Ken Valach (Trammell Crow Residetial) was on his first visit down to the Fourth Ward with Kelly Scott (Riverstone Residential Group) and I. He looked at the poor living conditions of the people in the community and said we could build the 20 unit senior community Brother Elmo had been wanting to construct. Kelly and I looked at each other like little kids just hearing news we thought we would never hear and did our best to remain calm, cool and collective. Later on, Brother Elmo was overcome with emotion because he had wanted this for a long time. Ever since that day the relationship between Brother Elmo and all of us has continued to get closer, but I am also of the opinion that it has made our entire group at Trammell Crow Residential and Riverstone Residential Group closer. I have often heard Brother Elmo's recorded message at the Rose Of Sharon Baptist Church in which he's the head pastor that says "lives are being changed here in the Fourth Ward." The truth is, lives are also being changed at Trammell Crow Residential and Riverstone Residential Group as well.
Terry Bryan, Riverstone Residential Group
One day, several of us had lunch with Brother Elmo at “This is It, Soul Food.” Afterwards, I waited in my car for Brother Elmo to leave the restaurant. As he started across the parking lot, he had two food containers. One container held his leftovers, and one container held the restaurant’s world famous peach cobbler, which Reverend Johnson happens to love. A homeless man approached him in the parking area, and they spoke briefly. The man nodded at the food containers and Brother Elmo quickly handed him the container with the food leftover. As Reverend Johnson did this, he was sly enough to slip the peach cobbler container back into the bag. The homeless man thanked him, then pointed to the peach cobbler. Brother Elmo’s entire body language changed. His shoulders sagged, he looked at the ground, and after a few minutes of inner turmoil, he reluctantly gave up his beloved peach cobbler. When he got into my car, I lectured him for withholding the second container of food. With great conviction he looked at me and said “Kelly, it was the HUMAN SIDE of me! I didn’t want to part with my peach cobbler!” We laughed until tears ran down our faces. To this day, I give him a hard time for almost denying a needy soul of some of the best peach cobbler in town!