Hilton Head and Beaufort real estate leader Billy Gavigan is helping lead Hurricane Sandy relief in SC

“For my part, I don’t watch a lot of TV news, but I found myself just so moved and in awe of the devastation from the hurricane…and it basically made me recognize that so many peoples’ lives changed dramatically and instantly for the worse by the storm,” Collins said Monday.

For years, Collins Group Realty has offered real estate clients the use of a 15-foot moving truck for local moves, so Collins knew his next step was to appeal to the coastal communities he serves to help fill the truck with essential supplies for Hurricane Sandy victims. After determining the most urgent needs and spreading the word, supplies started rolling in to the area homes and businesses that agreed to accept the items.

“The unprecedented devastation in that coastal region just up the East coast from our location rendered me (and most) speechless,” Collins said. “And the widespread damage and extensive flooding makes it so challenging for the first-response agencies to tackle recovery all alone and in a timely manner. So we thought, if our area had been hit instead, what kind of support would we want and appreciate…and we just moved into action. Sort of like doing what you can to help a neighbor. Once we decided to act, the solution became so simple and uncomplicated that the steps to make it a reality essentially showed themselves to us (as they continue to do today as we work on receiving-end logistics). Yet, with a tight timetable to get donation items collected and mobilized, there’s been no opportunity for procrastination, leaving an efficient mantra for our efforts: Do it now!”

Collins joined Billy Gavigan, a builder/agent with Gavigan Homes in Beaufort, after the two had simultaneous but independent urges to do something to help the hurricane victims and by Friday morning they launched the Low Country Relief for Victims of Hurricane Sandy Facebook page. Information on collection points, a list of supplies being accepted and contact numbers can be found on their page.

Others residents along the coast have joined the effort and Realtors who were in the path of the storm are helping by letting them know what and where the greatest need exists.

The desire of one Realtor and one builder to fill one truck has multiplied into a coastal effort that has helped those who want to help have a way to help those who are in the greatest need.

Rosalie will be reporting from the National Association of Realtors Conference in Orlando starting Thursday with reports from key industry leaders and real estate news. Follow her @rthompsonwriter on Twitter.