Heroes in Troubled Times

When disaster struck this year, REALTORS®’ good deeds made a difference.

December 1, 1997

California Flooding

Rainstorms in January destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in northern California and left an estimated $100 million damage. Hardest hit were Yuba and Sutter counties, north of Sacramento.

“Not only did the flooding destroy our housing, but the impact it had on our future business--well, it left a big scar,” says Dan Logue of Logue Realty, Marysville, Calif. Logue and his colleagues formed the Flood Control Committee of Yuba-Sutter Counties.

“What did we do? We asked people to change their long-distance phone company,” says Logue. The committee hopes to raise $500,000 annually from an 8 percent surcharge on phone bills from people who sign up for services with LCI, a long-distance carrier. The fund-raising plan uses an affinity marketing technique offered by many phone companies.

“Because of the strength of the REALTOR® family and the community,” says Logue, “our town and businesses will be prosperous again.”

My Wet Kentucky Home

“It’s been months, but it seems like yesterday,” comments Bonnie Garner, broker-owner of Century 21--Garner Properties, Falmouth, Ky.

Garner's alluding to what began as a light rain in late February. Within two days, the Licking River had gone from four feet to 54 feet. Garner and her associates worked frantically to help evacuate homes.

The flooding left hundreds homeless in a city of 2,400. Estimated damage: $51 million.

Garner's company became the main contact for the city's housing needs. “There were no commissions involved. We were just doing our job,” says Garner. That job extended to grilling 1,000 hamburgers and hot dogs a day in front of the office to help feed flood victims. “It was the least we could do,” says Garner.

The company even provided some inspiration to the drenched masses. “We salvaged a portable billboard and displayed a different message every day, trying to give the flood victims some hope and faith,” she says.

Garner, whose own office was overrun with mud, says donations from the Kentucky Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® pulled her through the devastation.

North Dakota Nightmare

“I’ll never forget the sound of sirens warning people to evacuate,” says Jerry Tuchscherer executive officer of the Grand Forks (N.D.) Board of REALTORS®.

Last April nearly 40,000 Grand Forks residents had to evacuate their homes when the Red River flooded. “Eighty percent of our city was underwater,” Tuchscherer says.

The residents of Grand Forks seemed cursed--first a record snowfall after a total of eight blizzards; then a flood that shut down water service, electric power, and nearly every aspect of urban life; and finally a fire that consumed businesses in four city blocks. Damage estimate: $775 million.

How does a city recover from such a catastrophe? Tuchscherer gives a lot of credit to REALTORS®: “I can’t begin to thank the boards in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and other areas that helped us so much. If it wasn't for the donations [about $125,000 worth], I'm not sure we would have made it.

'We Survived'
The snow and ice could not bury us
The fire could not burn us
The flood could not wash our dreams away.
We survived!
With your help
We survived!
With our pride
We survived!
No words can describe
The way we feel inside
You are a large part of why
We will survive!
Beside us you came to stand
and lend a helping hand.
Today we come to say
in our hearts you'll always stay!
Thanks to each and everyone
for the wonderful things you have done!

Jeannie Strands, Crary Homes and Real Estate, Grand Forks, N.D., in expression of her deep admiration for and thanks to her fellow REALTORS®

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