It is with great pride that I am able to share with you the story of Joey DeSane. Joey has been a REALTOR® for the Keller Williams Advantage 2 Office for 18 months and has demonstrated the drive, tenacity, and passion to succeed to the highest level. Joey is 23 years old, and has the presence and confidence about him of a tenured veteran. Joey has been to BOLD twice in the 18 months, both times being the Team Captain and just signed up for his third time to attend in October, 2012. He states the Bold Law of Be, Do, Have; “to have a $100,000 day, like Gene Arant, I will be who Gene Arant is.” The impressive story and life journey of Joey starts far beyond his 18 months as a Realtor.
Joey and I began with this office at the same time, and have watched each other succeed and fail many times. Joey has become a very close friend. I knew his challenges as a teenager growing up, to an extent. I interviewed Joey to create a life story of him to share with you. At the end of our conversation, he stated to me, “If I sat down with you for hours and told you the details of my childhood growing up, we would both be in tears. I grew up to what in my world was very normal. We had no medical care growing up, no car insurance, and no vehicle registration. My brother wore braces for 6 years, because he couldn’t afford to go to the orthodontist to get them off.” I welcome anyone who is reading this letter to reach out to Joey to truly understand the remarkable young man he has become, as this brief summary will not convey the message well enough. I will start from the beginning.
Joey was born in 1989 to a family with a mother, father, 1 year old sister, Jorgette, and a 9 year old brother, Tony. 18 months later, Joey’s little brother Mikey was born. Growing up, his best memories are before the age of 10 years old. His family was complete, and life was “normal.” At the age of 10 is when his view of“normalcy” began to become skewed. When Joey was 10 years old, in 1999, his family’s home was foreclosed on. Over the next five years, his family had become very accustomed to renting a home, and getting evicted. This cycle would occur every 4-6 months. Joey stated, “the hardest part about all of that was my friends asking me, “so where do you live this month?” It came to a point where I would never unpack my clothes, because I knew we would be moving soon.”
By the age of 15, Joey’s parents had gotten divorced. Struggling to make money, the father lived in a motor home in his sister’s driveway, and his mother was supported by her father in his home. The children were given the option of who to live with. Tony was at college by now, his sister Jorgette moved in with her boyfriend’s family, and his brother Mikey stayed with their mother. Joey had a parental instinct, even to his father. Not wanting him to be alone, Joey lived with him in the motor home for a year and a half. Joey’s mother, later diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder felt betrayed by Joey, and ceased all communication with him.
Joey was forced to grow up much sooner than he should have. He withdrew from school and homeschooled himself so he could work to produce income to live. I asked Joey why he didn’t simply drop out, and he stated, “I knew to succeed in life, I would need at the minimum a G.E.D.” Mikey, wanting to follow in his big brothers footsteps asked to be homeschooled as well. The father stated he could, but Joey refused. Joey didn’t want his brother to miss the life experiences of middle school and high school. He wanted for his brother what he could not have. When he could not convince his father, Joey went to the school guidance counselor, shared their situation, and ask them to please not allow anyone to withdraw Mikey from school. Joey worked full time as a spray technician, supporting himself and his little brother. His expenses included cell phone, groceries, Mikey’s school supplies and clothes, lunch money, and on several occasions, paying the utility bill to get the electricity bill turned back on.
A couple years went by, and Joey and his father moved out of the motor home and found an apartment. Still in the same town, Mikey was able to visit often. After a week of spring break with his brother and father, Mikey asked his brother to stay longer. This upset the mother (who had no contact with Joey) and she kicked Mikey out of the home as well. The next time either of them saw her is when they picked her up from the psychiatric ward, She recovered in her home for 2-3 months, and then one day, she left. With the exception of his 20th birthday card, Joey has had no further contact with his mother, and doesn’t know where she lives.
Life went on for Joey…it had to. He continued to home school himself, and work 60-70 hours a week to support he and his brother. His father couldn’t hold a steady job, was sent to jail a few times and they were still bouncing from house to house. Joey, on the other hand, developed a lawn care business bringing in about $800 a month in addition to the full time job spraying lakes. When his dad sold all of the lawn equipment from underneath him to buy an airboat for his business, that $800 income was gone. Joey found a new job with his girlfriend’s father as a pool boy. It became a“normal” day to drive his brother to school, go to work, leave to pick his brother up, finish work, pay for the bills, then to go home, do schoolwork and start over again. Joey realized that as his brother got older, he couldn’t keep driving him everywhere. Joey saved his money bought his brother a truck, which he still drives today.
At the age of 19, Joey, Mikey, and his father had moved, for what they hoped was the last time. They had moved into a home that the uncle left and was in foreclosure. But they were promised by their father that they would take over payments and it would be theirs. Joey stated, “it was nice to finally tell my friends where I live, and not have it change in 3 months.” That too was short lived. When the foreclosure was finalized they were forced out of the home. The father moved to Jacksonville with his girlfriend, but not before gutting the home and selling everything from the air conditioner to the appliances. Left homeless, and had with no desire to continue this same lifestyle in Jacksonville, Joey moved to Orlando, where he rebuilt his relationship with his older brother, Tony. Mikey, who had a semester of high school, stayed and slept on friend’s couches. For the next six months, until Mikey graduated, Joey drove 400 miles every weekend to check on and support his little brother.
In Orlando, Joey had a stable support now with Tony and his wife taking him in. Joey got a job as an inspector with George Philbeck, a mega agent in the KW office. Joey had built his savings account to $5,000 and began his career as a REALTOR® joining his brother Tony’s team as a buyer’s agent. Joey got a phone call one morning early in his career stating that there was a warrant for his arrest for a stolen vehicle. Even 200 miles apart, Joey had to overcome his father’s inadequacies. Joey’s father had stolen his credit card and rented a car to drive to Jacksonville. He never returned the car, and it was reported under Joey’s name. Joey confronted his father on the phone, the father said he was sorry and he would pay him back. The father returned the car, the warrant was dropped, and the amount Joey’s that was charge to Joeys Debit account was $14,266.26. (This is a number that Joey knows off the top of his head, as if he had just read the bill.) Of course, disputing the charge, the bank stated that with a debit card, driver’s license number, and signature, they would not forgive the charge. Joey was forced to create a police report against his father to begin the process of the debt to be forgiven. The father was arrested for fraud and sentenced to 3 days, and one year to pay back Joey in restitution the full amount. Joey, still responsible for the debt lost his $5,000 he had built up, and is still $10,000 in debt.
The sentence took place in April, 2011. There was a 1 year period that has now expired for his father to pay back the money, and Joey has yet to see a dime from his father. Joey, still responsible for this debt, called the prosecutor who stated that there is nothing that can do to enforce payment. That is where I say this portion of the story is to be continued.
Joey has a persona and giving spirit about him that does not portray any of the adversities he has undergone to become the person he is. In November 2011, after a year as a buyer’s agent, he left his brothers team and began to build his own business. 2012 YTD, Joey is 6th in the Orlando Waterford Market Center in production out of 80 agents. In 6 weeks, he has contributed to half of his cap. He attended Family Reunion this year, and has made up his mind that he will be on a panel next year, that he will be in the top 30 under 30 before his 25th birthday in July 2014, and that he will continue to be a leader with this company for years to come.
This was not written to play a victim card, or to get pity for Joey, but to show the drive and determination of this young man. At Family Reunion, he registered for MAPS Mastery coaching. Joey realizes that to be the best, he needs to be surrounded by the best. The potential in someone who is able to be raised in that environment and to achieve a high school diploma, literally raise his brother, and build a strong and profitable real estate career is impressive to say the least. Joey hired a coach to help him achieve “the top 30 under 30” status in the next 18 months. One of the first questions in coaching is, “what is your big why?” Not forgetting where he came from, Joey’s Big Why is to make enough money to pay for his little brother’s college education and his nursing degree. Joey was displaying the WI4C2T’S before he knew what they were.
By: Rick Bosley, Team Leader
KW Orlando Waterford