Realtors honored: Award recognizes 40-year-plus veterans

Twenty-one area Realtors were presented with Realtor Emeritus awards at a Brownsville-South Padre Island Board of Realtors luncheon on Thursday at Rancho Viejo.

A Realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Only Realtors who have been NAR members for at least 40 years are eligible for the Realtor Emeritus honor.

Travis Kessler, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Realtors, presented the awards.

Recognized as Realtors Emeritus Thursday were Estella Balli, with 44 years as an NAR member; Cecilia Barnard, 51 years; Sheila Barreda, 44 years, Mary Lou Bewley, 41 years; Andy Cortez, 44 years; Keith Cummins, 55 years; Joann Cummins, 52 years; and Mariano Garcia, 46 years.

Also honored were Agustin Lopez, 42 years; Mary McGowan, 44 years; Micaela Moncivaiz, 42 years; Tom Moses, 43 years; Mary Moses, 44 years; Joe Nunez, 42 years; Nilo Ortiz, 43 years; Henry Rivas, 43 years; Josie Rojano, 41 years; Carlos St. Clair, 47 years; Peggy Steinbach, 46 years; Irma Walk, 42 years; and Marlys Zapata, with 42 years as a member of NAR.

Kessler noted during the presentation that surviving 40 years worth of industry ups and downs is an accomplishment in itself.

“Since that time they have seen no fewer than three economic recessions, two of which ended many of the careers of real estate practitioners,” he said. “No person of average character could have maintained their real estate licenses and a business through any of these recessions.

“They were selling houses in a time when interest rates were extremely high (and) employment was extremely scarce. They were resourceful and they persevered in some of our toughest times in the industry. Of the millions of people who have taken the Realtor oath of office through the generations, very few ever achieve the honor and distinction for which we’re going to recognize you today.”