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'Renew, energize, donate'

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Joi Sherrell waves to a friend at Special Kids' annex building, this year's RED Day project. CAT MURPHY

Most days, Keller Williams agents are in the real estate business. But on May 11, Murfreesboro agents shifted gears to the renovation business.

More than a hundred agents and community partners descended on Special Kids' annex building last week to make over the space for the company's annual service day.

Every year on the second Thursday in May, KW agents around the globe drop everything for RED Day to "renew, energize and donate," focusing on a single project in their communities. This year, local agents adopted the office space of Special Kids Nursing and Therapy Center, which provides services to children with special needs and their families in Middle Tennessee.

"They've redone some electrical things, new refrigerator, new dishwasher," said Special Kids' Director Chris Truelove. "We are very excited."

"There was old carpet, so stained," added Lauren Brown, marketing specialist. Not any more.

Nicer flooring, fresh paint, new gutters and more -- "At Murfreesboro we do projects really big," admits Amanda Mills, who chairs the committee for RED. "It's supposed to be RED Day, but really it's RED week."

Volunteers spent Wednesday priming and preparing, Thursday executing their plans and Friday cleaning up.

"It comes together at the end and it's pretty impressive," said Mills.

It's not just agents who press pause on their work day to come pitch in. KW partners help make it possible, too.

"We all send business to a lot of people," she explained. So when agents ask for help in return, folks like Dereck Maynard, who owns Tennessee Residential Home Roofing and Construction, jump in with both feet.

"He still pays his guys to be here just as if they were working," said Mills.

"They'll get paid like it's their regular job," Maynard confirmed. He says his team relies on their paychecks, so he pays them for the work they do "even though this is a charity thing."

For him, the highlight of the project was meeting special kid Marissa, who is relearning how to walk after beating brain cancer. Thursday she took her first steps without a mobility aid over to the annex building to check out the progress and chat with volunteers. Maynard got a hug, and Marissa got a picture with his giant pickup truck.

"I bet you keep everybody smiling," said Maynard.

"I try," she countered.

"Seeing that little girl walk," said Maynard. "I tell you, thank God for places like these for these kids."


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