Nora Partlow Receives Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® Hero Award

NVAR Board of Directors Chair Lorraine Arora presents check from NVAR Cares to Neighborhood Health Executive Director Dr. Basim Khan and NVAR Cares Hero Award winner Nora Partlow, a Realtor® with the Alexandria office of Coldwell Banker. (Photo: Wayne Hulehan)

ALEXANDRIA, VA–Nora Partlow was presented with Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® second annual NVAR Cares Hero Award at its 28th annual convention on Tuesday, Oct. 9 during the morning Annual Meeting. The convention and trade show took place at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus. This second annual award was presented at the Convention, while the first winner’s award, in 2017, was presented at the NVAR Installation in December.

The staff at the nonprofit Neighborhood Health of Virginia nominated Nora for her 21 years of time, donations and in-kind support. Her assistance with fundraising events netted more than $550,000 for the nonprofit.

The nomination cited that Partlow inspired more than 250 local leaders to support Neighborhood Health’s mission. It advances health equality in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax by delivering high quality medical care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. 

St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub was started by Nora Parlow and Scott Mitchell in 1996, and today is owned and operated by the Larry and Christine Ponzi. Courtesy photo.

In 1996, Arlington resident Partlow, opened a coffee shop in Del Ray (St. Elmo’s Pub), to help what she called a “honkey tonk neighborhood” in Alexandria. 

Partlow came to the United States from Cuba as a seven-year-old child, and her family experienced firsthand the socio-economic challenges facing many people at that time. Always an independent business woman, she embodied her father’s influence to be socially proactive and give back to her community.

After I opened the [coffee shop], I learned about Neighborhood Health, which started in a two-bedroom apartment: one room was for waiting, the other, the examination room,” Partlow recalled. “They used my [coffee shop] seating area as their office space. Then I started helping with their Cinco De Mayo gala, and they pulled me in as a fundraiser. They had no resources.”

Her coffee shop kicked off a transformation of the Del Ray neighborhood. “Little by little, there was sort of a domino effect, she explained. Del Ray is now known as bike-friendly, metro-friendly, music-friendly. “We became the Main Street of Alexandria, only in Del Ray,” she recalled.

Receiving an official commendation from Virginia for community leadership and revitalization efforts, Partlow was lauded by the-Mayor Bill Euille and other officials for her positive impact on Del Ray’s business and philanthropic communities. 

The Del Ray Business Association granted Partlow its first ever ‘Key to the City.’ She also donated time to First Night Alexandria, Turkey Trot, First Thursday, Halloween festivities and Visit Alexandria events.

One of the five NVAR Strategic Plans goals is to be highly involved within its communities. Many of its NVAR members modestly donate their time and funds to help improve the lives of others in need or to help advance a cause or a mission that they care about.

By creating an annual NVAR Hero Award, NVAR celebrates and recognizes those remarkable members who have made a significant difference to others. It is NVAR’s plan that this recognition will raise awareness of each recipient’s important contributions and show that NVAR members care about the welfare of its community.

NVAR will submit Partlow’s nomination into the NAR Good Neighbor Awards National Program.