by Todd Lewys
When a family’s world literally collapsed in on them this past September, REALTOR® Lynda Mackie was there to lend a helping hand.
Mackie said it was an automatic reaction.
“I sold a home in Fort Richmond to a family from Bangladesh in 2011,” she recalled. “We clicked right away, and became friends, so when they had a problem with their home, I was the first person they called.”
Initially, Mackie thought the problem was a relatively minor one.
“All the mom said was that there was a crack in the ceiling, that it fell down, and would I please come over to have a look. When I got to the home and walked inside, I was shocked. The ceiling had, according to the parents’ daughters, collapsed right before their eyes. Fortunately, they got out of the (living) room before everything came down.”
Mackie quickly jumped into action, calling the family’s insurance company on their behalf. The news she received was devastating.
“They said they wouldn’t cover the damage,” she explained. “At that point, they started crying because they simply didn’t have the money to cover the cost of the repairs, which was going to be substantial. I said I’d see what I could do.”
At that point, Mackie quickly reached out to the network of trades people she called on when clients needed help repairing their homes. The first person she called was Bill Dewar of Dewar’s Renovations.
“He immediately said he was in, and that he’d be happy to do what he could to help,” she said. “And even though I was the one who got the ball rolling, Bill was the one who basically co-ordinated everything. He got all the different trades and companies involved to make things happen, and get the repairs done.”
One after another, companies jumped on board to generously offer their time, expertise and labour to the cause: Prairie insulation, Operation Share, Triple D Electric, Tru Colours Painting, BINZ, Dust Bandits Duct Cleaning as well as Grenville Services and Signs Now.
“The way everyone came together was phenomenal,” said Mackie. “Right now, the drywall is up, the sanding is done and the duct cleaners are there to clean up the dust. All that needs to be done is paint. Everyone has been astounded by how everyone came together to help out.
“In all, $10,000 worth of work was done for free, and everyone feels great about it. We even had several REALTORS® donate anonymously to help with the costs,” she added.
Another REALTOR® willing to make a difference in people’s lives is REALTOR® Suzanne Mariani. Having been on the verge of being homeless as a young mother years ago, Mariani knows what it’s like to struggle and be desperate to have a roof over her and her children’s heads.
Consequently, she got involved with Gimme Shelter, an event co-sponsored by WinnipegREALTORS® and the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA). Not only was she co-chair of the event last year, but she will be chair of the event in 2015. She will wear two hats during the event — as chair and as a performer.
Not content to just raise funds through Gimme Shelter, Mariani decided to precede the March 2015 fund raiser with a fund raiser of her own — a social November 5 at the West End Cultural Centre where she and her band brought together REALTORS® and members of the public to raise additional funds for organization that offer shelter to needy individuals.
“The Gimme Shelter fund raiser tries to give to as many organizations as they can, but it’s not always possible to include everyone,” said Mariani. “All I’m trying to do is generate extra funds to top up the money that goes to organizations. My goal is to secure funding for Siloam Mission and Habitat for Humanity. The money generated by my event (which she said was a great success) will go into trust, and then will be distributed accordingly.”
She added there’s a reason why tickets for the event were priced at $25. “We’re charging that amount because $25 actually feeds a family of eight at Siloam,” she said. “Many years ago, I was a single mom with kids who was struggling to make ends meet. I know what it’s like to line up for food, and what it’s like to struggle to find a good home.
“Now that I’m doing well, I’m going to do what I can to help out. Now that I have the means to give back, I’m thrilled to be able to do it.”