To those who know him, this year’s Tri-Citian of the year is an obvious choice.
Real estate broker and philanthropist Dave Retter, of Kennewick, has been a quiet yet mighty force in the community for decades, and it is time his generous spirit was recognized with the highest honor the Tri-Cities bestows.
He made the prestigious list last Thursday evening at the 2019 Tri-Citian of the Year banquet, held at the Three Rivers Convention Center.
The award is jointly presented by Tri-City area Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and is meant to go to the community member who best exemplifies service above self.
Retter certainly fits that description.
He was nominated for the honor by Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg, who won the distinguished award in 2009.
In his nomination letter, Hohenberg wrote that Retter has worked on so many organizations the list “would go on forever” and that he could not think of a “more deserving, tireless, selfless community leader that truly deserves to be recognized.”
Retter started the Windermere Tri-Cities real estate firm with a partner in the early 1990s, and then in 2016 transitioned the business to Retter and Company Sotheby’s International.
Hohenberg wrote that Retter has been a selfless leader who has donated well over $1 million of his personal money back into the community.
And while his philanthropy is astounding, it is his creativity in finding ways to help others that sets him apart.
Retter was the catalyst for the creation of the Kennewick Police Department’s Community Care Fund through the Kennewick Police Foundation. The program provides a way for officers to help people in need without having to dip into their own pockets.
This is huge.
Police are often the first people to come across those suffering from hard times, and providing a way for them to help people in crisis changes lives.
Kennewick police have helped buy meals for people who are hungry and hotel rooms for people with no place to stay. They’ve even replaced a broken down vehicle for a family that needed reliable transportation for a disabled child.
The program has caught on with other police and sheriff’s departments in the Tri-Cities and throughout the state, said Hohenberg. And Retter has made sure the program has continued funding.
In other direct acts of kindess, Retter also spearheaded the replacement of a failed septic tank at a disabled man’s home, and he was instrumental in completing the Cooper Larsen baseball field at the Kennewick American Youth Baseball complex.
Retter also has financially supported the Community Action Committee so their program can provide a day center for homeless families and help them start their lives over.
It is obvious Retter contributes his personal time and energy as well as financial support to improve the community. He has served on the Tri-City Development Council, the Tri-City Visitor and Convention Bureau, Trios Health Foundation, the Benton Franklin Rodeo Committee, the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Benton Franklin Humane Society, and many others.
The Tri-Citian of the Year award was started by the Tri-City Herald in 1962 as a way to honor people who have devoted their time and resources to helping the community, and it continued until 1970. There was an unfortunate gap, but the award was picked up again in 1980 by the community’s two then-existing Rotary Clubs, Pasco-Kennewick and Richland.
It has been going strong ever since., thanks to Rotarians and Kiwanis Club members in the community. This is a tradition that highlights generosity, commitment to helping others and unselfishness, and we are always inspired by those who end up receiving the award.
Retter embodies all these traits, and Tri-Citians are fortunate to have him in our midst.