Caroline Farmer is a young professional who recognizes the worth of others not just through her work, but her personal life. It is a trait which has served her well.
The 26-year-old is an independent mortgage lender at Kwest Mortgage in Orangeburg, serving hundreds of clients in the local community and across the state.
She said she views her clients as more than just a way to earn a paycheck. To her, it is much more personal because she enjoys recognizing their value as people who may be one of the biggest purchases of their lifetime.
She also loves her community and fosters a spirit of volunteerism that allows her to extend her helping hand beyond her business.
It is her recognition of the worth of others that has earned her designation as the example of respect as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative.
It is an honor which took the Clemson University graduate by surprise.
“It was totally unexpected, but I feel very appreciative. People thought I was crazy for leaving my high-paid salary job to come to a mortgage start-up company here in Orangeburg, but it’s been a blessing,” Farmer said.
She said she enjoys helping people with their finances and home purchasing and loves the Orangeburg community.
“I have respect for their goals and personal situations, and I really try to get to know what their long-term financial goals are and how purchasing a home is going to help them in their long-term plan,” Farmer said.
She added, “We’re trying to create customers for life.”
Farmer said Orangeburg is a great central location from which to work.
“Being located in Orangeburg gives me great access to the whole state. I originate mortgages in Greenville, Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach, so being in Orangeburg allows me to get to where I need to go in one day,” Farmer said.
She said having respect for her local community has benefited her, too.
“I grew up here and am raising my child here. Orangeburg faces its challenges but with what I’ve gotten involved with, I really do see the potential for our community,” Farmer said.
Farmer is chairperson of the Orangeburg Young Professionals and is a member of the Orangeburg Junior Service League’s provisional class and the Edisto Clemson Club. The 2013 Orangeburg Leadership graduate is also an OCCOC “connector.”
As an OCCOC connector, Farmer said she is one of several “worker bees” that carry out the organization’s mission of spreading good character throughout the community. She assists with the OCCOC Fifth Grade Program, for example, and recently helped put on an Easter program at the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in Orangeburg.
“I have respect for this community. A lot of people feel they have to travel to Charleston or Columbia to do things socially, but that’s not true. My goal as chairperson of the Orangeburg Young Professionals is to reach the young people in this community,” Farmer said.
She attributes the trait of respect to her parents and her professional mentor, Kwest Mortgage owner Rodney Tumbleston.
“My parents taught me to work hard and to respect what you’re doing. Rodney kind of taught me how to learn to respect your clients as more than a paycheck, but as a lifelong customer,” Farmer said.
She and her husband, Justin, a teacher and offensive coordinator at Calhoun County High School, live in St. Matthews. They are the parents of a 10-month-old son.
Farmer said she plans to instill the value of respect in her young son. You can never start too early, she said.
“No matter how involved I am or how much business I get, my main concern in life is to raise my child to be the best person he can be by respecting others and respecting himself and what he does,” Farmer said.