The Guardians of McClure Middle School

Good morning Ron and Don  Nation,

I don’t know about you, but through the course of the pandemic, I have looked for ways to stay engaged with the community.  Wether it was delivering masks in the early days of the pandemic, or trying to talk through some of the difficult times we have all faced by having conversations on our podcast about mental health. I have tried to keep this event from becoming trauma for my son and the people around me that I care about. 

That is why I recently go so mad at myself when I did a pretty ignorant and dumb thing……

Since our kids have gone back to school, I have enjoyed once again driving my 11 year old to school because it gives us time to talk about  important things like;

  • “Daddy which super power would you want most of all if you were to join  THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ?”  
  • or “Daddy where did I come from?”  Yep, that happened!
  • or  “Daddy , you do such a good job cleaning up your job sites….when do you think we should clean up my school?”


The truth is, every morning when I have been dropping my son off at school , I often times pull away from the curb wondering how the hell he learns anything in such a run down institution. 

Compared to his Elementary School, let’s just say  I have had a hard time believing they are both in the Seattle Public School District.  With that said, not only has his Elementary School been remodeled, it is currently being remodeled again!  The campus is amazing.   When you pull up to my sons middle school on Queen Anne, you can’t even read the name of the school on its placard out in the court yard.  LOOK AT THIS PICTURE:

Many mornings I have driven away in disgust all while playing this tape in my head that says “Why does this school look so hammered when I pay so much in property taxes.  (Property taxes in Seattle are some of the highest in the country because we don’t pay a state income tax here).

Then I would go down the mental rabbit hole of what a S$%^%^&* -hole our parks have become, many of our schools have become, and BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Then I would return to my Queen Anne home that has gone up over a million dollars in value since I bought it because we are an Amazon neighborhood. And I do nothing about it.

And boy did I not feel better about myself or the situation.

And then my son asked me that question….”Daddy, when do you think we should clean up my school?”

“DAMN”, I thought….this 11 year old is pounding his Old Man with some wisdom.  When were we going to clean up his school…..????

And so it began.

I started looking at pictures of his school when it was built in 1962 (Here is a rendering)..  I then called my friend Colby Wallace whose kids go to my son’s school as well.  We reached out to the administration and they told us to go for it….but they were also afraid that no one would come to help.  They shared that many parents get involved with their kids when they are in Elementary School. but as kids get older, parents volunteer less and less.

Shiznit!!!  They were talking about me.  

We sent our an email asking for 20 volunteers….I was hoping for at least 8 knowing that people commit to things and then often get busy and can’t show up….

We grabbed my partner Joe’s truck, a bunch of tools , pressure washers, saws, blowers, and lots of snacks….

And on one of the worst days in Seattle weather history……..

Here is what happened …….

(This is the email I sent to the PTA)


61 volunteers including kids!

9000 pounds of garbage , leaves , trees , and debris

The crew pressure washed the quad for 7 hours straight as well as raked leaves, ran saws, pruned bushes, and  hauled away part of the tree that blew down. They filled over 125 contractor bags!

All dump fees and supplies were donated by the parents. That labor and clean up would have cost 5000 dollars if we called in a crew I use in my real estate business.

And all of this in one of the worst days of weather this year.

It was great to meet you Joy and feel your energy.

Hopefully this is only the beginning.

Do we have a facebook group set up for volunteering? 

We would like to paint the cyclone fence next year, replace all the benches with benches painted school colors, and we’d like to paint and plant.

Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this special day.

I think there are lots of parents that will come forward to help bring the grounds of  McClure Middle School back to its former glory. 

Thank you,

Don and Colby

(Maverick Dads)

So there it is…..

There is an old adage in ancient scripture that says “that the children will lead us”.

I may not be a GUARDIAN OF THE GALAXY , but I do have a few tools lying around…..

And on this day all 61 of us were GUARDIANS OF McCLURE MIDDLE SCHOOL.

And we look forward to being back on patrol next Spring.

So what’s your super power???

We love all of you.

Thanks for letting us be your realtors, your broadcasters, and your friends.

Love and respect, 


Don O’Neill is a Licensed Agent at
Windermere Real Estate Midtown
1920 North 34th Street
Seattle, WA 98103

Big shout out to Shannon Conner, principal of McClure middle school for her thank you note!

Good morning.  Just returning from my leave to find this wonderment in my email inbox and witnessed on our (now) beautiful grounds that I can see first-hand from my office window.  THANK YOU SO MUCH for leading this above-and-beyond volunteer crusade for our school.  I am so very grateful…and the turn-out was bigger than any I have seen in my nine years here at McClure!

Thank you again!! 

Shannon Conner
Principal, McClure Middle School

When Don is not behind a microphone, you might find him helping clients shop for properties to buy, invest, or sell. As an active investor, Don seeks out properties for long term investments. Schedule Your Sit Don with Ron today!

9 thoughts on “The Guardians of McClure Middle School

  1. THIS!!!!
    Is what community is all about!
    I love how G-Force is an amazing guardian of his realm.
    He truly cares about the world around him. And that goes to show he has had a wonderful teacher in you Don.
    Blessings to you both.

  2. Don,
    This made me cry out loud. This is what is called being a part of the solution and not part of the problem. What an amazing gift you and those parents are to their children. I am deeply inspired and moved by all of your actions. Great job!!! We hear so much bad news, I really needed to hear this today.
    Xoxo Leslie

  3. I have followed you since radio, really miss that show. I have great grandkids, don’t live in the Seattle area. I think it’s important that parents know they don’t need money to be involved in their children’s school. You’re an amazing dad.
    Single parents never get the praise they deserve.

  4. I have tears in my eyes reading this😭 Amazing what a few volunteers can do especially if asked nicely🤗🤩

  5. Don, You are a great person, always self reflecting and striving to be the best human, and father, you can be. It is with this sincere compliment that I hope you take my cynicism in stride. Were there any teachers or administrative staff that volunteered? You can’t use full time work as an excuse, because you work twice over and other parents work as well. Second, where exactly is the increased revenue from higher property taxes going? In addition to paying an obscene amount of taxes every single year on an asset you haven’t sold, they want parents to be groundskeepers? I think volunteering is great. This, however, seems like an abuse by the public school system- let things deteriorate until…. there is leadership in the community? Again, you guys did a great job, but the school needs to be accountable as well.

  6. Wow Don, you & G-Force, are really unbelievable! I’m so glad I found you & Ron so many years ago, you’re both just so positive & inspiring.
    What YOU did for that school is pretty spectacular. Yes, you had help, only because of your email, nobody else took the initiative, but let’s be clear, your beautiful son, really planted the seed😀 Have a fabulous weekend!

  7. OMG! That is so cool!
    My son went to a public school, a CO-OP K-8, where the parents helped to ehance the students education. We knew what we signed up for, we volunteered in the classroom 2.5 hours per week per child. So I was so lucky to work with close to 800 parents, extended families, especially big brothers and sisters who came back to visit. Parent volunteers are so, so important to the school commnity. Yes, some are not able to volunteer often because of life, so those that can, pick up the slack. It’s what communities do. We have lost that. Don, you keep brining us back to what it important in life: humanity.
    Ciao, Carol Lewellen

  8. What a wonderful job you all did. So glad it went above your expectations. You ,Don,you Son G Force and friends are great people. God bless and take good care.

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DISCLAIMER: Ron Upshaw, Managing Broker License #22027577 & Don O’Neill, Broker License #95294 are brokers with Kelly Right Real Estate

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