It’s hard to go anywhere on the Treasure Coast and not see signs of Patrick Stracuzzi— both literally and figuratively. The real estate magnate is known far and wide for his market prowess, his thousands of satisfied clients and his philanthropy. He often wears a hat emblazoned with the word “lucky,” but if you ask Stracuzzi about whether he attributes his success to pure luck, it becomes apparent he has an attitude of gratitude that also plays a role. In fact, he suffered life-threatening health challenges that might have brought a lesser man to his knees, and a home invasion some years back that made Stracuzzi look at every day as a supreme gift.
Was being a businessman always easy for you, or was there a learning curve?
My life has definitely been a learning process. I borrowed $5,000 to get started in the real estate business, and it was not easy. I was reckless, and I asked for help getting out of a difficult business situation. I distinctly remember days and days of knocking on doors trying to get listings and getting doors slammed in my face over and over. I was one door away from giving up—I mean really giving up and calling it quits, and I asked God for a sign. I won’t say I bargained with God, but I did believe that I needed help and agreed to pay it forward, give freely and help others. I decided to force myself to knock on one more door. A woman answered, listened, turned to her husband and said, “Honey, look at this. We were just talking about selling our home, and here a realtor showed up.” That happened to the next house, and the next house. Just from that painful door-knocking and that last bit of surrender and fearlessness, it comes through.
How did you become philanthropic?
I think my brother and I are the kinds of people who would give the shirts off our backs. We were raised that way. Our mother just gave us a tremendous amount of love, and I think we were just so filled with the knowledge of our mom’s love that it became part of us.
After a serious accident that cost me my health, and nearly my life—and bankrupted my family completely—I remember getting to a point where I was a mess. My family was out of food stamps; I couldn’t provide for them. We were hungry. I was humiliated, and I felt I had nowhere to go. Lying on a couch someone had given us in charity, I remember putting out my arms and saying, “God, you took everything. I can’t fight this anymore. I have nothing left to lose. I am yours.” Suddenly, someone knocked on the door, and it was a church bringing us food. That kind of thing has happened over and over again, and I believe when you get to the end of your rope and want to quit, if you ask for the help, God comes through for you in the most magical way.
What is a memory you can share about a time you felt you made a difference?
I am reminded of a situation a few years back where a husband tried to take his own life out of guilt because he couldn’t afford the mortgage on their home. It was during that time when mortgages were being given out, which should never have been given in the first place. There was no way the man could afford that mortgage, and the bank was taking their home away. I said, “Stop feeling guilty for being a victim of a situation. Let’s turn this victim into a victory.” Months later, I got a Christmas picture of the entire family looking up at the sky, thanking me for helping get them through it. Every day I live believing that as long as it is authentic, it is possible.