees can relax and enjoy themselves. “To see the community come and bring a basket of dinner and everyone is toe-tapping – it is just delightful to see the joy,” says Realtor Karen Fulcher. Fulcher also works with Adna Grange and helped with the clean-up efforts and distribution of supplies after the devastating floods of 2007. “So much charity came from the flood,” Fulcher says. “See the good. Bad comes in to learn from and that is what you hold on to.”
Mark Althauser, current Chairperson of the Lewis County Chapter of Realtors, notes that not only is Windermere Centralia active in the community, the Historic Windermere Mansion is a city landmark. In 2005, Vogt restored the historic home in Centralia and now shares the space with his staff. “Windermere Centralia does extraordinary work that they needed to be recognized for,” Althauser says. “Their involvement in the community makes them stand out.”
Windermere Centralia Realtors focus on improving young lives and the community as a whole. They beautify our city and ensure there are many fun activities to enjoy. Our area is better because of their efforts. They have truly earned the honor of being named Realtor Office of the Year.