Meet CJ

CJ was born a long time ago, before color TV and microwave ovens and was raised up in the little town of Jackson, Alabama. Somehow that makes one feel a little like a tomato plant! Anyway, Jackson is a small traditional Southern town with it's primary source of work being the timber industry with saw mills and paper mills; a town of about 7,000 to 8,000 folks. Jackson is located about sixty-five miles North of the seaport of Mobile. The only child of Claude Eugene and Helen Small McKee… Very conservative folks raised CJ with deep Christian, Southern Baptist beliefs and hard work ethics. He was given the opportunity to take a job at the ripe age of thirteen, as a carhop at the locally famous drive-in restaurant, “Ray and Troy’s”. CJ was immediately nicknamed “Littlebit”, because the owner Troy, had to put a wooden coke box in front of the order window so CJ could reach the window to the kitchen to place his food orders on the clothespins!

His high schools days were filled with working, high school track and “Sixties Rock and Roll”. The family structure was never the same after the likes of Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, the Twist, the Rolling Stones (my God they're still around), the Beatles and of course the King, “Elvis”.

The worst trouble that CJ and his buddies “Tatter”, “Gopher” and “Mack” the Cop's son would get into in those days was rolling yards, raiding watermelon patches, floating the town's pool in melons and drag racing on the old road leading down to the Tombigbee River.

Now, the Carolina blue 57' Chevy got CJ in a heap of trouble with the OLE' man “Frosty” his senior year... just before graduation from high school. A speeding ticket was the product of CJ's race with West, the town police chief! The trophy for that performance was enrollment in Marion Military Institute (MMI) as the sure cure for CJ!

Shortly (six days), after graduation from Jackson High School in 1965, (OK, so now you know this boy is old) CJ was standing in shock at MMI, a military school established in 1842 and located in Marion, Alabama. As it would turn out, MMI proved to be the best thing to happen to CJ, molding him into a well disciplined young man and turning his energies and dreams to making the military his career. After graduation from MMI in 1967, CJ went on to complete his four year degree at the University of South Alabama (USA) in Mobile. CJ finished his four year degree in just five and one half years. He just told the folks back in Jackson, he was on the “self paced program”.

Life in Mobile also served to build character and mold CJ into a determined, hard working man. While going to South, to survive and make ends meet, CJ was a professional firefighter in the Mobile Fire Department, built and roofed houses, and drove cookie trucks ... anything to pay for college and keep a roof over his head.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, CJ graduated from USA and accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. In September of 1971, CJ reported to Fort Benning, GA for Infantry and Airborne School. That was the beginning of a wonderful twenty year army career.

After twenty years of service to his country, CJ retired from the army in 1991 as a Lieutenant Colonel. His army career was an absolute dream come true. To hear CJ tell it, "I got to do everything I dreamed of doing” and “It was a blast”! CJ volunteered for everything he had dreamed of since being at MMI and got the opportunity to die in the line of duty on several occasions! He did fun things like: Combat Infantry School and Airborne “Paratrooper” School at Fort Benning, GA; Helicopter Flight School at Fort Wolters, TX; Advanced Helicopter as well as Fixed Wing Flight School at Fort Rucker, AL; and Special Forces “Green Beret” School at Fort Bragg, NC.

CJ served as a pilot in both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft ... or for some of you “airplanes”; as well as being a paratrooper jumping with the 82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, NC. While at Fort Bragg, CJ got the opportunity to fly for Special Forces at the John F. Kennedy Center as well as fly the army's famous jump team, the “Golden Knights”. His career at Fort Bragg was a dream come true finishing Green Beret school and serving as a commander of a Special Forces Detachment in the 5th Special Forces Group.

In the then, Federal Republic of Germany CJ flew airborne reconnaissance for the United States along the borders between what was then free Germany and the Warsaw Pact countries. Flight time in the Republic of Korea or the “ROK” was spent time flying the border between the ROC and North Korea. He says "there is no memory like having frost on the inside of your aircraft window at 22,000 feet over Korea or loosing an engine over Germany," and CJ says, “The best part of telling those stories is being around to tell the tales!”.

This chapter in CJ's life ended with his retirement from the army as a LTC at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL in September 1991.

As CJ reflected on his twenty years of service to his country, really the most rewarding and memorable event in his life up to that point was not tied to the military, but to the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, GA. The opportunity to meet Truitt Cathy, President and Founder of Chic-Fil-A was a powerful experience. Truitt Cathy funded CJ and nine other Georgia Baptist men's missionary trip to the country of Liberia in West Africa to built a church in the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. Seeing the needs of the people of Liberia and their willingness to do anything to better themselves was overwhelming. The memories of young children in torn and tattered clothes, dirt earthen floors in the homes and the desire for freedom sent CJ home with a whole new appreciation for America and the freedoms he had taken for granted.

CJ's dad and mom were both a very strong influence on CJ and his making the army his first career. His dad was a tremendously determined man and pasted that characteristic on to his son. CJ's dad was discovered to have terminal cancer in July of 1991. His dad lived until October 2nd, 1991... just two days after CJ retired from the army!

After retirement, CJ heard the call to return to his roots, Marion Military Institute. He had the opportunity to serve as the Dean of Admissions at MMI from 1991 to 1993.

In the fall of 1993, CJ moved to Tuscaloosa. CJ has been here in Tuscaloosa ever since and plans on staying for a long time right here with the “Crimson Tide”. Moving to Tuscaloosa in 1993, CJ accepted a position as the Army's Senior Army Instructor for the Tuscaloosa City School's JROTC program at Central High School.

In 1995, CJ earned his Alabama Real Estate License and quickly fell in love with the profession of real estate and helping people. “Helping people, working with families is a labor of love ... people, couples, families, kids ... it's what it is all about.”

Kaye, CJ's best friend... and wife was born in Anniston, Alabama in 19 ?? It’s a secret. At the young age of 8, Kaye... sisters Jane and Martha along with mom and dad moved from Anniston to Roanoke where the family put down roots. In May of 1963, Kaye's mom was diagnosed with cancer and after a long battle that made the family even closer and stronger... her mom passed away on New Year's Day, 1966. The three girls were now faced with growing up without their mother. Jane, Kaye's older sister became mom of the house doing her part to keep the family strong and still be one of the girls. Over the coming years, Jane became "Sister" and to this day is just "Sister"! Martha, Kaye's baby sister was hit the hardest... being only six years old when she lost her mom. After graduating from high school, Jane was off to college. She couldn't get accepted at a real university, so she went to Auburn. At home, Kaye soon became the strength for her daddy, being the "big sister" to Martha, the youngest of the three girls. Kaye's dad really loved the girls and put life on the back burner, raising all three girls. Thru Kaye's dad's guidance and strength, all three girls graduated from high school and all the girls graduated from college. CJ's only disappointment with the whole deal is that the whole darn family fell under the spell and turned out to all be Auburn Fans! Thank goodness for Kaye... she broke free of the spell and graduated from Jacksonville State University. With a degree in elementary education, Kaye became an elementary school teacher, a passion that lasted until her retirement after thirty years teaching in elementary education in the Talladega school system... with fifteen years teaching first graders and fifteen years with second graders. CJ and Kaye have a close tailgating family of four children and five grandchildren! In January of 2006 CJ and Kaye made the jump to Main Street! After being in the Real Estate profession for eleven years, CJ and Kaye started their own real estate company that became "family". It was by design... a small, caring company with a family of Realtors that would adopt CJ's same love for the business and the people that make it all possible. The buyers and sellers that walk into Main Street immediately feel like they have come home.

~Our Family~

Families right here in Tuscaloosa need help in finding the way to purchase a home, the most significant investment for most families. Each experience with homebuyers gives CJ the opportunity to listen to the needs and dreams of the families looking to him to help them fulfill their dreams of being a homeowner.

CJ's love of helping people fulfill their dreams and meet their needs in finding a wonderful home is just as rewarding to CJ as it is the individual, the young couple or retiring couple that very soon become CJ's friends for life!

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