The 2016 Kennewick Man and Woman of the Year share a passion for bettering the community they live in and both have devoted countless hours to improve it.
Dave Retter, 62, owner of Retter & Company Sotheby’s International Realty, was named Kennewick Man of the Year on Feb. 28. Joyce Kerr, 90, a widow with a heart for helping others, was named Kennewick Woman of the Year.
Retter’s long list of community service work includes leadership roles with the Benton-Franklin Humane Society, Trios Foundation, Kennewick police’s Community Care Program, Please Don’t Quit program at Columbia Basin College, Tri-City Development Council, Visit Tri-Cities and Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities. He’s a Veterans Day event sponsor, performing arts benefactor and recipient of the Boy Scout North Star Award.
And the list goes on.
“He lives the belief that being blessed means you must be a blessing to others. At his core Dave is a grateful, giving, caring person who feels blessed to live in Kennewick. Here he has prospered and been happy. Giving back to the community is an essential part of who he is. Many know of his generous financial support of a score of nonprofits, his efforts to advance the quality of life in Kennewick, and his leadership in service organizations. Fewer know that he also quietly helps families and individuals as he becomes aware of their needs,” according to his nomination letter.
Rather than read about Kerr’s influence in her obituary, “I invite you, as her peers, to honor her now as Kennewick’s exemplary Woman of the Year,” her nomination letter stated.
Kerr, a tireless servant-leader, “has contributed relentlessly to the Kennewick community since 1949; she has a matchless grace, empathy and service-ethic that would never seek accolades or awards. Yet she is the essence of a great Kennewick Woman of the Year,” the letter said.
The letter includes a long list of the many ways she’s shown concern for others in Kennewick over the years.
Among them are working as a trained reading tutor for Team Read in the Kennewick schools — she’s the program’s oldest and longest serving volunteer; serving as an guardian ad litem; sponsoring Laotian and Cambodian refugee families and teaching English to them; serving as a longtime member of Kennewick General Hospital Auxiliary; volunteering at nursing homes to teach crafts, entertain and visit the lonely; and serving as leader in community emergency preparedness during the Cold War.
“Kerr is known for her cheerfulness, sincerity and zest, and is admired, appreciated and adored by a large circle of friends,” the letter said.
She has been an active, contributing member of the community for 68 years and was involved in building Kennewick’s first hospital.
A full list of past honorees is at kmwoy.com.
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