By: Mary Rae Hunter
For most of us, we remember where we were not only on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, but over the following days as we watched video footage or news broadcasts, read blogs and wrote emails, and otherwise tried to wrap our minds around the horrible events. On Sunday's anniversary of the 9/11 Twin World Trade Center Towers collapse, I watched and listened to the stories of surviving family members. On the one hand, I was deeply saddened by the havoc the terrorism caused for surviving family members; on the other, I was simultaneously amazed at how it touched the best impulses in Americans to come to the aid of fellow citizens. One such example came from the then president-elect of the National Association of Realtors ("NAR"), Martin Edwards.
Edwards, then living in Memphis, Tennessee, had a daughter living in New York. A speech he was about to deliver in Alabama was interrupted with the news of the 9/11 attacks. He Immediately called his daughter to make certain of her safety (she was fine). He then got on the phone with the departing NAR president, Richard Mendenhall, and the two of them put together The Realtors Housing Relief Fund with an immediate donation of $1 Million within 24 hours of the 9/11 horror. Within 3 brief months of 9/11, the fund had paid out $8.5 Million in assistance to 1,333 surviving 9/11 families.
Following 9/11, the Realtors Housing Relief Fund became an ongoing project. It changed its name to the Realtors Relief Foundation and has contributed $22 Million in assistance to families suffering losses to natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina, or from wildfires, floods, tsuamis or other events.
9/11 was a significantly large and unforgettable event for everyone. For many, it has been a defining event simply because of its scope. For me, I believe that it is a sense of humanity and community, one which translates at the local level where a multitude of good works occurs everyday. One of the reasons I decided to work at Urban Durham Realty is this sincere appreciation for those with a mission to help others. For instance, a founding principle at Urban Durham Realty is to give a percentage of every real estate transaction to a local, community charity, one that is selected and favored by our clients. Although we are not dealing with national tragedies on the scale of 9/11, we too have made it our mission to assist with troubles or difficulties that exist in and are experienced by our own community members.
On a local basis, 9/11 serves to remind me of the importance of the local problems that our community--our colleagues, neighbors, friends and family--is committed to improving. I am humbled on a daily basis at those who dedicate their time and resources to local projects that go to improve Durham lives and community. I am likewise proud to be associated with an ever expanding list of charities introduced to me by my clients. I welcome you to stop in to see the posting of local charities that Urban Durham Realty has gotten to know and support the next time you visit the Farmer's Market or eat at a favorite restaurant. Perhaps you can offer the name of a local charity whose work and mission you support. There is room for many more special causes.