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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

Listen Live

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Retro-Microphone

Kevin Rhea – Host

Since starting my career with Mortgage Investors Group I have become a husband and a father. My beautiful wife Pam and I have a daughter, Olivia, and a son Patrick. I started my career with MIG as a Loan Officer Assistant in 2001 and became a Loan Officer beginning in 2003. I excelled in my first year, closing more loans in Tennessee than any other rookie. My accomplishments as a rookie have been recognized by the Knoxville Mortgage Bankers Association (KMBA), and Mortgage Originator Magazine. In 2011, I was promoted into management at MIG as Vice President, Director of Business Development. This is a very exciting move for me and I have hit the ground running. We have developed a new social media strategy, a new radio campaign and many other very exciting things!

My faith and my family are the most important things in my life.

 

Kevin as a child:

“…for the last time, I don’t know if mortgages rates had gone up! Now, may I continue?”
Email: Kevin@KevinRhea.com | Web : www.KevinRhea.com

Kevin is available to talk to your organization , club or your child’s birthday party.

 

Mark Griffith- Co-Host:

Mark has been a part of the Mortgage Investors Group management team for over 18 years. He opened the Oak Ridge office for MIG in 1994 and has assembled one of the most productive sales and support teams in the business. The Oak Ridge office has produced, on the average, over 80 million dollars of loans per year for the last 15 years. Two of his Loan officers have earned repeated Top Producer Awards recognitions in the Knoxville and surrounding markets as well as Top National Honors. The Oak Ridge office has been #1 Lender in Anderson County for several years.
Mark got into the Real Estate business in 1983 and became a Mortgage Loan Officer in 1985. From interest rates in the teens to the market collapse of 2008, Mark has experienced a wide range of market and guideline fluctuations that make him one of the top managers in his field.

Mark gladly joined The Housing Hour, as C0-Host, in December of 2011; his main role is programming/website content/scheduling and community service initiative.

You can reach Mark with your questions at: Mark.Griffith@migonline.com
Mark is available to talk to your organization or club.
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Energy Star Building

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Energy Efficiency in Homes Series Continues

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Building New Homes

Three Great Guests

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timdickerson

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 Prudent Energy Systems- Scott Higgins:

ENERGY STAR for Homes

We are a full service home performance building company serving the Knoxville area.  Our services include:

We work to maximize your home’s energy efficiency, eradicate any indoor air quality and other safety problems at the source, and optimize building durability and integrity.  Capable of working as a 3rd party verifier or as a turnkey performance contractor, we will work to ensure your goals are achieved. We’re certified, verified, and have over 20 years of experience under our tool belt.

Feel free to call us or shoot an email for a free consultation, where you’ll speak with a friendly customer service representative trained to walk you through exactly what sort of work we do on a day-to-day basis to improve homes like yours, as well as what energy efficiency rebates and tax credits may be available in your area. We look forward to hearing from you!

CityWide Developements- Tim Dickerson

Specializing in all aspects of home design!

Our licensed general contractor built his first custom home in 1997! Since that time we have been designing and building custom homes along with updating and renovating existing properties!  Whether you are looking to build your dream home or rejuvenate your current home with a new custom kitchen or updated baths, we are the project team for you!

We start with a FREE design consultation!  Our Design Consultant and General Contractor work closely with you to acquire a clear understanding of your design ideas and then present you with options to fit your vision and budget.  Once you have settled on a design our Design Consultant and General Contractor work closely with you throughout the project to assure that your dream becomes a reality!  Satisfaction guaranteed!

Our General Contractor is also one of only a few EPA Certified Healthy Builders for historic home renovations.

Citywide Developments

citywidedevelopments@comcast.net

865-809-5943

NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING, INC.- Russell Catron

Providing Quality, Affordable and Energy-Efficient Homes

Families with low to moderate incomes often find the American dream of homeownership out of reach. Yet homeownership enriches our city and strengthens our neighborhoods and families.

KLF’s Neighborhood Housing program provides buyers with high quality, moderately priced homes, as well as up to $29,000 in grant money to assist with the housing purchase. Homeowners attend homebuyer education classes and generally contribute only $1,000 – $1,600 toward closing costs and fees. To learn more about our Homebuyer Readiness Program, click here.

Our partners include the City of Knoxville Department of Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME Grant, East Tennessee Foundation Affordable Housing Trust, Tennessee Housing Development Agency, Knox County Community Development Department and the regional USDA Rural Development Office.

For further information, or to apply, contact:
Neighborhood Housing
901 E. Summit Hill Drive, Suite 300
Knoxville, TN 37915-1200
(865) 524-2774 x116
Email Russell Catron
www.klf.org

MIG25Yr

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

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

Home Prices Rise Over 12% In Last 12 Months!

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CoreLogic, a leading residential property information, analytics and services provider, released its May CoreLogic Home Price Index  report this week.  Home prices nationwide have increased over 12% in the last 12 months.  This is the biggest 12 month increase since February 2006. May also represents the 15 consecutive month that the nation has seen home values increase. The last 30 days alone have seen  home values increase more than 2.5%.

Corelogic also predicts that next month the country will see home prices further increase to over 13% for the previous 12 months with a single month gain of close to 3%.

“It’s been more than seven years since the housing market last experienced the increases that we saw in May, with indications that the summer months will continue to see significant gains,” said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “As we approach the half-way point of 2013, home prices continue to respond positively to the reductions in home inventory thus far.”

“Home price appreciation, particularly in much of the western half of the U.S., is increasing at a torrid pace,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Across the country, pent-up demand and continued low interest rates are fueling strong demand for a limited inventory of properties. We expect that trend to continue to drive up prices throughout the balance of the summer months.”

‘…the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America..’

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It’s important to look back at the words of founding fathers. After deciding to declare their Independence, John Adams’ penned this famous letter on July 3, 1776. John thought the country would celebrate the actual day Congress approved the resolution to declare their independence from Great Britain, July 2nd. But history chose 2 days later, July 4th, the date that Congress approved Thomas Jefferson’s final draft of  The Declaration of Independence. Whether the 2nd or the 4th, the excitement and real meaning of the events are clear. John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail with his thoughts  about how to celebrate the monumental day:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to becommemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. ( The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

The words of John Adams reflect the exuberance of the pursuit of liberty while acknowledging the dreaded cost of that freedom. But its as if he had some divine look into the future when he wrote, ‘ I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.’

Mortgage Investors Group and The Housing Hour salutes all of our fellow countrymen who have fought and died to ‘… maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States…’, God Bless You!

Have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

Home Sellers and Buyers are Bullish!

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The new National Housing Survey from FNMA reports that Sellers and Buyers are both agreeing that now is a ‘good time’ to sell and buy homes. A strong recovery in Home Values is considered likely reasons that Sellers have re-enter the market. Of the sellers surveyed, 40% say that now is a ‘good time’ to Sell versus only 16% a year ago. Buyers also have had strong sentiment for more than a year, but last month moved to its highest responding level to nearly 76%.

The FNMA survey also measured other pertinent sentiments, such as 40% of the responders say that the economy is on track and 41% said they expect to be in better financial situation next year.

Confidence in the housing market is back!

Mortgage Investors Group understands there are a lot of choices when it comes to financing the purchase of a new home or refinancing an existing one. Our licensed and experienced loan officers are here to help you gain a better understanding of those options and answer your questions about the loan process, qualifying and the different features of each loan program. We offer everything from conventional mortgages to government loans.

Call us today and take advantage of these incredible market conditions!

Builder Confidence Soars!

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Builder Confidence Soars! Reasons to use a Real Estate Agent when Purchasing a New Construction Home

If you bother to talk to most builders they will tell you, ‘The market is back!’ June’s National Association of Home Builder’s Confidence Index has posted one of the highest scores in over 7 years! Slightly over 40% of the Home Builder’s surveyed say they felt  positive about current business activity. Last year only 15% felt confident about the market. Over the last several months, there have been particularly strong signs for the economy like:

  • Jobless claims decreasing
  • Jobs increasing
  • New home sales posted gains
  • Existing home sales rise
  • Pending home sales rise
  • February and April reported some of the fastest home sales months since 2008
  • Home values continue increasing
  • Home sales rose 29% higher than last year
  • Building permits rose in April
  • Durable goods rose in April(a very strong housing indicator)
  • 1st Q economy grew at 2.5%
  • Consumer spending faster rise in 2 years
  • Consumer confidence at a 5 year high

The NAHB survey is another sign that the US Economy continues to get stronger.

Here’s the bottom line, expanding economy + rising home prices + rising mortgage interest rates = time to buy.

Mortgage Investors Group understands there are a lot of choices when it comes to financing the purchase of a new home or refinancing an existing one. Our licensed and experienced loan officers are here to help you gain a better understanding of those options and answer your questions about the loan process, qualifying and the different features of each loan program. We offer everything from conventional mortgages to government loans.

Call us today and take advantage of these incredible market conditions!

Coach Joe Gaddis on the Erik Ainge Show! Presented by Mortgage Investors Group

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Oak Ridge Wildcats Football Coach Joe Gaddis on the Erik Ainge Show!

Oak Ridge Wildcats Football Coach Joe Gaddis, right, was the guest Wednesday on The Erik Ainge Show.From The Oak Ridger Oak Ridge Wildcats Football Coach Joe Gaddis was the guest Wednesday on The Erik Ainge Show on Tennessee Sports Radio, which was recorded live from Mortgage Investors Group in Oak Ridge. Above, bottom right: Ainge, a former University of Tennessee and New York Jets quarterback, interviews Gaddis. At right, bottom left: Markus Melton, 9, a third grader at Glenwood Elementary School, poses with Ainge and Gaddis. Bottom center: Melinda Palmer, of Oak Ridge, with Ainge. She’s holding a shirt with the radio show’s logo.

Marcus Melton ,9, shows up for Photo Op!

Markus Melton, 9, a third grader at Glenwood Elementary School, poses with Ainge and Gaddis.
Markus Melton, 9, a third grader at Glenwood Elementary School, poses with Gaddis.