A Commentary by Sr. Staff Writer, Melanie Robitaille

Certain people in this world just seem to stand out. They vibrate on different frequencies than the rest of us and emit an energy that’s always infectious and often magnetic. This is how I’ve always known EXIT Realty All Pro Associate Broker, Lawrence Gardner to be.

Most people like me in the EXIT family know him as Larry Love, just one of the many names bestowed upon him over his six-year career with us, where I’ve had the great pleasure of witnessing, first-hand, his charismatic, extraordinary and dynamic personality shining through at our Annual Conventions.

But to see is not to know. What I now know is that the world can misunderstand these one-of-a-kind sparks and without positive reinforcement, they can diminish into outcasts. What I’ve come to learn is that this is how Larry felt much of his life, struggling with the indescribable challenges of addiction-fueled mental illness, tormenting him in ways only he will ever know. The Larry we know and love today is the result of his faith, heart and tenacity in overcoming them.When you’re around Larry, it’s a twist on the  old adage about rubber and glue; whatever he says bounces off of him and sticks to you. Larry only travels in goodness. And if we each truly have a purpose to fulfill in life, Larry continues to earn his moniker and has found his calling as a champion of love.

His gift is being able to turn his once debilitating and negatively-charged focus on what others were thinking of him, into a totally support-driven approach to all with  whom he comes into contact. Whether he makes contact with one of his famous hugs or a birthday wish, or just reaches out to let you know he’s thinking of you, he is always about spreading the love.

Larry is a consummate volunteer, taking on marathons, fundraisers, and giving of his time for causes that are near and dear to his big heart. For over 35 years he has volunteered as a holiday kettle bell ringer for the Salvation Army and was recently honored by the organization, and the Town of Babylon in Lindenhurst, NY, with a proclamation for personally helping to raise over $150,000 throughout his years of service. Larry also recently announced a 2019 challenge to more than double the $8,500 he raised last year with the help of the Spirit of EXIT Dollar-for-Dollar Matching Program, where EXIT offices and associates can raise money for local, approved, registered charities and apply to EXIT’s head office to have those funds matched from the company’s pledged pool of funds.  Many of these causes resonate with him because of his past experiences, like homelessness, so he doesn’t just open his heart to help others, he also opens his home. Not only are three of his four beloved children adopted, but he and his wife, Christine, have also been foster parents for 15 years to several children, because as Larry says, “When helping others, you never really know where that service is needed.”

He shared all of this with our EXIT family when he took the stage and told his emotionally-charged, It’s a Wonderful Life presentation during the 2017 Annual Convention in Dallas, TX. Holding back tears he said, “It’s amazing how much you love these kids right out of the gate. You love them as long as you’re supposed to and then you let them go, hoping that your brief love changes their lives.”

When his journey took him down the teal path toward EXIT, I would like to think that it was not only life-changing for Larry, but also love at first sale. A career as a real estate professional complimented his new, service-oriented lease on life. And finding a company that was dedicated to the well-being of its members, after being unemployed and facing such adversity, must’ve felt like a dream come true.

This self-made man truly dances like no one is watching now, lives his truth of gratitude everyday, and vehemently believes in the limitless power of validation; imploring everyone to tap back into this “dying art.” He has found a  home here at EXIT Realty; one befitting  the tremendously beautiful soul that he is.

In writing this, I hope to take a page from his book and pay-it-forward by saying out loud and on behalf of all of us here in your EXIT family, thanks for all the love Larry…and see you on the dance floor.

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,