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The Benevolent Ones: Richard Tommer

Chief Operating Hunk, College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving

Charitable involvements: Rebuilding Together Broward, HANDY (Helping Abused, Neglected and Disadvantaged Youth), Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, American Cancer Society, Honor Flight South Florida,
and more

Why it’s personal: “As someone who was more or less raised by a World War II veteran [his grandfather], there is a special place in my heart for those who served. So, I’ve been proud to be involved with Honor Flight South Florida [which flies U.S. veterans to Washington, D.C., at no cost, to visit the memorials dedicated to their era of service]. All of the proceeds from a dinner I helped to organize, for example, went to fund an Honor Flight from South Florida. I’ve spoken to several veterans who’ve participated in the program, and their response about the Honor Flight experience is always the same. They say it was the best day of their life.”

Did you know: “HANDY has had a huge impact on my life. Its mission is to achieve positive, lasting change for youth by providing life skills, education and a supportive community [services are all free to the youth]. HANDY offers case management, youth development, economic self-sufficiency and independent living services in the most dedicated, selfless manner that I’ve ever seen. My interactions with the staff and youth have given me great appreciation for the work that is done in our community to transform lost futures into tomorrow’s leaders. If I were a lost youth, I would want HANDY on my side.”

Sources of pride: “The things we do with Rebuilding Together Broward is special because of [how it directly impacts] someone’s life. [Note: The organization seeks to eliminate unsafe living conditions for low-income homeowners who are veterans, elderly and/or disabled.] There was a soldier we helped who served his tour in the Middle East. When he returned to South Florida, he was run over by a car. He’s now a quadriplegic. So, we went in and retrofit his house to accommodate [his condition].

“There was a woman whose home, where she’d lived for 30 years, was completely destroyed in Hurricane Irma. The roof and trusses collapsed, and for several months she was living with no electric and no running water. Further, as a low-income retiree, she didn’t have insurance on her home. Rebuilding Together put a plan into place to completely rebuild her home at no cost.”

Words to live by: “I’m fortunate to be able to pay it forward and not back. I try to leave the world a better place than when the day started. You just hope you can make a difference.”

 

Photography by James Woodley

Creative direction by Melanie Geronemus Smit

Edited by Kevin Kaminski and Keren Moros

Shot on location at C&I Studios in Fort Lauderdale

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