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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Daily Real Estate News  |  August 22, 2007  |   North Carolina REALTOR® Upholds Boy Scout Oath
As a young man, Randall Barnett took the oath familiar to all Boy Scouts, promising to “help other people at all times.” Today, Barnett, ABR®, continues to live his promise as the Scoutmaster for a troop of 25 boys with special needs, a commitment he has kept for 26 years.

Barnett is a practitioner with The Buyers Agent of Asheville in Asheville, N.C., and he's one of 10 finalists for REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards.

“Even though several are in wheel chairs and they all have medical issues of some kind, I try to give them the same kind of experience any scout would enjoy,” says Barnett, who also helps out with his son’s “regular” scout troop.

“I meet with my son’s Troop 77 on Tuesdays and with Troop 85, the special needs boys, on Thursdays. Sometimes it takes some creative scheduling but that’s what REALTORS® are good at,” says Barnett.

Troop 85, which serves kids with both mental and physical disabilities, is the only troop like it in North Carolina, but in many ways the troop is like any other they learn typical Scout skills such as knot tying, building a campfire, and learning to fold an American flag properly.

“In many ways, special-needs Scouts are just like all Scouts," says Barnett. "They love the outdoors and all the fun that goes with Scouting. Sometimes their greatest need is someone to help them enjoy it.”

A Strong Commitment

“Randall is an amazing guy,” says Tim Buckner, chairman of the special needs troop. Buckner’s son, Frankie, has Down syndrome but is able to enjoy camping, swimming, and canoeing thanks to Barnett’s dedication. “Even though he’s very busy with his real estate job, Randall never misses a meeting or an outing. He really loves these kids.”

Barnett’s experience with special-needs Scouts began in 1981 when a friend asked him to help out with the troop being organized at a local school for youngsters with disabilities. “They needed someone with a scouting background and the willingness to learn about how to handle medical emergencies,” says Barnett. “I met both qualifications and, pretty soon, I was the Scoutmaster.”

Each summer, he takes his troop to camp and supervises other outings as well. “Our most memorable overnight was the time we camped in the outfield at a local baseball park. I forgot to tell the groundskeeper and in the middle of the night, the sprinklers went off. But good Scouts are prepared for anything so we borrowed liners from the trash cans to cover the sprinklers and went back to sleep,” he recalls.

While Barnett finds staying abreast of each boy’s medical needs a challenge, he derives great satisfaction from bringing fun into the lives of youngsters who are so enthusiastic and grateful. “If you’ve been around special needs kids, you know they are also special in another way,” he says. “Regular kids don’t always thank you. These kids hug you, they high five you. They really let you know they appreciate what you do for them,” he says.

Barnett is a finalist for the Good Neighbor Awards, a grant program recognizing REALTORS® who make exceptional volunteer contributions to their communities. Of the 10 Good Neighbor finalists, five winners will receive $10,000 grants for their community projects and will be honored at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Las Vegas on November 14. The remaining five finalists will receive $2,500 grants for their cause.

The Good Neighbor Awards is supported by founding sponsor eNeighborhoods Inc., and cosponsors Lowe’s and LandAmerica.

Contact Barnett at The Buyers Agent of Asheville, 37 Montford Ave., Asheville, NC 28801; 828/210-4663;randall@ashevillehomebuyer.com

By Jim Hatfield for REALTOR® Magazine Online

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