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An Attitude of Gratitude - Al Pulis, The Most Heroic REALTOR® I Know

www.operationtanzania.comAl Pulis is a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Associated Brokers in Branson, MO.  I first met Al a couple of years ago when his broker recommended he co-list a property with me.  He made a great first impression on me, incredibly professional, soft-spoken, kind, intelligent, mannerly and always dressed impeccably in a nice suit.  He is the kind of man that exudes high ethics and morals, and you find yourself standing a little taller and speaking in your most proper English without even realizing it, but feeling incredibly comfortable around him at the same time.  You instinctively knew you were in the presence of a friend.

www.operationtanzania.comWhen I told Al that I was getting married earlier this year, he immediately volunteered to perform our ceremony.  I had no idea that Al was an ordained minister, but it didn't really surprise me at all.  He didn't wear his religion on his showed in his actions and the way he treated those around him.  He doesn't spout his religion or beliefs....he LIVES them.  I didn't have to think about it long at all before I took Al up on his offer.  I couldn't imagine anyone else that I would love more to share that special moment with me and my husband.  Though I tried hard to downplay our ceremony, insisting on family only, Al and his wife weren't about to let me skip on some details.  Rather than question or press me, they simply handled it themselves....quietly.  I was surprised to walk into the church and find it decorated with flowers, and his wife Mar
ilyn quietly playing the piano in the corner.  It was so beautiful.  And they wouldn't accept a dime from me.  It was overwhelming to me that this couple would go so far out of their way for someone they had only met in person a couple of times.  I had never even met his wife, Marilyn, before my wedding day.  Such a random act of kindness.

Two weeks after my wedding, I received word from Al's office that he had been diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, and they were rushing him in for surgery.  My heart broke.  Not!!!!  It wasn't fair!  I followed the updates through his friends and coworkers, and was pleased to finally hear that Al's surgery was successful and he was on the road to recovery.  That was in July 2011.

You can imagine how surprised I was when Al contacted me in October....only 4 months after having much of his colon removed and still recovering from cancer....and asked me if I would help him in a project. 

While recovering from colon cancer, Al had decided that he was going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

www.operationtanzania.comMe:  You're going to do WHAT?!?
Al:  I'm going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in January.  Isn't that great?!
Me:  Why in the world would you do that?
Al:  To help raise money to drill wells in Tanzania.  It 
was weighing so heavy on me, and I've decided to use my new lease on life to do something to help others.  Children are dying every day in Tanzania from lack of water, and they don't have the equipment to drill their own wells.  At first I thought I'd try to raise money to drill a well for a village.  Then I decided it made more sense to just raise money to buy a well-drilling rig so they could drill MANY wells.  Can you help me?

I was shocked!  Part of me wanted to tell him he absolutely could not, and SHOULD not, be doing this.  Not now.  He's still healing!  But in the end, I decided if Al Pulis can climb Mt. Kilimanjaro while recovering from Stage 3 colon cancer, then the least I could do was build him a website to help raise awareness.  Of course I would help him.

www.operationtanzania.comAl enlisted the help of some friends from his church and we met to discuss the details of the trip.  I saw Al's enthusiasm for this project, and couldn't help but be inspired.  Al is paying his own way for him and his wife.  He insists on every penny going towards the purchase of the equipment.  While working with Al on the website, I learned that he is turning 70 years old next year!  Once again, I wanted to shout at him that he could not, and SHOULD not, be doing this.  Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is an extraordinary feat for a young, healthy man.  I do NOT like the idea of Al taking this risk, but I also realized that holding him back would do more than harm him would crush his spirit.  His spirit is what I love about him the most.

www.operationtanzania.comI think about Al and his quiet presence, and I wonder how many times he has been overlooked and undervalued by others during his life, and I wonder just how many people have missed what an amazing person he is.  I can't recall ever having met someone in my own lifetime who was willing to put their own life and livelihood at risk for the benefit of others to this extent.  But for Al, it is never the recognition he will's about the benefit he can provide to others.  He may be a quiet man, but his heart speaks volumes.  This world would be a beautiful place if everyone had a little "Al Pulis" in them.

If you would like to help donate to Al's mission, you may visit the website at, or donate by using the links provided on this page.  I hope you will help me in making Al's dream come true.

Contact Lina Robertson Jones



 About the author:  I am full-time REALTOR® with RE/MAX Solutions in Springfield, MO, and a member of the Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS®.  I have helped hundreds of families in the Springfield, Nixa, Republic and Ozark real estate markets, whether buying a home, or selling a home.  Visit my website  to search for All Springfield MO Area MLS listings.  Want to know what our market is like?  My website is also an excellent resource for current Springfield MO Area Real Estate Market Reports, as well as current market reports for Ozark, Nixa, Republic, and Rogersville.



Comment balloon 6 commentsLina Robertson • November 30 2011 11:58PM


Now that is an inspiration and free giving of one's self.  How wonderful that you know Al and can help him in his project which in the end really benefits others who don't have water.  Oh my how we take water for granted!

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s) almost 7 years ago

Oh, Marilyn!  I wish you could meet him in person.  I'm so worried that I haven't fully captured how awesome he really is.  He's so quiet and unassuming, yet the most giving person I've ever known,  :)

Posted by Lina Robertson, REALTOR® Serving Springfield, Nixa and Ozark, MO (RE/MAX Solutions and RE/MAX House of Brokers) almost 7 years ago

What a selfless story, Lina. Thanks for sharing AL with us...

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co.) almost 7 years ago

Wow Lina! What a story. He is truly a great selfless man. Thinking of others while in recovery.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) almost 7 years ago

Mike and Loreena - When you finally take me up on my offer and come to Branson for a great vacation, you will have the chance to meet Al.  He's such a good man!  You will fall in love with him instantly!  :)


Posted by Lina Robertson, REALTOR® Serving Springfield, Nixa and Ozark, MO (RE/MAX Solutions and RE/MAX House of Brokers) almost 7 years ago

Nicely written, Lina!   Such a nice couple.   I hope he has much success in his journey

Posted by Yvonne Burdette-Van Camp, "Home"work, I have the Answers! (To Buy and Sell Real Estate, see me at Southwest Missouri Realty) almost 7 years ago