The American Cancer Society Named Candy Jacobson a Hero of Hope, Class of 2017

The American Cancer Society Named Candy Jacobson a Hero of Hope, Class of 2017.

But, Candy says she is only another warrior, continuing a family fight against cancer.

"I was stunned to receive this great honor. Most recipients are survivors, but I was just a caregiver," Candy says.

To us, "just a caregiver" is a huge understatement when describing this valued associate of Virginia Cook, Realtors®. We think you'll agree after reading about her story...

"My husband and I started making the American Cancer Society our choice for donations many years ago when we saw how much they helped both my dad and mom during dad's last fight with lung cancer," Candy said.

"When Polk County started Relay for Life in 2001, I joined a team to walk for my family, which by then included my dad and my grandparents."

Then Candy's husband, Steve, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011: just four weeks before their son's wedding.

"He was given up to one year to live, but being stubborn and a fighter, he made it to see our only son get married," says Candy. "It was a proud moment for us all. He fought on, but five weeks after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer, he died.”

Today, Candy's entire family is involved in Relay for Life.

"My son, my daughter-in-law who lost her mom two years after Steve died from cancer, and my two granddaughters are in the fight as volunteers with me for both Relay for Life and Bark for Life. My son, a computer whiz, keeps the team fund-raising totals, while my granddaughters cheer me on."

By volunteering together, Candy and her family continue the legacy of dear family members lost with the hope that other families will enjoy long and healthy lives together.

Yes, Candy. You really are a Hero of Hope.

“Joie de Vivre” is a Cajun Expression that Means the Joy of Living.

“Joie de Vivre” is a Cajun Expression that Means the Joy of Living.
And it’s the Perfect Way to Describe Denaige Pizzutello!


Denaige grew up in a large family in Cajun Country;
Catahoula to be specific. Material things were not abundant, but joy and love overflowed every day. And that’s exactly how Denaige approaches life and work now as she leads the charge to ensure that Virginia Cook, Realtors® has the best training and educational program in Texas.

Denaige left Louisiana when she earned a Congressional Appointment to U.S. Military Academy at West Point at the age of 20. She went on to serve her country for six years as a Counterintelligence Special Agent with the U.S. Army and was a two-time recipient of the Army Commendation, Army Achievement and Army Good Conduct Medals.

It was during Denaige’s military service that an interest in real estate was sparked.

“I wanted to buy my first house, but couldn’t afford it on a soldier’s salary,” said Denaige. Not to be deterred, she obtained permission from her commander to take a weekend civilian job as a receptionist at a local real estate firm. She worked her way up to Vice President of the company after completing her military service. 

A move in 1995 to Texas with husband and fellow Army veteran, Michael Pizzutello, led Denaige to the MetroTex Association of Realtors®, where our own President Sheila Rica was the current president and Virginia Cook had been the first female president. As MLS Director, Denaige was responsible for MLS computer services, training and technical support for over 8,000 members. After 10 years, she went to work as a real estate trainer for a local title company for 12 years, and then joined Virginia Cook, Realtors
® in 2016.

“It felt like I had gone full circle when I came to Sheila and Virginia. I love working with them and all of the great agents and staff in our company, and I love that I’m always learning.” says Denaige, who is inspired daily by the Golden Rule and believes that “Above all things, the greatest is love”.

A graduate of the MetroTex Leadership Program (Class 15), Denaige is also a 10-year breast cancer survivor. 

Renee Eiband's passion doesn’t stop with her two-legged clients.

When it comes to finding the perfect home for others,
Renee Eiband's passion doesn’t stop with her two-legged clients.

Being an animal rescuer is a lot like being a realtor, there is always someone needing a home. And some cases are more urgent than others. From a family relocating and needing the perfect home in 45 days or less, to a puppy mill cruelty seizure requiring foster care for badly abused and neglected dogs.  Neither allows for schedules or much advanced notice. I had one client I was driving around look into a bag in my backseat. Filled with dog food, leashes, and bowls. She asked what it was for and I told her "in case we find a stray dog while we are out looking for houses". She just laughed and said, “now I know why I like you so much"!

I have truly been blessed with the ability to respond quickly and recover later. My clients are some of the most generous and loyal people any one could ever work for and many adopt my rescues. Some have contributed, along with my coworker’s, to a fund with a local groomer to help badly neglected dogs much needed grooming. Every dog I have taken for grooming has been adopted! One in less than two hours from returning to the shelter from the groomer. This has been a more recent extension of my rescue attempts along with WEDNESDAY WAG. Wednesday Wag was an idea of my daughter's that Brenda Sims, our fearless office leader loyally puts on Facebook. We recently had a dog adopted by a Virginia Cook client two days after it appeared on WEDNESDAY WAG! 

I am fortunate that I am continually cheered on for my efforts with work and rescue. My clients and friends are loyal with their referrals, and their dog adoptions! Between them and a patient husband and awesome coworker's I am beyond fortunate that my work in real estate and animal rescue continues to expand and be successful. Nobody does this by themselves and I can truly say a higher power has met every need in every aspect of my life to allow me to do what I love. Find homes for whoever needs them! 

About Hearts at Work…
We are so proud of Renee Eiband! She is a valued associate who truly exemplifies Virginia Cook, Realtors’ Hearts at Work program, created to honor and inspire volunteerism among our agents in the North Texas communities we serve and call home.

Frank Hayward, Leading through Multiple Eras

Frank Hayward:

Leading through Multiple Eras of the Multiple Listing Service

Today, we think nothing of hopping on the computer or a mobile app to search for homes, anywhere, anytime.

But, it wasn’t always that easy, and we have industry leaders like Frank Hayward to thank for the innovation that transformed the real estate industry.

Before joining Virginia Cook, Realtors®, Frank was the broker/owner of one of the highest performing franchise firms in the nation.  While leading his team of top producing Realtors® he also served in many industry positions, including President of the Garland Board of Realtors.

“Back in the day, if a Garland Board member wanted to know what was on the market in Dallas, he or she had to join the Greater Dallas Board of Realtors® (now the MetroTex Association) to gain access to its MLS.  And it was the same for every other market served by a separate Realtor® association.  You had to be a full member to get its MLS,” Frank explains.

Not only was it expensive to maintain membership in each Realtor® association, it was cumbersome to gain access to the actual MLS data.  You had to drive over and get the MLS Book, which was literally a printed book of current and sold listings,” says Frank.  “It was a struggle to keep up with the homes that were available to your customers as the books could not be up-to-the-minute current.

In 1983, Frank and the Presidents of 4 other North Texas associations (Irving, Grand Prairie, NE Tarrant County and Dallas) put aside territorial pride and created a “Reciprocity of Membership”.  Simply put, the new policy allowed all Realtor members of any participating association to have access to each other’s MLS data without joining as full-fledged members.

In addition to improving service to home buyers and sellers, the Reciprocity Agreement put the North Texas region at the front of the line when the National Association of Realtors® sought Beta Test MLS organizations in the mid-1990s for a brand new thing called “realtor.com”.

“Our MLS system was one of the first to be available on an online platform.  This revolutionized how we do business today,” said Frank.

That MLS has grown and developed into what is now known as the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Inc. (NTREIS), and it is one of the largest in the U.S. with over 30,000 members in 15 Realtor® associations covering 48,000 square miles.  Frank served on the Executive Committee for 4 years and was President of NTREIS in 2015, a position also held in 2007 by Sheila Rice, President of Virginia Cook, Realtors®.

“Frank has served in key leadership positions throughout the evolution of the MLS, beginning with the giant books, printed weekly, to the first computer terminals that seemed to go down more than they were up, and finally, the online global system we all benefit from now. 

We salute Frank for his service to our industry and consumers worldwide.

More about Frank…

Frank has also been a Director of the MetroTex Association of  REALTORS, a Director and Regional Vice President of the Texas Association of REALTORS, and a REALTOR of the Year Award recipient.  A devoted husband and father of college-age twin sons, Frank has been involved in the Park Cities with numerous organizations including the YMCA and his church, Highland Park United Methodist.  He’s also a fabulous singer!

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where the heart is, and for Brenda Sims,
that home has always been Fort Worth.

Riding bikes with friends and siblings throughout their Ridgmar neighborhood. Walking to Elementary School and trick or treating with huge groups of friends. Decorating for Christmas with a different theme for every block of the neighborhood. Swimming and hanging out at the River Crest and Ridglea Country Clubs in the summer. And of course, school activities and cheering at all the high school games.

That's the kind of growing up “Wonder Years” enjoyed by Brenda, Manager & Vice President our Fort Worth office. And its' the kind of life her own children experienced as they grew up around grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in a city where everyone always seems to have some kind of connection to one another.

Now Brenda’s  top-performing agents work together to ensure clients obtain this enviable lifestyle where big-city awesomeness blends with hometown charm.

“I love Fort Worth, and I love the agents in our office,” says Brenda.  “We are a like a family that shares a heart and fondness for Fort Worth, and we work hard together to get houses sold and find homes for our clients so they, too, can live the dream we call ‘Fort Worth’.”

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