Realty Executives Associates show patriotic colors for July 4

Realty Executives Associates celebrated Independence Day by honoring our troops. The realty company purchased flags and took the time to put them in over 2,000 yards in Blount County. Two of their own have children who are deployed to the Middle East, and they wanted to make sure they had a show of support to those deployed and to their families.

Local real estate agent Ace Sandlin has a daughter who is currently serving at Bagram Air Base southeast of Charikar in Parwan province of Afghanistan. PFC First Class, Amanda ‘Mandy’ Sandlin is serving in the medic corps as part of a forward operating base. Sandlin is scheduled to be promoted to SPC in July. Her family had some tense moments earlier this month when cable news reported that two soldiers had been killed in an IEG blast at the Bagram Air Base. The family didn’t hear from Private First Class Sandlin for several days as communications was shut down after the attack. They were relieved to hear from Mandy but saddened to learn that she was friends with the soldiers who were lost.

REA executive secretary Sharon Shields has a son serving at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. 1st Lt/George ‘J.R.’ Shields is with the 9th Air force at Shaw AFB in Sumter, South Carolina. J. R. is deployed with the 732d Expeditionary Intelligence Squadron providing combat support of intelligence-related requirements in the Iraqi theater of operations. Joint Base Balad is known in popular media as Camp Anaconda and is one of the largest American military bases in Iraq. 1st Lt Shields left for Iraq on Memorial Day and has already experienced, what he has been told, is the worst sandstorm the base has had in 8 months. Although he was working inside a building he had to wear a face mask (aka neck gator) for the 12 hours of work that day to keep the sand out of his mouth, nose and eyes.

The agents have donated ‘Care’ package items, snacks (but no chocolate since temperatures have reached 115 degrees), small games, books, energy bars, moist towelettes, phones cards, etc. The packages will be mailed out in early July and will take up to 3 weeks to reach their destination. They have tried to pack the boxes full because they wanted to make sure J.R. and Mandy had enough to share.

Pat McGill, principal broker for Realty Executives Associates, said her office wanted to support the dedicated troops who are fighting each day for our liberties. “We are excited to honor PFC First Class Sandlin and 1st Lt Shields but also want to remember all of the sons, daughters, men, women, moms and dads who are serving on foreign soil on July 4th. We are also mindful of the many, many families who watched a firework display or ate a hamburger while they missed their family member. It is not easy on these families.”

Agents who participated received many positive comments. A homeowner in River Run subdivision told Vicki Everbach that she was indeed happy to see the flags when she walked the morning of the 4th since she had counted only 4 flags on display in the subdivision the day before. Jackie Mills received the following email from a property owner: “Thank you for placing the American Flag at our home on July 4. It was such a nice gesture on your part and made out subdivision look patriotic. Thanks again.” She also received the following comment via email: “Thanks so much for the flags you graciously placed in front of our homes on Andover Blvd. It’s good to know we can still unashamedly display our freedom.”

McGill went on the say that showing support of the troops by displaying flags and mailing a care package was a privilege for her office. She hopes the tradition will continue. “Wouldn’t it be great to see a flag in every yard in Blount County in 2010 to honor our troops? Not only those who are serving today but those who have served in the past.”

McGill’s father served in the Korean War and her father-in-law, Blount County born Clarence McGill, served in Vietnam and spent 22 years in the Army. McGill stated she new first hand the sacrifices these families make for the country.

Realty Executives Associates is located at 1213 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville. You can reach them at 865-983-0011 or

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