By Wendy Cole, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Real estate practitioners are women and men of action, and they showed their stripes within days after the tornado ripped through the heart of Tuscaloosa, Ala., last Wednesday. Representatives of local REALTOR® associations from as far away as Illinois and Florida have already driven relief supplies to the parking lot outside the offices of the Tuscaloosa Association of REALTORS®. “There have been trucks filled with food, water, diapers, and clothing,” says Nicki Simmons, executive vice president of the Tuscaloosa Association of REALTORS®. “We’re providing a staging area for supplies that will be combined with other donations.”
The F4-rated storm left at least 40 people dead with 300 others still unaccounted for in Tuscaloosa (pop. 93,000). Some 5,000 structures, including businesses, apartment buildings and houses were demolished by the tornado. Simmons said that one real estate agent from a neighboring county was killed in the storm.
Cindy Denney, GRI, CRS, president of the Tuscaloosa Association of REALTORS® and an associate broker with RE/MAX Achievers has been moved by the outpouring of help. “REALTORS® are so compassionate and generous,” she says, noting “huge portions of our community are gone.” Denney noted that Patton Real Estate, an independent brokerage that lost its offices, is already on the case to find a new building. “They found all their files intact in the rubble,” she says.
Tuscaloosa REALTORS ® have been busy with the relocation effort, providing local authorities with lists of rental buildings that have vacant apartments so that displaced residents people can leave temporary shelters.
Donations are being accepted through the Alabama Association of REALTORS® Disaster Relief Fund (www.alabamarealtors.com).