By Lanier Laney
How Will and Deena McCullough met, in Deena’s own words:
“I was driving back from visiting my dad in Vero Beach, Fa., to my home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on Dec. 30,1995. I had been traveling for about nine hours with a good hour or more of it in sync with a green Camaro. The sun was starting to set, and I was hitting a curve on I-77 with the Camaro in front of me. I could see the cropped hair cut.
Always being attracted to a buzz cut, I pulled aside of the green Camaro to check out the driver. Luckily he chose to glance over and smile, which put me on the spot of either trying to play off like I wasn’t looking or smile back and wave. Which is what I did. He beckoned me later down the road to pull off because he needed gas. Deciding I must be out of my mind, I did. I didn’t get out of my car though, credit for that! He came over to my car, my window down just a bit, with me checking him out in my side view mirror gasping “he’s so gorgeous!” He told me he wasn’t an axe murderer or anything. (Phew, I was glad we got that all cleared up!) and asked if I would get a bite to eat with him a little down the road and I did. We have been blissfully married for 14 years.”
Fast forward to 2011 and all the cute new houses in Midtown Square — or as I like to call it “McCulloughville” — where Deena and Will are the listing agents who’ve been responsible for marketing and sales in this new downtown community. The project, launched early this past summer, has been an incredible success, with only three residential properties now remaining available. Who knew a chance meeting on the interstate would help lead Beaufort out of its economic slump 14 years later, not to mention bring two wonderful new souls into the world, their kids Keara (13) and Cooper (6).
After meeting and dating, Deena followed Will back to Beaufort where he was a drill instructor at Parris Island. Deena had a degree in accounting and got a job with a local bookkeeping agency. She and Will decided Beaufort was an ideal place to call home and raise a family, so after 10 years of service, Will left the Marine Corps and together they opened a local martial arts school called “McCullough Submission Fighting.” The school did quite well and they eventually got to the point where they were able to begin purchasing investment property for themselves. Will initially got his real estate license just in order to better manage their own transactions.
But after awhile, friends began asking them to assist them with their transactions too. Pretty soon, everything snowballed and they made the decision to sell their school and pursue real estate full time. They haven’t looked back since.
Today they work together, side by side, as a real estate team at Lowcountry Real Estate.
Says Will, “We don’t do separate projects. Instead, we work as a single unit, with each of us focusing on the aspects of a given project, transaction or task that best suits our individual strengths. We’re very ‘Yin-Yang’ so this works exceptionally well for us and, as we’ve worked side by side so long together, we can pretty much look at a given task, say ‘go’ and just automatically start putting it together from our own individual perspectives. It’s a lot of fun.”
Says Will, “It’s been an absolute pleasure being responsible for the marketing and sales at Midtown Square and we both very much look forward to having the opportunity to represent comparable future projects in the local community.”
They both love Beaufort and are very happy to be Beaufortonians by choice. Says Will, “We really connect with the small town ‘everyone knows everyone’ atmosphere and very much enjoy spending time relaxing with friends — especially on and near the water. We appreciate the history, culture and climate of the Beaufort area and, having lived all over the world, could never again comprehend calling anywhere else home.”
Adds Deena, “I love living in a town where you are always going to run into someone you know but there is always a chance to meet someone new with the tourists and military regularly coming through. I love the mix of Beaufortonians coming from all parts of the country and that friends come from many different walks of life. I find it a privilege to live in this beautiful place and am happy to know that I found the town I always want to call home.”
Their daughter Keara has done competitive gymnastics and is currently a cheerleader for her school and has a natural talent for running. She is going to be competing in track this February for her school (Lady’s Island Middle). Cooper just entered kindergarten at Lady’s Island Elementary this year. “He is a genuinely kind and sweet little boy,” says Deena and a natural swimmer whom she swears must sprout gills. Keara and Cooper also love practicing martial arts with Dad. Both parents have multiple black belts, so don’t even think about crossing these two in a real estate deal.
We can all take pride that the McCulloughs chose to call Beaufort home.
Will and Deena McCullough can be reached at Lowcountry Real Estate in Beaufort Direct Line: 843-441-8286.