The mood was as bright as the sunny Orlando, Fla. sky on the last day of Keller Williams Realty’s Family Reunion. And like the 13 years before, it ended with the annual Inspirational Brunch. Led by Mo Anderson, Vice-Chairman of the Board, the brunch was an opportunity for associates to come together as a family, to share stories that embody the culture of a unique company, and honor those KW Family Members who have overcome challenges, fought through difficulties and made a mark in the hearts of so many.
“The spirit in this company is, and will continue to be, unshakeable,” announced Anderson from the stage, “you have held one another in troubled times, and YOU have molded the stories that touch our hearts, year after year. Today we would like to share four uplifting stories with you”
In the Arms of Family
Taking the stage first was Diane Harbison, operating principal in the Palm Beach, Fla. market center, Brian Wilder, associate in the Palm Beach, Fla. market center and his wife Jennifer.
Diane is a grandmother to four baseball-loving grandsons who were on the last leg of a five-week tournament trip. In the early evening, with Jennifer driving and Brian asleep in the passenger seat, their right tire blew, instantly causing the SUV they were driving to roll five times until it landed upside down. Miraculously, Mason, the oldest boy, age 14, managed to get himself out of the car. Braiden, age 11, had been ejected from the car and was badly injured. He had broken arm, his jaw was severely injured, had severe road rash, and was bleeding profusely.
Mason pulled him off to the side of the road to safety. Mason quickly made his way back to the vehicle and Jackson, age 6, was stuck inside. He had a pocket knife on hand and used it to cut his brother out of his seat belt and helped his other brother, Ethan, age 9, out of the car. Once his brothers were safe, Mason went to get his parents out. “I woke up hearing my son repeating over and over, ‘We’ve got to get out of the car, Dad. I smell gas’” Brian said, recounting the story on stage. “By that point, a number of people had stopped to help our family, pulling me and my wife out of the car.” When the paramedics arrived, Brian, Jennifer and Braiden were immediately put into emergency vehicles.
“I felt a lot of comfort in the fact that I knew the kids would be OK – no matter what happened to me or Brian,” said Jennifer. “Mason was a hero. He took care of all of us and made sure we were safe. He was calm and kept his emotions in check.”
As attendees sat in awe of the story, tears filling many of their eyes, Anderson welcomed Mason, Braiden, Ethan and Jackson to the stage. “Mason you really are a hero. You protected your family and took care of them when your parents couldn’t.” Anderson then brought out a briefcase. “Now, I heard that you would be blown away if Kate Beckinsale walked up to you and gave you a thousand dollars in a briefcase. Well, I’m no Kate Beckinsale, but here’s a briefcase $1,000.00 in it!”
A Real Life Dream Team
The next guests showed the world what it truly means to preserver and to be a part of a team, win or lose. Matt Steven has a love for sports, there’s just one catch: he’s blind. But his brother Joe wanted more for him and so he began helping Matt live out his dream.
You can view the entire story on the 60 Minutes Website
Colleen Berger, MC Broker of the Northern Kentucky never thought she’d find her family in a near-death situation. Though, that’s what happened on August, 13, 2011 when the stage collapsed during a Sugarland concert on the Indiana Fairgrounds.
We captured Colleen’s story and her family’s journey from near death to life again, and the incredible support she received from her Keller Williams family.
Unpredictable accidents are often the most devastating. And none was more shocking than the tornado which ravaged Joplin Missouri and threatened to tear apart a community. “We have all experienced the unshakeable spirit of the Keller Williams culture in one way or another,” said Anderson, “but this story takes the strength of our family to another level.”
Taking the stage on behalf of the market center, was Doris Carlin, operating principal of the Joplin Missouri market center.
“We will forever be grateful for the culture of faith at Keller Williams Realty.
In the days that followed the devastation, we came to know that we could live in fear or we could live by faith. Fear only immobilizes us. It keeps us frozen. Faith gives us the courage to be a people of ACTION, to move forward each new day.
Faith allows us to create a future of possibilities. We chose faith. And we experienced the blessings of a living breathing culture, 77,000 HEROs strong. We have never been promised that we will be protected from the storms of life. Yet, when those skies seemed the darkest, the generosity of this organization and the leadership of the Joplin team members remind me on a daily basis how proud I am to be with the best company in the world. Though our community will never be the same, we, as Keller Williams Realty, will be better because we are a people of faith.
I believe this storm was not just a defining moment in the life of our market center; it is and will remain, in my mind, a defining moment in the life of the Keller Williams Culture.”
Following her speech, Carlin was presented with the Bob Carter Inspirational Award. “Doris, everything rises and falls on leadership. You have truly led your market center in a time when they needed you most. We are so proud to have you in our Keller Williams Family!”
Anderson closed Family Reunion with powerful words of encouragement:
"There are days when the sun doesn’t shine as bright as we hope. And there are days that the weight of the world makes it hard to stand up again. But, we are witnesses to the FACT that in every tragedy, there is triumph. In every challenge, there is strength.
In every adversity, there is opportunity.
We are a company where nothing can shake our foundation because we have the fortitude to rise above all adversity."