Dierks’ $10 Drive to the Finish Line to Build Carter Sports Park

By Julie Limbaugh, Sales Associate with EXIT Realty of the Smokies, Kodak, TN

My husband, Michael, and I welcomed our third son, Dierks Nash Limbaugh into the world on January 3, 2014. Two days later, Dierks peacefully slipped away from us. Many agonizing months later we found out his death was due to a genetic enzyme disease that, at the time, was unknown. In our immense pain and grief, our community- some people we knew, most were perfectly sweet strangers- wrapped their arms around us and enveloped us in love and care.

Months following Dierks’ passing, our family visited a local playground to allow our two young boys to play. We found our smile that day. We began purposefully and intentionally visiting playgrounds to encourage, sometimes force, our smiles, laughter, and play. We were on the playground circuit! It led to visiting our community playground, Carter Sports Park. The playground was small with only two swings and a slide. It was dilapidated.

One morning while showering I had a brilliant idea, isn’t that where all brilliant ideas occur? I thought, our community loved and cared for us so well, how better to give back to them than to rebuild the playground and picnic shelter at Carter Sports Park? Thus, our family founded My Son Shines Fund in memory of Dierks Nash Limbaugh with the sole purpose to rebuild the playground and picnic shelter. In cooperation with Knox County Parks and Recreation and partnership with Legacy Parks Foundation, My Son Shines Fund intends to facilitate breaking ground on a new playground and picnic shelter at Carter Sports Park this summer of 2024. Though we still have a long way to go in raising funds, we are committed and are Driving for the Finish Line!

Funds were raised from Giving Tuesday, November 28th until Dierks’ 10th Birthday, January 3, 2024, where we asked individuals and businesses to make a small, easy donation of $10 for Dierks’ $10 Drive to the Finish Line.   

The heart of our company makes me proud everyday to be a member of the EXIT family. I love what this company embodies- the heart of EXIT- and appreciate the opportunities provided with the Spirit of EXIT. Not only is this initiative obviously close to my heart, but it aligns so well with who EXIT is and how we want to impact and serve our community.

A portion of every transaction fee received by EXIT Realty Corp. International is applied to its charitable fund. Through the Spirit of EXIT Charitable Program, 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 pool of funds. Julie hoped to raise $3,500, which EXIT’s head office was proud to match, however she far exceeded that goal and raised $5,655.42 for a total donation of $9,155.42 to Legacy Parks Foundation for My Son Shines Fund.

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