You know the old saying, “Lightning never strikes the same spot twice.” I must say, I beg to differ. In our early years, many thought of our support department as consisting of “Kim and Kristi,” where Kim referred to Kim Light. Kim is our Director of Client Care, overseeing a fair sized group of committed professionals, and she was Kristi’s direct manager. As we recently shared, our hearts were broken as our Client Care colleague Kristi Healy fought her cancer, a fight that she ultimately lost last Sunday. But the unimaginable occurred just about four weeks ago as Kristi’s battle entered its final stages.
On Saturday, September 24th, Kim was out hiking in a remote area on a beautiful fall day. She lost her footing and fell down a steep slope, disappearing out of sight. By the time her hiking companion was able to reach her, she was face down, and upon hearing his voice she announced that her back was broken. After delicately helping her regain a more comfortable position, he hiked up the steep grade, back to the car, and started driving to seek help. After 15 miles he was able to get a cell phone signal and call Life Flight who were engaged on another mission, and would not be able to arrive for over two hours. Leveraging personal connections, he was able to get a National Guard crew to arrive at the site. They lowered a triage team on a line from the hovering helicopter, as there was no possibility of landing on the rugged and steep terrain. The team loaded her onto a stretcher, connected it to a line from the helicopter, and hoisted her up. The helicopter immediately headed for the best hospital in the area. Kim had indeed broken her back. After surgery to repair the broken vertebrae the next day, she has been very gradually regaining strength, but it has been a very rough road. She is experiencing substantial paralysis, and after four weeks since the accident she is still in the Intensive Care Unit. We expect that some time in the next week or so she will move to a private room. All of us at Real Pro Systems continue to hope and pray and send our best wishes to Kim for a speedy and full recovery. We are encouraged that she survived a nearly fatal accident and is fully alert and talking. Her injuries are very serious, but no longer life-threatening. While Kristi’s critical illness was a blow to us, Kim’s accident really felt like the proverbial second lightning strike. What are the odds of two people in the same department being in life-threatening situations at the same time? Kim is a one-person fighting force if there ever was one, and her absence has left a huge hole. The RPS team has stepped in to do a herculean job making sure nothing falls in the cracks and in that everything keeps moving just as if she and Kristi were with us. But Client Care without Kim or Kristi seems like a non-sequitor at Real Pro Systems. From her ICU bed, when Kim was only able to whisper her thoughts, she asked the nurse in the ICU to give her ten goals to achieve and write them on a whiteboard within her view. All of us thought upon hearing that, “that’s Kim.” An organizer, a fighter, a doer, determined. To borrow a line from a movie, “Don’t shoot her, you’ll just make her mad.” Given the severity of Kim’s injuries, no one knows what mobility she will be able to recover as the process will take months. But if anyone has the grit and determination to overcome the odds, it’s Kim. And as a 7+ year veteran with Real Pro Systems, she has all of us pulling for her in every way we can; we have no choice but to assume she will fully recover and rejoin us. At the recent Real Estate Masters Guild Mastery Workshop in Reno, NV, Sanjeev Aneja spoke about ways to find peace in the midst of turmoil. His first lesson was to start and end each day with gratitude by expressing thanks for five minutes. We all take so much for granted, including our health, our safety, our food, clothing and shelter. There’s nothing like a couple of lightning bolts to remind us how grateful we should be for all that we enjoy.