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Real People: Dinner at Ronald McDonald House a true celebration of holiday spirit

January 6, 2017 GMT

Plenty of smiles and a few happy tears were on the menu for the annual holiday dinner at the Ronald McDonald House hosted by John Daugherty, Realtors and spearheaded again this year by agent Agatha Brann.

The team works alongside Santa and Mrs. Claus to bring dinner, toys, gifts and holiday spirit to children with serious medical challenges and their families who are staying at the home. They bring dinner for the patients and families as well as toys and gifts.

First-time volunteer Benjamin Dougharty is already looking forward to next year, pronouncing the evening “one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”

Fellow agent Debbie Hartstern said the experience put the season in perspective.

“What struck me was the incredible grace with which these families deal with what I imagine is one of the most difficult challenges that could face any of us. It’s a privilege to get to be amongst them and they provide a perfect reminder of what we all have to be grateful for and that our problems pale tremendously in comparison,” she said.

Valerie Decker agreed.

“The amount of love and courage I witnessed is incredible and very humbling. Not only are the children strong and brave, but also their families,” she said.

It took five people with carts four trips to the truck to load up all the gifts Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty offices gathered in their second annual Blue Santa bonanza.

Blue Santa officers from the Houston Police Department gather toys to share with children in throughout the city. MTSIR agents answered the need throughout the month of December at all five offices - with even more gifts coming in after the deadline to start their 2017 holiday haul.

“This charity means a lot to us as we have two longtime members of the HPD who have worked with us for for many, many years and who are like family to us all. The police officers do this on their own; it is not funded by the city,” said Terri Lemons, community outreach manager. “We hope that we will be able to help them for many years to come.”

Beth Wolff, chairman of Beth Wolff Realtors Real Living, made time in her busy holiday schedule to attend the Houston Symphony League Holiday Luncheon.

“The Houston Symphony League mission is to support the Houston Symphony,” she said, adding that having a world-class orchestra in Houston is an important part of the cultural landscape and an incalculable benefit to the community.

Family was the reason for the season as two agents from the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene Champions office discovered they independently spent their holiday in London. Susan Cline took her daughter to London (and Paris) as a college graduation gift, while Linda Beck and her husband Brian traversed the pond to meet their infant granddaughter for the first time.

Please send your news of the good things good people in the local real estate community are doing to realnewshouston@gmail.com.

Judi Griggs is a writer who lives in Houston in the winter and Buffalo in the summer - because the reverse would be ridiculous. Contact her at realnewshouston@gmail.com or at judigriggs.com.