Real estate agents give back by fixing up house
PRESCOTT - Real estate agents sell homes for a living, but they do not necessarily do "home" work.
Forty or more of them took the day off from sales Thursday to volunteer on a doublewide manufactured home that was badly in need of repairs.
Agents from the Keller Williams Check Realty offices in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Sedona and fixed up the house on Apple Blossom Drive as their annual community service project for RED Day. RED stands for "renew," "energize" and "donate."
They performed a variety of inside and outside tasks to make the home habitable for sisters Corinne, 12, and Jasmine Grawey, 9, to move in with grandparents Jimmy and Tamara, who adopted them. Tasks included painting the exterior and the girls' bedroom, installing a fence and a dishwasher, furnishing the girls' room, sealing the deck and landscaping the small lot.
Tamara, 53, said the adoption agency told her that the garage structure needed to be removed because it was falling down.
She expressed gratitude for work that she said she and her husband could not afford. Keller Williams volunteer Shanen Caswell said the donations of labor and materials are worth $10,000 to $12,000.
"Words cannot describe how wonderful it is and how great it is," Grawey said as she held her 12-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Yorkie. "Everybody is smiling."
The Keller Williams volunteers wore work clothes and RED Day T-shirts.
The area agents have participated in a national Keller Williams project since 2009, but this is the first time they chose to repair a house, Prescott agent Valerie Stringer said. Past annual projects involved cleaning creeks, working on trails and a blood drive.
The idea for the home repair project came from Prescott agent Mike Thompson.
"We kind of came up with the idea of rehabilitating a house because we are Realtors," he said. "But, originally, I wanted to find a house that needed some work."
The Keller Williams crew picked the Graweys because they adopted their granddaughters, Stringer said. They began organizing the project about three months ago, and Cynthia Schleicher, match adviser of Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters in Prescott, connected them with the Graweys. Schleichter said she has worked with Tamara Grawey for at least two years, and found Big Sister matches for the two girls.
"She is bringing these girls into her home," Schleicher said.
The volunteer work Thursday culminated three months of planning, Stringer said. Keller Williams also sponsors at least three families during the Christmas holiday and provides them with presents.
"And we put the word out in our office," she said. "People started showing up. I was blown away by their generosity and their compassion."