It didn’t take a national holiday like Veteran’s Day for the agents at Kelly Associates to show their patriotic stripes. All it took was one simple, two-sentence email from fellow broker, Kate Bates. Since 2003, Bates has lived in Darien with her husband and watched her family grow. She’s now the proud mother of three lovely girls, including a 5 year-old, an 8-year old, and a 17-year old stepdaughter. Bates joined Kelly Associates in 2006 and has been working hard ever since. “Choosing to work at Kelly was an easy decision,” says Bates, “I wanted to be at a place that was family-oriented and invested in this wonderful community.” Kelly Associates has been family owned and operated since President Gino Kelly founded it almost 25 years ago.
When Bates sent out a casual all-staff email, asking if anyone was interested in donating a few specific supplies to her brother-in-law’s company in Afghanistan in August, she was overwhelmed by the instant and supportive response from her Kelly colleagues. “I ended up collecting everything on the list that my brother-in-law gave me and more. My desk at Kelly Associates was the collection hub. We ended up sending over eight huge boxes that were chock full with coffee, beef jerky, great cigars.” To add a more personal touch, the Kelly crew added lots of Darien stuff, like stickers and coasters, so the medical unit could know that the entire town was thinking about them. Even more heartfelt, the agents gathered emails and handmade cards from school age kids in town, with drawings of flags and what the kids thought the troops looked like. The boxes were shipped out in late August and took several weeks to arrive in Afghanistan.
As a civilian, Bates’ brother-in-law, is known as James E. Bates, M.D., a 48-year old who runs a private practice in San Diego, California called Alvarado Orthopedic Medical Group, Inc. In the service, he is known as Captain J. E. Bates, MC, USN (FS, DMO) OIC, of Forward Surgical Team Apache. The best way to explain what he does for the Navy, says Bates, is that he works for a M.A.S.H. -type unit. “He’s there with other major doctors. They are taking care of severely hurt soldiers from America, Australia, Afghanistan and other countries. Everyone who is there helping to take care of these soldiers is in a dangerous situation, as they are not far from the front lines. It’s a major deal.”
Once the boxes got to Forward Surgical Team Apache, Captain Bates handed out the loot. “They were pretty psyched,” says Bates. To show their appreciation for Kelly Associates, they flew a flag at the base in their honor and awarded the company a special certificate and patch. Darien dad of three and Kelly Associates Vice President, Jeff Kelly, knew these gifts from Capt. Bates were special and should be appropriately showcased. He turned to Geary Gallery for the framing, and now this piece of history hangs in the Kelly Associates office, reminding everyone there of what a positive impact they can make, in the community and beyond, when they work together. “The people who work at Kelly Associates are super generous,” says Bates. “I’ve been there a long time and I can always count on the agents. It really is the brokers that make Kelly. They are the heart and soul of the community and good Americans.”
Her brother-in-law felt the same. His thank you email said, “Darien Rocks!” Bates likes to think, “We put Darien on the map in Afghanistan. We told them, Darien loves you guys.”
As for Capt. Bates, he is supposed to be coming home in November. “The Bates family is supposed to meet up in Annapolis to greet him,” Bates says. “He has orders to go back, but we are hoping they won’t come through.”