Realty firm, more team to brighten couple’s home

Sue Guinn Legg • May 10, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Thursday was a special day at the Sulphur Springs home of Brian and Shana Watson. A red letter day, in fact.

While the young parents and their 2-year-old son, Eli, were away enjoying a complimentary trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, more than three dozen RED Day volunteers from Keller Williams Realty, several of their firm’s key contracting partners and Krista Wharton and Tamara Marshall of Special Spaces Tri-Cities, the new nonprofit group that provides dream bedroom makeovers for children with life-challenging issues, were busy creating not one, but three special rooms to help the family move forward from what has been two very difficult years.

“They did it all,” Wharton said, as the Keller Williams agents who sponsored the project executed a one-day remodeling blitz inside the home and toiled away outdoors on couple of special garden spots that were thrown in for good measure.

Keller Williams’ Johnson City office chose the makeover for their annual RED Day service project for their community, and Wharton said “they wanted to go above and beyond.”

Joe Johnson, Keller Williams’ operating partner in charge of the office, said the Watsons’ trials and those of their handsome toddler, whose was born nearly four months early and diagnosed with multiple developmental delays, inspired a lot of people associated with the office to give. In addition to Keller Williams agents, the agency’s clients and a long list of contracting partners chipped in about $6,000 in cash donations, in-kind gifts, at-cost discounts and donated labor and expertise to make the most of the company’s effort for the Watsons.

Observed by Keller Williams agencies across North America every year on May 10, RED Day is a day set aside for the company’s agents to “renew, energize and donate,” Johnson said. “All this is for little Eli. It’s a give thing. And it’s been a joy.”

Inside the Watsons’ house, Marty Glasgow, owner of Gracious Designs, and her home decorators were overseeing the agents work to create Eli’s new nautical/tropical theme bedroom and his new therapy room just across the hall. Prior to Thursday, both rooms been had been used primarily for storage of his medical and therapeutic equipment while Eli, who depends on an oxygen machine while he sleeps, bunked with his mom and dad.

With the abundance of donations raised by the Keller Williams agents, Eli’s home therapist, Cassidy Willbanks with Tennessee Early Intervention programs for kids with developmental issues, was sent shopping with her wish list of therapeutic toys and kid-friendly equipment, including a video monitor they all hope will allow Eli to at last take up residence in a room of his own.

The makeover going on in Brian and Shana’s room was Keller Williams’ surprise gift for the couple, who were told only that their room would receive new carpet and possibly some paint. They instead arrived home Thursday evening to find their master bedroom featured not only new paint and carpet but new bedding and drapes and one of three new framed family portraits done a at huge discount by photographer Tina Wilson.

In the therapy room, there was a 32-inch television mounted to the wall for the whole family to enjoy while Eli stretched and played on his new equipment. In the back yard, there was a new flower garden with a special swing for toddlers with limited body core strength for Eli and a memorial bench for his twin brother Evan, who died a few days after they were born. Out front, there were new flowers and mulch and a small angel statue by the Watsons’ new railed porch. And there were many other extras throughout the home, all donated by Keller Williams and their contracting partners to bring the Watsons some joy.

“Joy is what we want for all of our families and I think we got that today, not just for the family, but all of us got joy,” Wharton said afterward.

“It was absolutely amazing,” Shana said Thursday evening when the last of the volunteers left. “We were all crying. It was more than we could have ever imagined.”

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