WOODINVILLE, Wash. — There's no challenge Barry Long won't take on. He's bungee-jumped, he's skydived, he's background around the world. Life has always been an adventure for him - even when, one day, life took a turn.
On Feb. 10, 1991, Long crashed his motorcycle. The accident paralyzed him, sent him to the hospital, and required him to use a wheelchair. But as he recovered in the hospital, he found an opportunity.
"When I got out of the hospital, I started talking to kids about making choices," Long says. "And next thing I know, I'm doing keynotes for corporations around the country. And it turned into a lifetime public speaking career."
His public speaking company Talk and Roll has taken him all around the world, where he gives motivational speeches for major corporations. And while he was traveling around the world, he just so happened to have an audience at Sotheby's International Realty.
"And while we were all discussing real estate, I just brought up the fact that real estate is not very friendly [for people with disabilities]," says Long. "It's really hard to find homes that are accessible. It's hard to sell homes that are accessible. So I just kind of made fun of them and made a little joke - it was like, 'hey, why don't you guys fix it'. Well, be careful what you ask for. Because about three weeks later, I was having lunch with the owner of Marketplace Sotheby's."
That's how Barry Long became both a motivational speaker and a real estate agent - working with another broker to create "Able Environments", a partnership dedicated to pairing accessible homes with those who need them.
"What we've been able to do now is, we've been able to set a system aside to have a subset for accessibility," Long says. "So when somebody is looking for a house, now they can look for a two-bedroom, three-bath that also has an accessible bathroom."
With a life as busy as Long's, he relies on Harborstone Credit Union.
"I's actually literally 25 feet away from my office's front door," Long says.
Harborstone's commitment to strong relationships, as well as diversity and inclusion, is what makes a big difference.
"They've all become friends of mine now," Long says. "And Harborstone is one of my partners in this whole project."
With Harborstone's support, Long can concentrate on what he does best.
"I think one of the most rewarding aspects of what I do is being an advocate, because for one, I have a voice, and for two, I'm not afraid to use it, and for three, I'm not afraid to stick my foot in the door, and you know, see where it's gonna get me."
And suffice to say, it's gotten him farther than he ever imagined.