PICKENS COUNTY — Just after the tragic events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, a group of real estate agents in Minnesota created a program to give a little back to the everyday heroes who work day in and day out.
Nearly 15 years later, Homes for Heroes is continuing to grow and spread across the country, including their newest location in Pickens County.
“It’s just our way to say ‘thank you,’” said Dustin Kennedy, CEO of Dustin Kennedy & Associates at Keller Williams Reality. “I was a police officer for 10 years in Tampa, Florida. That doesn’t just go away. I still have that passion to help people.”
Now in the real estate game, Kennedy decided that one way he could give back was to join his firm with Homes for Heroes.
“The program is simple, there’s no red tape or anything. You just sign up,” said Kennedy. “Basically, if you’re a cop, a fireman, military, a teacher, an EMT, a doctor, a nurse and you’re looking to either buy or sell a home, you qualify. And what we do is at closing, we give back 25 percent of our gross commission.”
Wait. In a voucher or something?
“No, it’s a check,” he said. “You can use it towards closing costs, or towards something maybe you wanted to renovate. You can use it for whatever you want. It’s our ‘thank you for your service.’”
Kennedy’s first “hero” will be getting a check when her house closes at the end of the month.
“She’s a teacher in Greenville,” said Kennedy. “And when we found out she was a teacher, we told her about the program. She had never heard of it. Then she found out the size of the check she was getting and her eyes just filled up.”
The average check amount is around $1,500, Kennedy said.
“I know, just from my own experience, that your teachers, police and firefighters, they’re not typically paid on the higher end of the spectrum,” said Kennedy. “Getting a check back for 25 percent, that could make or break on whether or not they can buy a house. It’s a program that we’re looking to spread.”
Homes for Heroes at Dustin Kennedy & Associates is located at 601 W. Main St. in Easley and are currently serving Pickens, Greenville, Anderson and Oconee counties.Visit www.homesforheroes.com/affiliate/dustin-kennedy for more information on the program.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.