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Chorey serves quietly

If ever there were an epitome of behind-the-scenes community service in Suffolk, it would be Billy Chorey Sr.

The real estate agent and Suffolk native serves on the boards of several local clubs, trusts and foundations dedicated to helping the Suffolk community. In addition, he helps by serving at his church, making people laugh and running his business on the highest principles of virtue.

“I have the philosophy that life is so short,” Chorey said. “I like to make people laugh.”

The University of Virginia graduate says he feels it is his duty to give back after having been so richly blessed.

“I’ve been blessed to be busy in a stupid market,” Chorey said of the current housing business. “I’ve been so blessed in my life that I feel like it’s almost my obligation to help others, and I like doing that.”

Chorey was the caretaker for his mother, who passed away in October 2009 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. During that time, he says, he partially withdrew from his busy schedule of community service to be by her side.

“I’ve kind of withdrawn from a lot of the stuff,” he said. “I was her caretaker. She was a saint.”

However, Chorey is looking forward to gradually getting back into the flow of things. He serves with the Suffolk Rotary Club, which raises money throughout the year to give to numerous charities.

“It’s a great bunch of guys and gals giving money to charities,” Chorey said. “It’s the only place I’ve seen where grown men will throw rolls at each other.”

Chorey also is on the board of the Birdsong Trust, which gives money to Suffolk charities from a pot of money the Birdsong family has set aside. The Red Cross, Genieve Shelter and Salvation Army all have benefited from the family’s largesse in recent years.

“I’m blessed to be in an organization that helps others, that has money to do that,” Chorey said.

Chorey also serves on the board of the ACCESS College Foundation, a Norfolk-based group that helps people achieve their goal of attending college.

“It’s an organization that really makes a difference,” Chorey said. “You know that you’re helping people to go to college.”

Chorey is helping people in the business realm, as well. He serves on the board of the local Better Business Bureau, helping to maintain high principles of business in the area.

Even his customers benefit from Chorey’s generosity. Being in the real estate business these days also catapults him into the role of therapist.

“Buyers are scared,” Chorey said. “I’m dealing with a lot of psychological stuff. I’ve become sort of a counselor.”

Despite the market, Chorey says he enjoys his job.

“I love what I do,” Chorey said. “I like to help people. I enjoy helping people sell their homes.”

His employees agree.

“He’s excellent to work with and for,” said Faith Ashley, the office manager and assistant broker at Chorey and Associates Realty. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here for 30 years.”

Ashley said Chorey’s character makes his employees look forward to coming to work.

“He’s a fantastic person, and I don’t know anybody that can say anything bad about him,” she said.

Suffolk’s mayor, a real estate agent herself, says Chorey is “good to the soul.”

“He has built his business and his life on a high level of integrity,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said.

Katherine Pond, a friend of Chorey’s mother, has known him since he was a boy, she said.

“Billy Chorey is as nice a person as ever took a breath of air,” Pond said. “I just think he’s first-class.”