Jeff Parkerson has spent his entire adult life in service to others, first as a Marine, then a police officer, and now as a realtor helping first-responders buy or sell homes.
Parkerson served 4 years of active duty, and another 6 years as a reserve, with the United States Marine Corps. His tour in the military perfectly groomed him for a career in law enforcement, which allowed him to continue his service to others in public-safety. Parkerson started as a reserve officer at the Irving Police Department, lateraled to The Colony Police Department, and finally at the Lewisville Police Department, all located in the great state of Texas.
Parkerson then became a federal air marshal, flying the friendly skies to help keep them safe. In his 3 years of service as an air marshal, he visited 13 countries: Germany, France, Amsterdam, Israel, London, Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Australia, Mexico, and Canada. He flew over 250 trips to New York City alone.
Parkerson recalls one flight in first-class to Los Angeles where he met music producer Randy Jackson, who was hosting the television series American Idol at the time. “I met Randy Jackson during the flight and he totally called me out as being an Air Marshal”, Parkerson confessed. He had the pleasure of meeting, and sitting next to, several other famous stars including actresses Tina Fey and Cathy Bates, and singer Amy Lee of Evanescence.
Unfortunately, the job became taxing because Parkerson was based in Los Angeles while his family was home in Texas. “It became harder and harder to be away for work when I had a teenage daughter who wanted me home with her more.”
Parkerson joined the Make-A-Wish Foundation (MAW) early on in his law enforcement career. “When I was a police officer, the one thing that haunted me most was seeing anything bad happen to kids”, he said. And so, Parkerson joined MAW and volunteered to grant wishes for children who qualified. He is currently involved in the Dallas Chapter of MAW.
As Parkerson explored the real estate industry, he found an organization that provided assistance to first-responders who were in the market to buy or sell their homes. However, the organization’s contractual agreement made it more cumbersome than beneficial. And that’s when he got an idea… create his own organization that took his expertise in charity and realty and married it to his love for public servants, including first-responders. Parkerson’s wife, Heather, has been a public school teacher for over a decade and several of his extended family members serve in the fields of education, ministry, and medicine. He wanted to include those service professions in the mission of his organization as well, along with all support personnel in those fields.
Parkerson founded Lead the Way – Home Savings Program, a nationwide home savings program that helps first-responders through the process of buying or selling homes. “We realize that those who serve do so because they have servants’ hearts and want to help others; they’re not looking for anything in return… Lead the Way wants to give back to them”, says Parkerson. In order to qualify, buyers or sellers must have served in any of the following careers (past/present), or currently working on a degree towards these careers in the future: Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighter, Teacher, Medical Professionals, Ministry, Supporting Personnel, or Administration for any of these categories.
Lead the Way gives back 25% of the realtor’s commission to the buyer and seller. Their lending partners also make contributions to give back. Parkerson stole the phrase “Lead the Way” from an old lieutenant he served under in Texas who always ended briefings with those words of encouragement to the officers working that shift.
“What makes Lead the Way so unique is that it gives me a chance to serve the ones who’ve served; but they haven’t just served, they’ve sacrificed… this gives me a chance to give back to them”, says Corinne Reno, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty who partners with Lead the Way.
According to Parkerson, buying a home in today’s crazy, fluctuating markets can be a full-time job going through the tedious process. “We appreciate those serving, protecting, and healing us, and we want to do something for them.”
Visit their website at www.leadthewayhomes.com and see if you qualify today.