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ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 I WAS ON A PLANE

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On September 11, 2001 my mom and I were on our way home from a long European vacation.


I remember sitting in the terminal at Gatwick Airport re-living the prior two weeks in my head.  My mom and I had visited Ireland, Russia, France and England. I had the time of my life and was just disappointed that it was all coming to an end. I was headed back to Atlanta for another week of selling vitamins and gold cards at my GNC store that I managed in Buckhead. I recall wanting to be closer to home.  Spending time with her made me realize just how much I missed Tennessee.

We loaded up on our Boeing 777 Delta flight 11 traveling from Gatwick to Atlanta.

As we made our way into the air my mind drifted. I just felt something tugging at my heart.  I put my head phones on and fell asleep.

I don’t recall exactly how many hours had passed, but I do know that we were over the ocean coming into United States airspace.   The music in my headphones was temporarily interrupted. It was the voice of a noticeably shaken pilot.

What happened next will be etched in my mind for the rest of eternity.

“Ladies and Gentlemen….I need……you… to listen to me very carefully. There has been an attack on the United States. Two commercial planes have flown into the World Trade Center. The United States airspace has been closed and we are being diverted to another location.”

The terror I felt over every inch of my body was intense. I thought I was going to die. I knew we were close to New York because we had the GPS system playing on our screen. He mentioned two planes. Could our plane have hijackers on it? Was this a full scale attack on America and here I was sitting right in the middle of it?  If I died what would happen? Could I survive a plane crash?  These are not questions that I ask myself every day.  A few moments later the pilot came back on and gave us additional information. We were flying to St. Johns Newfoundland until further direction from the United States was given. I was scared.

St. Johns NewfoundlandWe landed in Canada. This Canadian airport was an international airport. It serviced one international flight per week. 27 international Jumbo jets were now sitting on her tarmac.  How long would we have to be on this plane? The pilot only told us to try and relax. I had my video camera and videotaped fighter jets in the air and soldiers with machine guns guarding each plane. I am sorry but relaxing is not what I was doing.  Mom and I were on the phone with my sister Andrea and she was really shook up.  We didn’t know what to tell her because we really didn’t know anything.

I was asking myself a lot of questions.  I had a long time to answer these questions, because the pilot came on the PA system and told us that they were going to unload one plane at a time. They had to search each plane and each passenger. This would take around an hour per plane from smallest to biggest and we were one of the biggest planes that had been diverted there. Well, 19 hours passed before we greeted Canadian soil.  We were carefully brought off the plane. Security was at high alert.  We were greeted by armed guards, some with machine guns.  After making it through customs they loaded us all on buses where they transported us to the local hockey arena which they were using as the central transportation center for all diverted passengers.

When we walked into the arena it was the first time any of us had seen it. There it was on the jumbotron. You could see the planes slamming into each building. The planes looked eerily similar to our plane.  Most Americans watched this horrific tragedy in the comfort of their own home. Mom and I were on uncomfortable seats, had been awake for two days, and had just spent over 20+ hours on a plane.  We still had NO idea what was going on. My heart sank for those who were killed.  I could not even imagine how horrific it was for the families.  My heart aches for them to this day.

Each plane was assigned a section of seats in the arena. We had time to get to know some of our fellow passengers. There was the Director of Communications for Coca Cola UK. There was a VP for a Video Tech company in America. There was a couple that was on their honeymoon. There were so many others but these to just name a few.

Finally we were told that they would transport us to our Hotel. Actually, it was Holy Heart High School. Not really a bed and breakfast. The people were amazing there. The care and love that they showed us made it abundantly clear that God was in control.

We were assigned to the Science room on the second floor. We had about 15 or so people in our room. We were so exhausted so we decided to try and sleep for a few hours. I couldn’t sleep because A) The floor was hard B) The snoring and C) I felt like I had been skinned alive and thrown into the ocean.

The community came together and put their collective arms around us.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the way we were treated. They brought us food, sang for us and invited us into their homes. They took us on a tour of their beautiful city which we learned was the eastern most city in North America. They even took us on a boat to show us around.  I found out that the remains of the Titanic were only a short boat trip away. There was actually a group docked in St. Johns that was shooting a documentary about it.   It was the director for the movie Titanic and some other folks.

I had several days in Canada to reflect on my life. What had I accomplished? I was the Region 2 #1 Gold card seller at GNC. I was ranked nationally for my sales per hour and profit margins. But what had I really accomplished.  I could feel God tugging at my heart. He had something in store for me which wasn’t completely clear yet.

So after 4 days we were finally given word that we would be going home. I had mixed emotions. I really didn’t want to get back on a plane, but I really wanted to go home to my apartment in Atlanta.  A week in the bed and several bags of cheetoes is just what I needed.  There was thunderous applause as we lifted off the ground.  The trip home was very solemn. I felt relief and terror all at the same time. The last four days felt like four years. We were the first diverted plane to arrive back in to Atlanta. When we touched down we all cheered and whistled as if we had just scored the winning touchdown to beat Florida in overtime.   As we taxied back to the terminal the Delta employees clearly wanted us to know just how much they cared. There were hundreds of Airport employees lining our route as we taxied in with flags and banners that said, “WELCOME HOME” and “WE LOVE THE USA.” I could not help but to cry, as did most the passengers on the plane. Seeing those American flags and people cheering made me feel safe. Unfortunately, the victims and their families will never feel safe again.  I pray every day for the families.

This was a major moment in American history. It was also a major moment in Kevin’s history. I needed something to change.  I had made changes in my life, but there was something more that I needed to do and God was showing me.  I believe that God was calling me to come back home to Tennessee.  I had lived in Atlanta for over 3 years and I had my Aunt and many friend here.  I needed time to collect my thoughts and let God show me the way.

Then something amazing happened.

I received a job opportunity in Knoxville. With the counsel of my Mom, Dad and those around me, I decided to jump on it.

I came home in April 2002. God works in such amazing ways. I started my new job on May 1, 2002 and my future wife, Pam, started two weeks later.  We started dating in August and I proposed to her one year to the day after our first date, August 11, 2003. We got married on December 20, 2003 and then found out we were having our first child on October 21, 2004. Olivia was born on June 6, 2005. We found out that we were having a little boy on June 18, 2007. Patrick Callaghan Rhea was born on February 22, 2008.

I owe all of this to God. He had a plan for me. Part of His plan is for me to share with Olivia and Patrick the love and Grace of our Lord. His Grace is so incredible in my life. I have problems like the rest of humanity. I have anxiety, loneliness, fear and times of hopelessness. The difference today is that I have a purpose. That purpose is becoming clearer, but part of it is to share His love with others.  I need to get out of my shell and spread the Good News…God has a plan for you too!

September 11 is a day of remembrance for us all. I also use it as a time to reflect on my life.  Where have I been and where am I going.  I regularly get off track and I constantly need to be reminded that God loves me no matter what. It’s easy to let life take over and I start to forget what is most important in my life.

My prayers are with all of the family members who are still suffering with the events of that day. I pray that they may find peace and understanding from a world that knows not these things. I pray for the salvation of a nation that does not know the Truth. Not the truth about worldly things, but the Truth that God loves them.

To all of my fellow passengers in life: I hope and pray that along this journey I might be able to give something back to you. Maybe a kind word or encouraging smile is what you will need. Whatever that is, I hope that God, not me, is in the middle and you have the window seat.

God Bless

Air Date 11/17/12- Fire Prevention and Awareness!

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Presented by:

Mortgage Investors Group Logo

This is one of the most important shows The Housing Hour has done:

….it could save you and your family’s lives!

Fire Prevention and Awareness:  Will your Smoke detector work?

Did you know that Thanksgiving Day is the number one day for cooking fires?

Knoxville City Fire Department Captain DJ Corcoran joins our show and discusses everything from the top things that can cause fires during the holiday season to smoke alarm detectors.

The Housing Hour has learned that under certain conditions the smoke detector in your home could fail to go off.

Common home Smoke Detectors Failing:

Also, we have discovered another study regarding Children under 10 and smoke alarms…we discuss this study and will be posting a video on the study. Every parent with small children must see this video!

Also, on a lighter note….we will be posting video a comical video regarding fires caused by Turkey Fryers.

Please join us for this very important show!

Fire Prevention Website

Do Quotient by Terry Adams

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Do Quotient by Terry Adams

Terry Adams

Do Quotient by Terry Adams

The Housing Hour is honored to have Terry Adams and Phillis Burnett of  Adams Law Firm and Admiral Title as our show  sponsor but we are extremely  proud to announce Terry’s recent article in Cityview Magazine and soon to be new book: Do Quotient.

“Today is a big day for us. After more than 7 years of research we have officially announced the Do Quotient to the world in this months Cityview magazine. There will be much more to come, including a book this year of the same title. We believe that this added value approach to counseling clients is the future of practicing law & will provide a framework for success in business & life.”  Terry Adams

Listen to our interview with Terry as he talks about his career, interests and Do Quotient!

Kevin Rhea shares 9/11 story with Hallerin Hilton Hill

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Kevin Rhea, Host of The Housing Hour, was asked by his friend Hallerin Hilton Hill to come on his show and share his and his mother’s story from 9/11. Kevin and his mother were aboard a plane as the first plane then second plane struck the twin towers on that fateful day. Kevin describes the feelings and emotions as the spent over 20 hours sitting on the tarmac in Canada

Solar Power had record year!

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aries

Over 3.3 gigawatts of solar power were installed last year!

Check our interview with ARiES Energy’s  Harvey Abouelata President/CEO:

Solar Power had record year with over 3.3 gigawatts of solar power  installed last year, according to a report Thursday from the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. That’s enough to power about 500,000 homes, and it was a 76% increase from 2011.

The industry credited the jump to the declining price of solar panels, stable tax incentives and better financing options.

“We’ve brought more new solar online in 2012 than in the three prior years combined,” SEIA head Rhone Resch said in a statement. “And every one of these panels was bolted down by a member of the U.S. workforce.”

The industry estimates it now employs 119,000 people in the United States — a 13% jump over last year. It’s expecting another record year for solar installations in 2013.

Related: SolarCity CEO talks the future of solar power

The price of solar panels has declined 60% since the beginning of 2011, according to SEIA. Lower prices for silicon — a main ingredient in the panels — and massive investments in manufacturing capacity, especially by the Chinese, have helped push down prices.

These price declines have squeezed profit margins for solar panel makers. Several have filed for bankruptcy over the past couple of years, including Solyndra, Abound, Evergreen and Q-Cells.

Analysts expect more bankruptcies in the years ahead, as prices continue to fall and smaller, less efficient companies get pushed out. The situation is sometimes compared to the dawn of the auto age, when there used to be dozens of carmakers before consolidation led to just the Big Three.

But falling prices are clearly a boon for consumers and companies that specialize in the sales and instillation of solar panels, such as Solar City (SCTY), Sunrun and a host of others.

While solar power still represents a small fraction of the nation’s overall electricity generation — under 1% in 2012, according to the engineering and consulting firm Black & Veatch, it’s expected to grow substantially over the next couple of decades.

The cost of solar power is competitive with other energy sources in some U.S. markets, such as California and New Jersey, where subsidies are generous and the price of electricity is high. But if you exclude the big subsides and mandates the industry enjoys, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says the cost for new solar electricity nationwide is still more than twice that of the nation’s cheapest power source — CNN

Boomerang Buyers….eh, what?

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Boomerang The housing bust of 2007 has caused one big mess in our country but during this crisis, maybe as a way to help  understand or explain it, media outlets and others have created  new terms to describe market conditions.  Terms like, Zombie foreclosures, Zombie subdivisions, robo-signers, and now the Wall Street Journal has started a new category: Boomerang Buyers.

Boomerang Buyers are former home owners who lost their home during the housing crisis but now are possibly eligible to re-enter the home buying market. Estimates range around 800,000 buyers are now eligible for FHA financing. This number is up from approximately 285,000 in 2011 and is estimated to raise to 1.5 million in 2014.

So exactly what is required of the Boomerang buyer  to be eligible for mortgage financing after a foreclosure?

The answer depends on the type of mortgage you’re applying for along with many other important factors(like credit and credit scores to name only two) but one of the 1st requirements are time frames. Conforming loan requirements like FNMA/FreddieMac require a combination of a certain number of years and specific percentage down payment. Government loans vary too, VA minimum requirement is 2 years while FHA is 3 years. But time frames and down payment requirements are only the start. There are many other factors that must be considered and its important to note there are always exceptions to these rules.

Here’s the bottom line, if you were financially effected during the housing crisis, you still may be eligible for home financing. The best way to find out is to contact one of our MIG Loan officers and start the discussion and the qualification process.

Who knows, you may be a potential boomerang buyer and didn’t even know it!

Air Date 3-9-13: Home Ownership Matters: The Why!

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We Continue with our Home Ownership Matters Series!

 Dr. Kim Manturuk is the Senior Research Associate in Financial Services at the Center for Community Capital, a research institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Home ownership matters and Dr. Manturuk research focuses on  the social and financial impacts of home-ownership in urban neighborhoods.  Her recent research has appeared in Socio-Economics, Social Service Review, Social Science Research, and the Journal of Urban Affairs.  She received her PhD in sociology from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Our topics include :

  • Social Benefits Home Ownership vs Renting
  • Civil Engagement because of Home Ownership
  • Mental Health Benefit of Home Ownership!

Dr. Manturuk’s research and testimony  has been called in front of the House of Representatives as a source for future policy making for our nations housing crisis. Also, most national housing agency, like Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac use her research to help craft agency goals. The National Realtor Association use her research as well!

Everyone quotes her….The Housing Hour has her…this Saturday!

Plus her research can also be found in the latest book click on photo to order yours today!

Kim photo

home ownership matters

Construction jobs soar on housing recovery!

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The recovery in the housing market is driving a turnaround in the labor market as well.

The better-than-expected February jobs report got a big lift from 48,000 new jobs in the construction industry. Builders have added 151,000 jobs over the last five months, the sector’s best hiring surge since the 2006 housing bubble.

The employment numbers reiterate what other housing reports have found: Home prices are up, as are home sales. Near record low mortgage rates and a drop in foreclosures have created a much better market for builders. In January, they filed for the greatest number of building permits since 2008.

“Our members are hiring so much that they’re starting to get worried about finding enough labor out there,” said Paul Emrath, economist with the National Association of Home Builders. “Most are talking about adding people.”

He said his group’s forecast is that residential construction hiring in 2013 will be about five times the pace of last year.

Employment levels in construction are still very low compared to not just the housing boom years but also to employment even before the bubble started to inflate. The industry would have to add about 1 million workers overall to return to levels seen in early 2003.

“We are coming from a very, very low trough,” said Emrath. So many workers left the field during the downturn, that it’s become more difficult to find skilled construction workers, he said.

The jobs report also showed a pick-up in real estate hiring, as that sector added 13,400 over the last three months, the best three-month rush of hiring in the sector in seven years. Building supply stores also added 4,300 workers in February, making it one of the hottest retail segments to add workers.

Catch the show every Saturday….

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Home Ownership Matters

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Spring into Action and Prepare

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Mortgage Investors GroupWhen preparing to buy a home there are many things to consider.  Most of the time, compiling documentation for your lender is not at the top of the list.  This could be a very important step to the overall success of your home-buying experience.

Please read on.

If you haven’t done so already – please begin compiling documentation we’re going to need once you’ve found your dream home. For a specific list of what we will contact one of our loan officers today!

Partial List of Starter Documents:

  • Copies of last two years tax returns and W-2′s
  • Copies of two most recent paycheck stubs (or easy, quick access to future pay stubs)
  • Copies of bank and brokerage statements for the last two months

Why Bother Digging Up Documents Now – I Haven’t Even Found My Home Yet?
Because, in the mortgage business Time Equals Money. I’ll explain what I mean below.

What Does It Mean To “Lock” Your Loan?

When it’s officially “go time”, you are going to “lock” your loan program with the lender. In turn, the lender is setting aside the funds allocated to your home mortgage. Lenders take these “loan locks” very seriously – as it helps us manage supply and demand.

Generally speaking – the shorter a time period you lock up a lender’s funds, the more preferential the pricing that lender will offer in return. This is huge.

What Do I Mean By the Statement Above?
Typically lenders offer “lock periods” of 30, 60 or sometimes even 90 days. By locking your loan, you benefit from knowing that if mortgage rates rise in the future, your terms will remain unchanged by the lender. As a result of this commitment the lender makes to you, they provide financial incentive for you to choose a shorter lock period than a long lock period. Does this make sense so far? If you are interested in learning more about how Time Equals Money in the mortgage business, contact us today!

So, Is My Ultimate Point In All This?

It is difficult to know if it is going to be prudent to choose a short, medium or long “lock period”. However, if we ultimately determine that a short lock period is best for your situation – it will be critical that we don’t lose even a single day while the clock is running.

By getting your mortgage ducks in a row now, we will be in optimal shape for a smooth and cost-saving mortgage process later.

While some lenders take 60-90 to close your loan, MIG will get it done on your schedule and close on time, every time.