By Jennyne Pinter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keller Williams Realty, by count the most prominent real estate franchise in the world, closed its doors across the United States on May 9 for RED Day, where agents and employees are encouraged to “give where they live.”
The acronym RED stands for Renew, Energize and Donate. This was the 11th annual RED Day for the NWLA Keller Williams Realty team, and this year, about 50 of the 180 agents from the Shreveport office decided to spend their time with the veterans at the Northwest Louisiana War Veterans Home on Arthur Ray Teague Parkway.
Van Hutches is an agent for NWLA Keller Williams and had a direct part in organizing the event.
“On RED Day, we set aside real estate work and we put on red t-shirts and we go out and we serve the community in some form or another,” Hutches said. “This year, we’ve chosen to go visit the veterans in the veterans’ home. These are people that have served us so that we have the freedoms that we’re enjoying right now: the freedom of press, the freedom of free speech. They fought for those freedoms and they all have a story.”
Despite storms and heavy rains on March 8, the weather took enough of a break to allow for the agents to walk outside with some of the veterans, and others were able to go fishing on the small pond. They shared lunch, played bingo and visited casually from 9 a.m. until around 3 p.m.
Hutches and his team offered maintenance or grounds repairs for the Vets, but the visitors’ company was the only thing they were in need of.
Jeannette Sibley is also an agent for Keller Williams and has choreographed nine of the 11 RED Day events in the past.
“We’ve done grounds and yard work. We’ve done Community Renewal where we helped with the whole neighborhood and helped them organize one of their Friendship Houses.” Sibley explained, saying that Friendship Houses are buildings designed mainly for after school activities that are supervised and and provide homework and GED assistance among other things.
This year, though, Keller Williams NWLA wanted to give back to our heroes that are so deserving of accolades and attention.
Aside from lending listening ears to stories of days past, including a recounting of the Battle of the Bulge from a 92-year-old vet, a few agents brought something of their own to share, such as Tyra Cobb, who brought along her acoustic guitar to provide some live music.
“It is a day we set aside to recognize them and honor them. They enjoy the company. All too many of them don’t have family that comes and visits,” said Hutches. “They have lunch provided for them, so we’ll be enjoying that with them. We’ll watch a movie or whatever activities they’d like to have done. We’ll be visiting with as many of them as possible.”
Many of the agents not in attendance at the Veterans’ home worked on various other outreach activities, including a drive to collect fans for the elderly in preparation of battling the upcoming heat of the summer. These fans will be donated to the Caddo Council on Aging at a later date. Keller Williams also hosts an annual fall event called “Octoberfest” at their Shreveport offices, where they have family-friendly activities to raise money for fellow agents in medical distress.