150 top RealtySouth agents team up with Red Mountain Grace to provide a home to out-of-town patients

Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace, Stacey Booth, Jeannie McKay

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Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace, Stacey Booth, Jeannie McKay
Stacey Booth (left), who spoke about Red Mountain Grace at the RealtySouth event, with breast cancer patient Jeannie McKay. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

On Tuesday, March 5, top-performing RealtySouth agents got a first glimpse at the furnished downtown loft they adopted for one year through the nonprofit Red Mountain Grace. Find out how it will help patients and families staying in Birmingham for medical care.

Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace
March 5 was a big day for both RealtySouth and Red Mountain Grace. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

Where Grace Began

Childhood friends Jason Carroll and John Burdett founded Red Mountain Grace in Birmingham in 2013. The mission: provide free housing to patients and caretakers traveling long distances to the Magic City for medical care. They began with two furnished apartments. Today, they have more than 20, and over 350 patients have benefited from this grace.

I wouldn’t be giving you the full picture, however, if I didn’t tell you about Brad Booth. He joined the Red Mountain Grace team early as a board member and was instrumental in helping it thrive. He related to the mission on a personal level. Three years earlier, the Helena resident, who was then an attorney at Carr Allison in Vestavia, was diagnosed with a desmoplastic small round cell tumora rare type of sarcoma.

Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace, Brad Booth
The late Brad Booth with wife Stacey and children. Photo via Red Mountain Grace’s website

Brad’s Legacy

“Cancer entered our lives three years into our marriage. Our world stopped, and our only hope became that Brad would live.”

Stacey Booth

On March 5, Booth’s wife Stacey addressed a crowd of top real estate agents gathered for RealtySouth’s 2019 awards celebration at the Haven in downtown Birmingham. She was there to tell her family’s story and to share the meaning of her husband’s legacy at Red Mountain Grace.

After Booth’s 2010 diagnosis, the couple traveled to Houston for treatment at MD Anderson, which was the best hospital to handle that particular form of cancer. For a furnished apartment with a month-to-month lease, they were looking at $9,000 in rent for their first three-month stay.

Keep in mind, Booth was on disability, while Stacey, a nurse at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, had reduced her hours to care for him. The medical bills were rolling in, and they had kids and a mortgage.

Thankfully, they found a ministry in Houston that provided them with a furnished apartment free of charge, as well as care and emotional support during their time away from their children, family and friends.

When Booth went into remission in 2013, he wanted to help bring the same services to Birmingham. That’s when he connected with Red Mountain Grace, then a fledgling nonprofit.

“It gave him a lot of purpose and passion. He was able to connect with patients like him.”

Stacey Booth

Though Booth’s cancer returned and he passed away in November 2017, what he helped build at Red Mountain Grace is a lasting legacy.

22 Going on 30

When RealtySouth celebrates the 150 top-performing agents from the previous calendar year, a tangible reward in the form of a trophy, gift card or other means of appreciation is the typical protocol. This year, however, the 2018 Top Performers decided to use their rewards to give back to the community. As it turns out, when you put 150 RealtySouth yearly performance rewards together, you can do some pretty cool stuff.

Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Richard Grimes, Red Mountain Grace
RealtySouth CEO/President Richard Grimes congratulates Robin Owings, a 2018 Top Producer. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

The amazing cause of Red Mountain Grace hit home with the RealtySouth team, and they decided to make the nonprofit their cause. Though the organization has grown significantly in six years, its goal is to grow to 30 apartments in order to meet the needs of long-stay, out-of-town patients in Birmingham.

“The average stay is 47 days, and we rarely see any of the locations available for more than a day or two. Most of our patients are here for heart or lung transplants and other risky surgeries. Those are a real challenge to families outside a commutable distance from the hospital.”

Lizzi Wilkerson, Executive Director, Red Mountain Grace
Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace
RealtySouth’s agenda for its annual celebration. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

All combined, funds from RealtySouth’s 2018 Top Performers was enough to adopt a Red Mountain Grace apartment for one full year. That increased the number of apartments to 22, one downtown Birmingham loft closer to 30.

The Big Reveal

Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace
Red Mountain Grace Apartment Adopters’ Toolkits. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

On the day of RealtySouth’s annual celebration, which honored more than 320 agents, the 150 Top Producers each received a Red Mountain Grace Apartment Adopter’s Toolkit. Here’s what was inside:

  • a token key commemorating their generous gift
  • a full-page, photo-filled description of their adopted apartment
  • photos of patients and family testimonials
  • tips on more ways to give, such as meal preparation, holiday gifts and a list of recovery items

Then, following Stacey Booth’s speech, the RealtySouth Top Producers got a first look at the Jemison Flats apartment they adopted.

Birmingham, Alabama, Jemison Flats
The renovated Jemison Flats in Birmingham’s historic Theater District is two blocks from Railroad Park—and minutes from lifesaving medical care at UAB. Photo via jemisonflats.com

“It is fully furnished and equipped with a secure parking deck, onsite gym and wifi café. It’s got everything down to the laundry detergent. So we knew at that very moment our contribution sponsored a furnished loft downtown, with a view of the Pizitz Building. It’s also in walking distance of other amenities that will make it comfortable for a family staying long term.”

Helen Drennen, Top Producer, RealtySouth Mountain Brook Village office

Putting a Face to the Cause

Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace, Jeannie McKay
Jeannie McKay. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

Jeannie McKay, a breast cancer patient and a Red Mountain Grace resident, was there for the RealtySouth celebration, too. She currently calls Fort Walton Beach, Florida, home, but she used to work as a nurse at UAB. When learned she would need chemo over a three-month period, she knew she wanted UAB to handle her treatments so she returned to Birmingham.

“I knew I needed a place to really be at home. The social workers at UAB helped me find Red Mountain Grace, so we’ve been here since January. We have a great little flat that’s comfortable and safe, close to the hospital.”

Jeannie McKay
Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Red Mountain Grace, Stacey Booth, Jeannie McKay
Booth and McKay chat after the ceremony. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

When asked what she thought about RealtySouth Top Producers adopting an apartment for one year, McKay replied:

“It’s amazing. It’s a gift from God. When you’re going through this, you don’t want to have to worry about hotels or how am I going to afford this.”

As for the real estate agents, meeting family members and patients connected to Red Mountain Grace at the event was humbling.

“It must be so difficult to find housing at a moment’s notice. We all look forward to helping many more sweet families over the year,” Drennen said.

Red Mountain Grace plans to keep in touch, too. The award-winning nonprofit sends monthly newsletters to apartment adopters and is open to questions and housing requests 365 days a year.

This Is RealtySouth

RealtySouth is in the housing business after all. To be able to provide housing for folks who are in the hospital or who have a family member in the hospital is an honor, said Richard Grimes, RealtySouth CEO and President.

“There were a few dry eyes in the room, but not many. All of our agents treat one another and their clients and communities like family, so this collective donation is another reason why our agents are so passionate and caring in all that they do. This is RealtySouth.”

Richard Grimes, President/CEO, RealtySouth
Birmingham, Alabama, the Haven, RealtySouth, Richard Grimes
Richard Grimes. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

Meet the RealtySouth 2018 Top Producers

Check out the outstanding 150 RealtySouth agents who sponsored the Jemison Flats apartment with Red Mountain Grace in Birmingham. (We’ve organized this list alphabetically first by office location, then by last name.)

Auburn

  • Natalie Bass
  • Bill Dyas
  • Scott Hanson
  • Karol Kirby
  • Kathy Overfelt
  • Justin Rivers
  • Ryan Shoemaker
  • Tonya Tankersley

Auburn – Lake Martin

  • Erin Johnson

Chilton

  • Pete Bernier
  • Amber Darnell
  • Peggy Hall
  • Sandy Pate
  • Cindy Porter

Downtown Birmingham

  • Anna Fowler

Homewood

  • Debbie Catanzano
  • Kristen McGee
  • Lauren Murphree

Huntsville

  • Peter Burge
  • Shauna Wesson

I-459 Southwest

  • Kay Hagood
  • Tina Harris
  • Karrie Henderson
  • Johnny Pate
  • Teresa Tanner

Inverness 

  • Carol Bailey
  • Kelli Bell
  • Sherry Best
  • Cameron Brooks
  • Ron Comer
  • Nick Higdon
  • Julie Kim
  • Cindy Mangos
  • Tammy Mularski
  • Dana Patterson
  • Matt Robinson
  • Eileen Watkins
  • Melissa Wise
  • Laurie Valentine
  • Gwen Vinzant
  • Freda York

Lake Martin 

  • Bobby Tapley
  • Patsy Wagenfuehr

Mountain Brook Crestline 

  • Sally Bergquist
  • Sylvia Crawford
  • Amanda Dabbs
  • Rebekah Eaton
  • James Faulkner
  • Dana Garvin
  • Langston Hereford
  • Rachel Kim
  • Matthew Lepore
  • Ashley Lewis
  • Robin Owings
  • Liz Phillips-Guest
  • Sandy Reeves
  • Fred Smith
  • Katherine Smith
  • Kay Smith
  • Jennifer Carns Tarr
  • Rosemary Weed
  • Emily Wood

Mountain Brook Village

  • Katherine Allison
  • Jacque Bailey
  • Brian Boehm
  • Scott Boudreaux
  • Steve Buchanan
  • Matthew Calhoun
  • Liz Cleckler
  • Betty Coe
  • Kerri Culotta
  • Susie Denson
  • Carey Martin Donaldson
  • Helen Drennen
  • Caroline Ezelle
  • Scott Ford
  • Emily Getty
  • Kathy Harris
  • Martha Hiden
  • Ally Hogan
  • Jimbo Kidd
  • Isabelle Lawson
  • Lee Marks
  • Ellen Sharley Melville
  • Mimi Nolen
  • Dana Norton
  • Catherine Pewitt
  • Scott Perry
  • Stephanie Robinson
  • Robert Russom
  • Tom Sartain
  • Tempie Sharley
  • Bert Siegel
  • Jason Coy Turner
  • Carol Waites

Northern

  • Teresa Ellard
  • Ed Sanders
  • Candace Smith
  • Becky Tucker

Northwest – Jasper 

  • Kelly Bozeman
  • Kathy Cooner
  • Justin Harbin
  • Francine Swarts

Oneonta

  • Sheila Marbut

Over the Mountain Acton Road

  • Gwen Brannum
  • Mallory Chambers
  • Susette Clark-Walker
  • Brad Clement
  • Gary Delamar
  • Frankie Gettings
  • Jana Hanna
  • Lisa Holmes
  • Amy Lawson
  • Merry Leach
  • Trish Leverett
  • Meg McCarthy
  • Pat Morgan
  • Cissy Schmidt
  • Marilyn Seier
  • Lannette Thomas
  • Laurie Trimm
  • Hayden Wald
  • Mike Wald
  • Joyce Watson
  • Jana Woodruff

Over the Mountain Alford Avenue

  • Ty Elliott
  • Joe Falconer
  • John Franklin
  • Kelli Gunnells
  • Susie Helton
  • Anna Lu Hemphill
  • Rebecca Scott
  • Chris Wood

Shelby 

  • Phyllis Alldredge
  • Jennifer Bryant
  • Janice Eddings
  • Debra Horton
  • Debbie Seale
  • Melanie Siow

Shoals

  • Susan Burdine
  • Carl Rhodes
  • Joe Rhodes

Trussville

  • Chris Christian
  • Dawn Jenkins
  • Lee Marlow
  • Teresa Steffens
  • Mary Stephenson

Tuscaloosa

  • Daphne Curtis
  • Shanna Killings
  • Chris Lee

Thinking about putting your house on the market? Then the list above is a great resource. Plus, Top Producer Kristen McGee (yep, she’s on the list under Homewood) has 11 expert tips to get your house ready to sell.

Want to join the passionate team at RealtySouth? Apply here.

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