When joining the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease, everyone has their own reason for taking up the mantle. Some have firsthand knowledge through their own experience or through that of a loved one. And then some find that calling through the passion of those around them.
“I didn’t know much about Alzheimer’s disease prior to coming to work for McKee Homes,” begins Erica Allen, a Senior New Home Sales Consultant for the company and former Team Captain of the McKee Homes Walk team for Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Moore County. “My first Walk was in 2016 in Fayetteville. The third year McKee Homes joined the Moore County Walk and I have been a part of the Moore County team every year since.” Erica adds that her Walk team members include McKee employees in the area, their family and friends. “My children have participated in the walks and have volunteered at the booths. Our Walk team is growing with more businesses joining the Team McKee Walk family.”
Originally based in Fayetteville, North Carolina, McKee Homes was founded in 2010 by brothers Pat and Mike McKee. The company has been developing new home communities in the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg and Moore County areas of eastern North Carolina. Additionally they build in the Raleigh area including Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, and Knightdale as well as on the coast in Wilmington and Leland. Just prior to creating their business, they lost their father Joe to Alzheimer’s disease.
“We have dedicated our company in his memory. We contribute a portion of every home sale to the Joe McKee Memorial Alzheimer’s Fund and with that money we help support and bring awareness to Alzheimer’s,” says Pat McKee on his LinkedIn page. Since the company’s involvement began, their passion and support has grown, and they are now the Presenting Sponsor of the Fayetteville, Triangle and Wilmington Walks in addition to Moore County with a company team for each Walk.
Erica admits that she believes that the memorial fund and the company’s involvement with the area Walks is wonderful, but little did she know at the time how much heart and soul McKee Homes has for the Alzheimer’s Association. “The passion that this company has for this association is amazing. Pat’s wife Julie is truly inspiring, and she goes above and beyond to support the cause.”
Julie Russo shares that she will never forget the day that Pat received the phone call that his father Joe had passed away due to complications related to dementia. “I remember that day so vividly,” she described in a 2019 Seven Lakes Insider article. “Pat was crying because he was in pain but also he was crying for the pain that his mother [who had been Joe’s caregiver] was in.” Julie says that even though she had never met Joe, his death had a significant impact on her life.
The McKee family, like many others whose lives have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease, have become proactive in raising funds and awareness to end the disease within their respective communities. Their goal is the same – never wanting their children or grandchildren to get the phone call that their loved one has passed away from Alzheimer’s or dementia. That passion now extends to the employees of McKee Homes, like Erica and her own family.
The company’s culture of giving back and continuous involvement begins with their interns program. According to one of the McKee Home’s company blogs, “The program focuses on believing in clear and respectful communication, that we are lifelong students and coaches, and that we are building a cure for Alzheimer’s.” So while the program offers a valuable opportunity to explore their field of study in the real world, they are also asked to participate in one of the regional Walk to End Alzheimer’s events, so they can experience McKee’s community embrace efforts and give back to not only the Alzheimer’s Association but a charity or organization of their choice through their Associate Community Embrace program.
Now several year’s immersed into volunteer work for Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Erica believes that the Association’s research initiatives as well as all it does to heighten the overall awareness of the disease is of the utmost importance.
Under the guidance of past and current Team Captains, like Erica, the Moore County McKee team uses several avenues to help their team and the Walk reach their goal. This year, their team has a goal of $7,000 and is already more than 38% of the way there! Social media sharing, bringing in new sponsors and hosting a variety of fundraisers, like dress down days and food sales, have played an integral role in the team’s success. “There are so many great moments on Walk day,” affirms Erica. “ I love hearing the heart touching stories from the families that have experienced so much. Seeing so many people come out to support the cause and bring awareness is also great.”
Erica as well as the McKee Homes family and its employees each bring their own reason for joining the fight, and passionately embrace the community and the hope to find a cure so no family must suffer through this disease. After all, to see that first person claim the white flower is what we all strive for.
LIKE ERICA, WE ALL HAVE A REASON TO FIGHT FOR A WORLD WITHOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. Join your local Walk to End Alzheimer’s today.
The Alzheimer’s Association hosts 17 walks across North Carolina. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association® mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s.
We’re moving forward with plans to host the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® in person this fall. We are planning every Walk with the health and safety of our constituents, staff and volunteers as our top priorities. All events will implement safety protocols including physical distancing, masks (where required), contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more. We will continue to closely monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local guidelines to ensure Walk events adhere to recommendations and are safe for attendees, as well as offer options to participate online and in your neighborhood.
2021 NORTH CAROLINA WALK DATES
Alamance County – 9.25.21
Asheville – 10.9.21
Charlotte – 10.23.21
Fayetteville – 10.30.21
Gaston/Cleveland/Lincoln – 10.9.21
Guilford County – 10.16.21
Henderson County – 9.25.21
Hickory – 10.31.21
Iredell County – 9.25.21
Jacksonville – 10.16.21
Moore County – 9.25.21
Mount Airy – 9.18.21
New Bern – 10.23.21
Rowan-Cabarrus – 10.30.21
Triangle – 10.9.21
Wilmington – 11.6.21
Winston-Salem – 11.6.21