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How a WWII vet’s daughter helps Realtors honor military families

“It all comes down to that respect for the people who’ve dedicated their lives to serve this country.” – Military Relocation Professional Certification instructor, Ginni.

military veterans honored by Realtors

The letters came with them at every move. From North Carolina to the Bronx. Through upstate New York, back down to Pennsylvania. Then across the country to Southern California. 

At each stop, Ann kept them close. Not in a scrapbook or a box, but thrown indiscriminately in the drawer below where she slept each night. Hidden to the rest of the world.

Ann’s daughter, Ginni, would find the letters after her mother’s death in 2009. What she uncovered was a collection of her parents’ messages spanning seven decades, from sober war correspondences to youthful declarations of love.

“It was basically the story of my father’s life,” Ginni says. “Especially during the war.”

Dick Field was drafted into World War II when he turned 18. Like so many young men from his time, there was never any doubt where he would spend the first years of his adult life.

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Dick volunteered to train as a paratrooper soon after enlisting, drawn in by the additional $50 a month he could send home to Ann, a newlywed now on her own back in the States. 

This path landed him aboard a U.S. Navy vessel across the Atlantic, to a station in Northern Africa, and in an airplane above Southern France. Here, just two months after D-Day, Dick and his 551st Airborne Unit descended into Europe.

Moving east through the Maritime Alps and into Belgium, the 551st  is today recognized for its prominent role in the Battle of the Bulge. Allied victory here all but assured Hitler’s defeat.

But the five-week Ardennes Offensive, which began in the final days of 1944, came at an exorbitant cost for the 551st. Only about 10% of the 800 men who entered combat together would survive. Dick was fortunate. The letters to Ann kept coming home. 

“Once it was clear we would win the war, in those two or three letters when they could start talking about what was happening, it all just came gushing out,” Ginni says. “And it was powerful stuff.”

“When I read them, I saw what he saw. I saw through his writing to my mom what he was experiencing.” 

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Ginni had heard stories of the war long before finding her father’s messages. She learned of the sacrifices of soldiers and their families from Dick, from the men he fought beside and remained close to half a century later, and from her brother—Dick’s only son—himself a twenty-year veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Dick’s experiences—and his willingness to talk about them so openly—shaped Ginni’s life, fostering an immense appreciation for those who’ve served their country. For their bravery. Their resolve. For the unimaginable leadership demanded of men—boys—like her father, shipped into battle at 18, 19, 20 years old.

Now in her early 70s, Ginni has spent her professional life applying the lessons passed on by her father.

Ginni’s career has taken her from real estate agent to manager of a highly successful individual brokerage. Today, she runs her own firm as a consultant for small businesses and a coach for novice real estate agents.

Removed from the day-to-day grind of closings and open houses, Ginni is now able share her experiences with other Realtors®. Specifically, those gained from her time around service members.

From her home just outside San Diego, with U.S. military bases in virtually every direction, Ginni helped countless military families buy and sell homes during her time as an agent. It’s a task, she says, that is distinct in many ways from working with other client populations. 

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Those are the lessons that she, in turn, shares in her other, ongoing role: as an instructor for the National Association of Realtors®Military Relocation Professional certification course.

NAR created the MRP program in 2013 with the understanding that real estate professionals must recognize the unique needs and timetables placed on military families facing relocation. Through the comprehensive training course, Realtors® can earn a certification designed to help them serve these consumers seamlessly, efficiently, and appropriately.

“What I find is most powerful about the MRP course is that it’s written not about how to get a VA loan, because anybody can figure that out, but instead it’s dedicated to ensuring these individuals leave with a greater connection to the sensitivities of military life,” Ginni says. “Folks who haven’t done it often don’t get it. They have no clue.”

Ginni still remembers a time years ago she failed to properly acknowledge a service member she encountered in an airport because she “didn’t know” the woman’s medal on her uniform indicated her One-Star General status.

“That’s not okay,” she reflects today. “I so totally failed and was so disappointed in myself. It all comes down to that respect for the people who’ve dedicated their lives to serve this country.”

Ginni has taught the MRP course for now more than a decade. Her primary message as an instructor: If you’re all about the money, you’re in the wrong business. 

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“You can’t just say thank you and enjoy your house and then move on to the next deal,” Ginni says. “The moment you make it all about the money, you have lost. And so has the consumer.”

After finding her parents’ letters, Ginni had them chronologically ordered and bound. She gave the book to her father, then well into his 80s, the next Christmas. It was a gift he cherished until his death in 2016, at age 91.

“When I gave them to him, he lost it, he started bawling,” Ginni recalls. “It was amazing. He was shocked by it.”

It’s a memory, like so many of her father, that stays with her.

“When I think about this course, it’s about what my dad did, what my brother did, and what all of my friends who have served did and continue to do,” Ginni says. “It requires people to honor them. And we need that sensitivity from a real estate perspective, too.”

Bob Goldberg is Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Realtors®

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Chief Executive Officer, National Association of REALTORS, Bob Goldberg has overseen transformations that have positioned NAR as real estate's leading figure in the fight for diversity and inclusion; the industry's primary driver of technological innovation; and as an association lauded for a genuine, unwavering commitment to its members. Bob's full bio is available here.


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