The Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS Inc. presented a special award from the National Association of Realtors to 19 members for 40 years of service to the real estate industry as well as the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards were presented at a luncheon last month at the Buffalo Launch Club on Grand Island.
Realtor emeriti honorees this year are Josephine Badame of RealtyUSA, Judith Colvin of Century 21 Gold Standard, Shirley Donnelly of WNY Metro Simme, Clayton Ertel of RealtyUSA, Joseph and Lois Gerace of Bob Harris Realty LLC, Peter Gfoerer of Hartwood Real Estate, Lewis Kline of Great Lakes Real Estate, Joni Korus of RealtyUSA, Ann Kwitchoff of Cipriano Inc., Margaret Lombard of WNY Metro Roberts Realty, Charles Longo of Great Lakes Real Estate, Kenneth Mulhall of WNY Metro Sandra Lee Wirth, William Pfeil of Triton Realtors, Victor Przybyl of Stovroff & Taylor, Lorraine Redlinski of Hunt Real Estate ERA, Leonard Rinallo of Hooper Realty, Joseph Whittington of Northeastern Appraisal and Toni Young of Hunt Real Estate ERA. Attending the event to share congratulations were more than 25 past Realtor emeriti.
BNAR's very first Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Mary Ann Kustich, WNY Metro Roberts Realty. Most recently, she too joined the ranks of Realtor emeritus. Kustich was one of BNAR's centennial honorees in 1994 because of her significant contributions of time, energy and devotion to the association. Kustich also has fulfilled every officer position with the BNAR and became the first woman president in 1990.
Throughout the years she has always been an active salesperson and earned the BNAR Sales Award. She was the first member to receive the Buffalo Award from BNAR for outstanding service for being the creator and founder of the annual Agents' Day and Trade Show. She received it once again for being BNAR's historian and parliamentarian. In 1994, she was named BNAR Realtor of the Year.
Kustich has done much for the association and its members. Besides serving on many committees (with many chairwomanships), she was the creator and author of a "Blue Book" for BNAR, which included bylaws, rules, policies, code of ethics, and contact information for each member of the BNAR. She also was responsible for the initiation and completion of the "BNAR Champion Map Book," which included all of the MLS areas. Kustich was even part of the travelling team to Rochester and successfully joined Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse for the first computerized MLS system.
Besides BNAR, Kustich was also a charter member of Western New York Real Estate Information Services (MLS) board of managers and was instrumental in writing its bylaws and membership agreement
NAR and BNAR have honored a total of 75 Realtor emeriti throughout the years. Awardees were presented with a lapel pin from the National Association of REALTORS, which will be worn with pride for their dedication to the real estate profession.
"BNAR is proud to honor these individuals. Their passion and commitment to the real estate industry for so many years makes them remarkable role models," said John B. Leonardi, BNAR CEO.
Kustich received a separate award ceremony at the event and was given a Crystal American Flag from the association. Presenters of the award were good friends and fellow realtors Margaret Hartman and William Horohoe.
"Mary Ann is the 'godmother' of real estate," stated Louis Vinci, 2013 BNAR president. "Her undying energy, enthusiasm and sincerity of service are always 100 percent for our association and our profession, and she is well deserving of this award."
The Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS is one of more than 1,300 local boards and associations that comprise the National Association of REALTORS. As the nation's largest trade association, NAR is "The Voice for Real Estate," representing more than 1 million members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.
For a list of local real estate professionals and/or our REALTOR emeriti, call the BNAR at 636-9000 or visit www.bnar.org.