Dear Friends,

The new is wearing off of 2014! It is now time for all of us to consider what impact our lives will have on our families, churches, community, state or nation in 2014. In that reality, I have been contemplating growth in three main areas – spiritual value, family values, and high performance team impact.

“In appreciation of Remarkable Lives”, an article in the Wall Street Journal grabbed my attention. A good way to start a new year is by reflecting on remarkable individuals who died the year before. Margaret Thatcher was a prime minister who reversed Britain’s decline. She then modernized and strengthened her nation.

The recent memorial service for Frank D. Montague, Jr. was a beautiful tribute to a local giant. After suffering from polio in his 20’s, he was declared disabled by the U.S. Navy. His retort was that he would make his own decision about his future. For over 60 more years, he accomplished unbelievable results in all of his personal and professional endeavors. These successes included 64 wonderful years of devoted marriage, three devoted sons who are also very successful attorneys, and pages of leadership roles in Westminster Presbyterian Church, educational institutions, and civic and professional organizations. I personally loved and respected this remarkable man and was abundantly blessed to call him my friend.

Dr. Donna Wheeler was another dear local friend who devoted selfless service influencing thousands of William Carey University students for 47 years. For Donna, the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” was her life. My husband, Lavon, and I had the privileged joy to participate in four of Dr. Milton Wheeler’s famous international trips. Donna found strength to encourage and nurture everyone on the trips even when she had serious health issues. I shall never forget the day she and I ran the “real” Olympia track together in pouring rain – not very fast, mind you, but we finished the track!

This week our team will be setting the course for high performance impact on the local Hattiesburg market in 2014. The team just arrived back from a refreshing and relaxing cruise which they earned for 2013 success in meeting our team goal of $62 million closed including 325 transactions. Each of the 14 full time team members are setting their personal and professional goals this week. This accumulation of each of the team roles will be our combined 2014 team goal. Next week we will announce the goal and the special theme for impacting the lives of those we serve in 2014.

Your grateful Realtor,

DeLois Smith