The 1920s four-bedroom home looked like a whirlwind had gone through it.
Realtors and friends of Keller Williams of Manatee’s were scraping paint, gutting old paneling, pulling out shrubbery, hauling away debris.
The old house on the corner of Palm View Road and Bayshore Road was a beehive of activity.
Thea Wagner will vouch for it.
She got stung by a wasp.
“I was ripping out a bush and the bush attacked me,” Wagner joked.
Fortunately, casualties were few on RED Day, the company’s third annual day of service to the community.
While Keller Williams of Manatee was refurbishing the home for the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida Inc., Keller Williams Realty Lakewood Ranch joined a Florida Blood Services Blood drive at Lakewood Ranch High School, and Keller Williams on the Water in Palmetto spruced up two Manasota ARC group homes.
The spirit of RED -- “renew, energize, donate” -- Day was captured by Realtors and volunteers alike, who’d been there since 7 a.m.
Take Alex Fuson, laid off from his construction job a month ago.
He and his family worship at nearby Skyway Community Chapel.
“Helping out people in times of economic trouble, instead of taking advantage of them, this is what it’s all about,” the 36-year-old said as the whine of a chainsaw filled the air.
“This is for the children, so they can have a better life,” said Realtor Carrie Morris, busy with a paint scraper.
Nearby, Leland Warren was climbing a ladder to scrape paint, too.
“With everybody pitching in together the place will look good when we get done with it,” the Realtor said.
Geri Pasquarella, director of the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida Inc., a nonprofit provider of child-care services in Manatee County, said the building will be a temporary home.
“We have a staff member who needs stable housing, and she’ll keep an eye on the property, because we’re trying to cut down on vandalism,” she said.
Ultimately, it will be torn down to make room for a 10,000-square-foot building to help the academy serve 250 children.
It presently serves 85.
Maryann Lawler, who organized Thursday’s event, was passionate about the purpose of RED Day.
“This is one of the poorest, most underserved areas of the county,” the Realtor said. “It does not get a lot of attention, there are not a lot of resources, and there aren’t a lot of other child care centers around. They get forgotten about. They need to be served, too.”
Meanwhile Keller Williams on the Water in Palmetto kept busy at two Manasota ARC group homes.
“Everyone did a great job -- cleaning, mulching, planting, painting” said Realtor Greg Owens.
As for Keller Williams Realty Lakewood Ranch’s Florida Blood Services Blood drive at Lakewood Ranch High School, five bloodmobiles were on hand, Realtor Mary Mastro said.
“The response was fabulous,” she said.
While RED Day was a one-day project for Keller Williams of Manatee and Keller Williams on the Water in Palmetto, it continues for Keller Williams Lakewood Ranch:
n Today it’s the fourth annual Payton Wright Foundation Golf Tournament at LWR Golf & Country Club’s King’s Dunes and Cyprus Links courses and post-tournament fundraising party at The Lake Club.
Registration is 10 a.m.
n From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, it’s a car wash at Monty’s Pizza, 8386 Market St., Lakewood Ranch. All proceeds benefit The Payton Wright Foundation.
For details, call Mary Mastro at (941) 586-2402 or visit: www.give-where-you-live.com.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.