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September 7, 2013

jumpin hurdles
As some of you are aware if you’ve followed the previous blogs I’ve published, my efforts to find meaningful employment following my release from prison has been an adventure that at times has been both heartening and discouraging. There have been many who have come alongside to support and encourage me and, as Tom Kemble has, redirect me in ways I’d previously not considered. Such a shift in direction occurred following a conversation with Tom about the possibility of pursuing a career as a real estate broker, something that was totally new to me, but did seem to present a unique opportunity that ‘normal’ occupations did not provide. My success would be dependent upon the diligence of my effort to help others find the house that they could make their home; a little scary for someone who craves the security of a regular paycheck, but the possibilities seemed to call to me. I chose to pursue this career, taking the Pre-Licensing Class at Go School with Chris Barnette as the instructor and, having successfully completed that and passing the state exam, awaited the Real Estate Commission’s decision on whether or not I was to be allowed to be licensed as a broker. On Friday, September 06th, I received notification from the Commission that the decision has been deferred, which means I now have an opportunity to speak with them about my desire to become a real estate agent in North Carolina.

Why do I want to become a real estate broker? There is practically nothing more necessary to a person’s existence than the need for shelter. Yes, air, water and food are more important, but if having a place that protects you from the changing elements is almost as vital. My previous career as a nurse and paramedic were fueled, in part, by my desire to reach out to others and help them, particularly when they were in crisis; real estate offered me a chance to help others find a place of shelter, yes, but far more a place to grow as a family. Basic shelter from the vicissitudes of the elements can be as simple as the proper clothing and a pup tent, but as a place of comfort to raise a family that leaves much to be desired.

Tom Kemble and those within the Go Realty family are my examples; Tom went above and beyond what many would have done for my wife and I when we were trying to find a place to rent once I was released from prison (it seems that the vast majority of landlords have a fixed rule against allowing ex-felons to live in their properties). His dogged persistence in searching out possibilities for us to look at was a big encouragement when it seemed that he was the only one in our corner and that persistence paid off in the place we have been living in since May of 2011. Seeing the community at Go Realty and their business model excited me with the open-ended possibilities, not for wealth, but for making a difference in someone’s life in this most basic of needs.

Another of the realtors with Go Realty, Jim Ellis, recently blogged about how he came to his calling as a real estate agent ( and his thoughts on this shift from law enforcement to real estate echo many of the thoughts I’ve had in recent days. While I thoroughly enjoyed my work as a paramedic and nurse, particularly the times when I knew I’d made the difference in someone’s continued existence through my intervention and skills, it was incredibly disheartening to see many of the same folks over and over whose self-destructive behavior often caused me to revisit them. Jim remarked how he experienced a real sense of accomplishment in assisting families “…achieve financial and personal dreams and goals…” that home ownership can provide.

As a disciple of Christ, my call from God is to show others the Way Home; to live in such a manner that others will ask me for the hope that I have in light of the incredible violence and depravity so evident in the world (both individually and nationally). Chuck Swindoll (Insight for Living) once said that a person can live about four minutes without air, three days without water, forty days without food, but for only one second without hope. In today’s world, we need hope to even open our eyes in the morning when we awaken to a new day (with the same-old, same-old facing us again and again).

The calling as a real estate agent is similar in that we seek to find that one place that ‘clicks’ with our client, the place that now is just a house, but they can envision as their home in which to build memories and a life. With Go Realty I sense a group that is committed not to the sale and resulting commission, but to reaching out to those in an incredibly stressful situation (purchasing a new house) and building relationships with them. To see those whom they’ve helped find that one place that is ideal for them return to the office or meet their friend (not their former realtor!) to just get together as friends do makes me hope that I can be part of the magic that is Go Realty.

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