In Honor of a Fallen Brother

By Melanie Robitaille, Sr. Staff Writer & Graphic Designer

Two brothers once chose two very different paths, one a real estate professional, the other fire and emergency services. Since finding EXIT Realty, Vincent Esposito, now Franchisee of EXIT Riverside Realty, is realizing a much greater connection with his brother than he ever could’ve imagined.

It goes much deeper than the obvious safe passage meaning that connects these two professions through an exit sign, and this story may trigger, as it was set in motion over 20 years ago after one of the most tragic events in recent U.S. history.

Vinny, as he’s lovingly known, started his birthday like any other day, but it wasn’t just any other day, it was September 11th, 2001. It’s also the day his brother, Frank responded to the call, and became one of the many heroes who fell along with the World Trade Center.

“I was working on the conveyor belt at FedEx in the Atlantic City building at the time, when someone said a plane crashed into the Twin Towers. We all thought it was a sight-seeing tour that had an accident. We finished sorting all the packages and then I drove up the Garden State Parkway to my first stop of the day, Radio Shack,” Vinny recalled of that terrible morning, but it was a blur after what he saw on the TV’s in the store. “When I walked in, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. Another plane had hit, and these were no small sightseeing planes. I think I stayed in that Radio Shack for over an hour. I didn’t care about anything except what I was watching. When I finally left the store and started delivering packages God only knows how they got to the right places. I was completely numb. It never even dawned on me that my brother and cousin would be in the city that day, but unfortunately, they were.”

A New Yorker to the core, Vinny’s sense of duty was intense, and his patience wearing thin after waiting days to hear news of his brother he explained, saying, “I think it was September 13th that I tried to go to work and they sent me home…Then on what I think was September 14th, my brothers and I and some of their friends donned construction clothing and hard hats and went to Ground Zero.” He worked on “The Pile” for days, arm-in-arm with so many from all over. He still remembers the echo of silence, the faces caked with dust, and is brought back to that shocking experience to this day by certain smells. The following year, as a gift in his brother’s memory for his birthday, Frank’s widow gave Vincent his brother’s prized 1980 Triumph TR7 that he began restoring before he passed.

As hard and unfair as it seems, life continued as it usually does. Resiliency eventually gave way to normalcy again, and Vinny took a transfer far from his beloved New York to Ocala, FL, retiring soon after. Not quite ready to simply settle down, he tried his hand at several different jobs, which eventually led him to an independent real estate office nearby, and onto a new career path.

“After getting my first listing, I was told, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it,’” he recalled of the day he quit and started looking at several other real estate operations. “Once I saw there were no gimmicks, no empty promises, and plain simple truth, I signed on with EXIT. The 10-7-5 Formula of residual income didn’t hurt either.”

To learn more about how Frank’s memory remained intertwined in Vinny’s real estate career turned franchise ownership, read the full story in the latest New Frontiers Edition of The EXIT Achiever.

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