Every May, Keller Williams closes their office doors for the day in honor of RED Day, a day dedicated to community service known as Renew, Energize, and Donate (RED). On Thursday May 9, Keller Williams East County celebrated our local veterans and active military of all branches by raising funds and hosting a BBQ in their honor.
The event planning started back in mid-February and this was the fifth RED Day according to Lori Ogorchock, realtor at Keller Williams.
“Each office gets to do whatever they select they want to do for Red Day. Keller Williams East County selected Veterans and active military. We wanted to provide a BBQ to say thank you to local veterans,” said Ogorchock. “I met with local vets to tell them what we were doing and invited them. We boxed up over 148 boxes today for active.”
The event featured a Flag Ceremony performed by the Honor Guard from Travis Air Force Base. They also took down the flag that was up early in the morning and retired it. The City of Brentwood provided a brand new flag for Veterans Park to coincide with the event.
Meanwhile, one of the bigger surprises was a fly over by the Patriot Jet Team. Through two large donations, it paid for the gas used to fly the jets over the event and was coordinated by Michael Temby.
Keller Williams had to go around to facilites in Brentwood and make them aware of the fly over. In fact, The principal at Brentwood Elementary arranged for a fire drill around 1:25 so that at 1:30 the kids could see the flyover.
For Ogorchock, the day was extra special because her son, Richard Regaldo from Antioch, served the country and was injured in duty last year after an RPG went off. He is now serving in the Active Reserves.
“The infantry went out one evening to escort civilians and on their way, they were ambushed and he was injured. It happened last March,” stated Ogorchock.
Laura Nelson credited the teamwork of her office for the event and coordination of many to make it a success to make the veterans feel welcome.
“There were so many people who had their hands involved that it was a group effort on all levels. We have over 80 people in our office. So many people were involved,” said Laura Nelson. “Anything I can do to help give back, that means everything to me. I’ve had uncles, grandparents who served n our military, anything I can do support that cause is only beneficial and its good to give back,” said Nelson.
According to Ogorchock, the event raised $1,000 for Operation Freedom Paws which helps trains veterans and others with disabilities to train their own service dogs. She credits that organization for helping reduce suicide among veterans. She also states that Wounded Warriors will receive a donation in the near future but did not have that amount available.
The event also featured a raffle and auction where a quilt earned $500. The quilt was red, white, and blue and was started a couple years back and worked on and off—over the last two weeks it was finished. The final filling was done at the park while the neat thing was the veterans in the park signed the quilt.
“It was an amazing day. The veterans told me they felt thanked and welcomed. It was a great feeling,” said Ogorchock. “It seemed like those in attendance were in honored.”
Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho was appreciative of the support as she is the daughter and a granddaughter of men who have served and sacrificed for this country.
“I was deeply honored to have been invited to recognize and celebrate our military personnel. Past, present and future. It was nice to see the outpouring of community support today in honor and recognition of our nation’s greatest heroes,” said Supervisor Piepho.
She added that giving back to the veteran community is very important.
“Our veteran community are generations of men and women who have served our country, and served it well. Our nation’s freedoms serve as an example for other nations to follow. These freedoms were secured with the blood, sweat, injury and often death of men and women who fought to create, and protect them,” said Piepho.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) explained how our military keeps him pushing forward in Sacramento while seeing all the red shirts was a wonderful touch by Keller Williams East County.
“It’s an opportunity again to recognize and thanks the members of the armed services past and present who provide protection and opportunity for us to remain free and have a democratic society. The military is one of the reasons I continue is to identify how we can be helpful to veterans legislatively,” said Frazier. “Although the legislative session went long, I was still glad to participate in a portion of the event. I want to thank the sponsors of the event who took time to thank the veterans and show our respect and thanks.”
Ogorchock was quick to point out, however, the event was not about Keller Williams and that they did not have Keller Williams signs visible. They wanted to see noting but red and support of our veterans and active military so as much money as possible could be raised for veterans purposes.
With the event a success, Ogorchock is now turning her focus into finding funds for Operation Creekside who took the 148 boxes of goods for military personnel and find a way to fund the shipping of the items–each box is $14.85 to ship.
Operation Creekside now has a total of 172 boxes ready to ship, but looking for donations.
Even with the work ahead to ship the packages, Ogorchock was glad to help veterans and active military feel appreciated.
“It was nice to see all these people from different branches come together and be at ease, they said they felt welcomed. It was such a positive vibe when you came there. It was just awesome. It was a neat energy and fantastic,” said Ogoerchock.
The photos below were provided by Stacey Chance of Discovery Bay Studios Photography and more can be seen from the event on their website. Please consider booking them for your next event. The two photos of Assemblyman Jim Frazier were provided by his staff. Supervisor Mary Piepho’s staff was kind enough to also provide photographs.