Realtors Offering Real Help
Real estate agents make giving back a year-round effort
By STACY TREVENON
Half Moon Bay Review
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2003
Two Coastsiders are striving to reverse any negative images of real estate agents simply by doing what they do volunteering their time to help others.
In the case of Farris Hix, owner of Farris Hix Real Estate in Half Moon Bay, that means coaching and refereeing youth soccer at home and abroad.
For his daughter-in-law Kelley Hix, who works in the same firm, it means seeking lost kids and helping recreational bicyclists for the San Mateo County Sheriffs Mounted Search and Rescue Unit and the county Department of Parks and Rec, respectively.
For her, the reason for putting in this time out of the office is clear. Its in my nature to enjoy helping people, the former registered nurse said. And I love horses, and I think the horse is a great public relations advocate, and I feel theyre needed as well.
When she switched from nursing to real estate a few years ago, becoming a top agent at Cornish and Carey for three Estate, she found that peoples' attitudes switched as well. "I noticed that people's response to this profession was mostly negative. It became very clear to me that the few bad apples that the real estate profession has had, have really soured it for the rest of us. So I think it is much more important for Realtors to give back to the community to help turn around that negative impression."
Her father-in-law sums up the same thing. For him, he says, the reason for spending 25 years coaching youth soccer is simple: "Just helping the kids develop and grow and have fun."
This year the San Mateo County Realtors Foundation raised more than $34,000 for charitiesincluding Second Harvest Food Bank, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and Catholic Workers Hospitality Houseaccording to Sue Vaterlaus, president of the county Association of Realtors.
"This fund was established in 1992 because Realtors wanted a way to give back to the communities they serve," Vaterlaus said.
Farris has refereed for the Coastside Youth Association and AYSO soccer, mostly for kids under 12, and has organized tournaments around the Bay Area. He hosted a visiting youth soccer team from Sydney, Australia, in 1986 and took a team there from the Coastside in 1987, beginning an exchange program between the two locales, with a winner's cup swapped every year.
A real estate broker on the coast for 10 years and a Montara resident, he has also contributed to the Farallone View Elementary School education fund for the past decade....
As part of the volunteer horse patrol with Parks and Rec, Kelley Hix rides the trails of Memorial, Huddart, Edgewood and Wunderlich Parks in Woodside and off King's Mountain on her 17 year old registered Morgan horse "Athena's Victory," or just "Tina" when they're on the trail.
She looks for downed trees, landslides or lost kids and hikers.
With the Sheriff's mounted unit, she and Tina keep an eye out for lost children or elderly trail users.
She and Tina also do a lot of public relations for the Sheriff's Department, appearing at local rodeos and on "Bike Fridays" when Canada Road is closed to any traffic except bicyclists.
And she's presenting that different sort of image to real estate agents as well, she said.
"It's my hope that people will see me on patrol and realize that I do care about this community, and am trying to do my part to give something back," she said.