In 1991, my father passed away. Up until then I had worked in the family
grocery business and I thought that was going to be my career.
I modeled my Father at the stores, my Mother
at home, and learned about customer service, relationships and work ethic.
My business degree from Ohio State University
gave me the book knowledge and my time in the stores gave me the real-world
experience. I was o.k. with the stores but they were not my passion. I was
ready for a change but at 30, I did not have a clue as to what to do.
Through an acquaintance, I was introduced to
real estate, I earned my license and now, 30 plus years later, I have a long
real estate career. Real Estate appealed to me because there is no limit to how
far you can go. It accommodates my entrepreneurial instincts and you only earn if you
perform, a trait my Father instilled that in me. Real Estate is flexible and
allows me to work in my other activities.
It also allows me to coach/watch my boy’s sports, go on vacations and
other family activities as well as participate in volunteering.
Real Estate also involves me into a lot of my
Clients life changing moments, good and bad.
Being there at the good moments like weddings, births and even parents
sizing down are the best part of what I do.
As great as real estate is for my family & myself, there was still
A couple of years after my Father passed away and I
started my real estate career I met my wife Linda.
My Cousin, who set us up (and her coworkers) “warned”
me Linda was part of a package, Linda and her Mom.
Oh boy I thought. Well, be careful of stereotypes.
Linda and her Mom had the best Mother/Daughter
relationship I had ever seen. They were
truly best friends mainly because they only had each other.
No siblings, Dad passed away when she was
young, just the two of them. Barbara was
the most caring, kind and gentle person anyone could ever meet.
She lived life the right way and brought up a
daughter on her own. She had every right
to be selfish with her daughter but accepted me into their relationship.
Later that year Barbara thought she was coming down with pneumonia,
so she went to see the
doctor and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
There are times in everyone’s life your where your faith gets tested and this was one of
those times. How could a routine visit
to the Doctor end up with this kind of news.
That Christmas and the next year
was going to be different. By now, most
people know the routine, bad periods of chemo, renewed hope when off chemo, new
clinical trials, then setbacks. That was
pretty much my 1994. We worked in trips
to Florida (Barb & Linda loved Florida) and tried to make the best of what
we could. Although I had not dated Linda
as much as I would have liked, the cancer experience forced us to go through
the “tough times” all too quick for a young relationship. Times like this test
relationships, but the experience crystallized my love for Linda and her Mom.
In November of 1994 I asked Barbara if I could marry Linda and thankfully, they
both said yes, and we planned a wedding for the next Summer.
Barbs prognosis turned worse and the outlook was such
that she would not make it to our planned wedding date.
We made the decision to move the date up to February
to make sure Barbara could see her daughter get married. When you are laser
focused, it is amazing what can be done in a short period of time.
We planned a 200 plus person wedding and
pulled it off in less than 2 months.
Barb was still going through chemo but still made time for a last trip to
Florida, heck even the Greek Church (which was finishing a major expansion)
accommodated our new date. On February 11, 1995, I married Linda and was privileged
to be a part of one of the most beautiful days in all of time.
Barb had renewed life that day and as perfect
as it was for Linda and myself, it was the ultimate for Barbara.
Her life was complete.
Soon after, Barbs health declined and that is where I
got my first taste of Hospice Care. I wasn’t
quite sure what Hospice was. She was
taken to Kobacker House which is a standalone Hospice facility by Riverside
Hospital. Linda’s and my life was a
whirlwind at this time, so many ups and so many downs.
When we arrived at Kobacker, there was a peace
as soon as we came through the front door.
It is one of those things you cannot describe, you just feel.
Everyone we encountered showed genuine
compassion and empathy like I had never experienced.
I knew we were in a special place.
My experience there made a major impact on my
life, I left a different person than when I came in.
I knew then I wanted to be a part of this experience in some way.
One of Barbs wishes was she wanted to be in our new
house when she passed, and she was released from Kobacker House to do just
that. We set up a bed on our first floor
of our home and about a month after seeing her daughter come down the aisle,
Barb passed away in our home. Kobacker House and Hospice care made it a
beautiful peaceful experience.
Soon after, Linda and I investigated volunteering
opportunities. There was no doubt as to
where I was looking. How I could help at Kobacker? Hospice, for lack of better
words, has a “cooling off” period after a death (you can’t make a rash decision
until some time has passed) but I waited it out and still had the drive to
help. I went through training and became
a Kobacker House volunteer. Since 1996,
I have been volunteering the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of
every month and been a part of some amazing experiences.
Witnessing what I see at Kobacker House from
the family interactions, to the patient’s perspectives, to the wonderful staff,
has made me a fortunate, grateful bystander.
I get as much out of the experience as anyone.
I’m thankful real estate has given me the
ability to carve out that time to volunteer but practicing for 30 plus years
and volunteering for over 20 has made me want to do something more tangible.
The current Kobacker House (The second one since I started) will be undergoing
an expansion. Kobacker House is a nonprofit facility that was created
100% from the generosity of the community. They must have pledges of 75%
of the project before they will start the project. They would like to add
8 more patient rooms and a few more family rooms. This is estimated to be
a 4.8 million dollar project. As I mentioned, I want to do something more
tangible. I want to pledge enough funds to fund one of the family rooms.
I cannot do this alone so along with my personal donations, I will help raise
funds for the balance. This is a $50,000
commitment. My vision is I will use my real estate practice to help fund and
raise funds to make The Paul George (1/2 The Beatles) Family Room at Kobacker
Update. The Kobacker House expansion is complete.
Room number 18 bears my name because of the funds
I was able to provide because of my most
generous Clients having faith in what I do.
Ongoing programs are still in need of funding which I will continue to
Update. I will be supporting Kobacker House Programs through a Paul George Family Endowment Fund
that will come from fees generated through my real estate practice.
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