When heard that the Department of Defense would be moving at least 1,500 military families from Eielson Air Force Base near the North Pole to Anchorage, he jumped into action. “This base community had 314 home sales in all of 2011, the large majority of those 1,500 families own a home (limited base housing is available) and there aren’t enough buyers for these homes. So, in essence, the government is forcing them towards possible foreclosure on their mortgages with this move,” says Madden, and a former Army UH-60 Black Hawk medevac pilot. “You’re going to destroy these families financially. The market will eventually absorb the inventory, but in the short term, these families have no other options.”
That’s when Madden, who’s been in Alaska for 11 years and has three boys, ages five, three and two, took to the streets. “I’m in the trenches, reassuring families that we’re continuing the fight. I’m leading the charge, sending letters, working with our state Senators and Congressman—our delegates in Juneau— to listen to the housing issues that affect our military service members and demand that their welfare be given priority with these decisions” he says.
He does it, he says, because the active military members can’t. “When you’re wearing the uniform, you’re not allowed to be politically vocal, so that’s where I come in.”
For Madden, championing the rights of soldiers is as personal as it is professional. He and his wife moved to Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, where he was stationed for 6.5 years until he was forced to take a medical retirement. “We stayed here because we felt compelled to help people with the arduous move to the area,” he says. After all, moving to Alaska is exciting, but can be downright scary. “When you first come [to Alaska] on orders, you think you’ll be living in igloos and chased by polar bears,” he laughs. “Our buyer specialists are actually relocation experts. We know we have to go a step further than just selling homes.”
After the Army, Madden started his brokerage, which is team-centric and consists of 15 buyer specialists, two listing partners and 10 administrative personnel. Because the area is heavily military, it was natural that Madden would get involved in military causes. He and his team do everything from welcoming units that return from combat to taking care packages from locals and shipping them to soldiers in Afghanistan. He’s also active raising money and doing humanitarian work for the , which provides programs for severely injured soldiers as they transition from active duty to civilian life.
Through that program, Madden will visit soldiers who are in the warrior transition unit. “We bring a little joy now and then. We’ll drop off baked goods, or just stop in to say ‘Hello.’” He and his team are also heavily involved with the Armed Services YMCA, which provides essential programs to the families. “When you deploy 5,000 soldiers to Afghanistan, you have a lot of spouses who own or rent homes and need help with housing challenges. We’re always readily available to them,” he says.
Currently Madden is working to bring to the area, a program that offers “high-octane” marriage counseling to soldiers. A portion of every sale Madden’s team makes will go to Stronger Families. “We’re in a high deployment military area and this program, along with the homebuyer assistance programs out there, will go a long way toward keeping families together.”
For Madden, being involved is just part of the job. “As a member of the military, you fight two fronts—the one against the enemy and the one at home. Studies show that families that invest in a home stay together longer. It’s a commitment to family. So, we’ll do whatever we can to champion for these soldiers and give them the best shot possible at owning and staying in a home.”
Overall, says Madden, “I own a business so I can make a difference. One of our core values is people before profits. When we profit from a sale, we like to reinvest it back into the community. One thing that always sticks in my mind is this—success is something that you achieve from what you get; significance is something you achieve by giving and that’s what it’s all about. I’m a solider for life and will always be an advocate for soldiers’ rights.”
Read more of these inspiring stories at LORE magazine.
Do you know a real estate professional who deserves to be recognized for his or her contributions to the community? LORE magazine is looking for sales associates and brokers to interview about their humanitarian efforts and community service. If you know someone who should be featured, email Editor Tracey Velt and firstname.lastname@example.org.