Past presidents who led the Carbon County Association of Realtors to success for the past 30 years were honored during the 30th annual dinner held Friday at the Blue Ridge Country Club.

The organization was formed to unite, educate and assist the local realtors of Carbon County, noted Kathy Henderson, associate executive. The organization has gone from 13 initial members to presently 102 members.

Henderson served as master of ceremonies for the evening. She noted that Gene Durigan and Wilbur Person, former members of the Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors; and Vince Gilotti were among the past presidents attending the event who were the founders of the Carbon County Association of Realtors and without their insight, the group would still be traveling to Monroe County for meetings, networking and training. Also assisting with founding the Association were Luther Getz and George Shinsec, who have since passed away.

Henderson the role of the realtor is still very important in bringing people and homes together to help people fulfill the American dream of owning their own home.

Henderson said realtors today use Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and computers to help them stay connected with their clients in a way that was unheard of when the Association formed.

Among the past presidents who attended the event were: Eugene Durigan, 1979, first president; he served in 1979 and 1980; Wilbur Person, 1983; Vincent Gilotti, 1986; Hugh Dugan, 1987; Eva Dugan, 1993 and 1998; Carol (Meeker) Graves, 1996 and 1997; Susan Decker, 2001, 2002 and 2003; Gail Christman, 2004; Pamela Hawk, 2005 and 2006; Maggie Dugan, 2007 and 2008 and Pamela Gothard, 2009 and 2010.

Many of the past presidents attended the event and told stories about some of the dealings they had to do to complete contracts.

Person said that one of his memories was showing a home in Penn Forest Stream. He said he was inside the home where he was checking the property when three state police troopers came inside because the owner had not turned off the alarm. He said he had to have his secretary assure the troopers that he was who he was and was supposed to be there.

Hugh Dugan had the most unusual story to tell. He said that while many times realtors have to fix light fixtures or purchase a refrigerator or stove to complete a sale, his most unusual purchase was a Corvette. He noted that the owner was $12,000 short and did not want to sell the car, but that it was an asset that could help him buy a home. Dugan said he purchased the car for $12,000 and kept it without driving it for a year until the man could buy it back at the same price.

Decker said that during her three years as Association president, the office was moved from a small office to the present location. She said that realtors are Internet (multi-list service) based.

"People can sit at home and see every home available all over the country," said Decker. "We also use electronic lock boxes, which has saved us from running all over to pick up keys." Decker said that the new technology is unbelievable, but that sometimes its hard to remember all the passwords, codes and phone numbers needed for business.

"We still have to deal with the people who want a three bedroom home, two bathrooms, a view and two car garage, who don't want to pay more than $90,000," she said. "We have our challenges but our Association has survived. Not only survived, flourished."

Christman said that her year as president flew by without anything unusual happening, but she said her most unusual experience as a realtor was the time she had a new listing to visit and found pigeons in the cupboards and the home in total disrepair. She said her husband had to shovel out the sunroom where the previous owner had laid down layers of newspaper for her dog to use instead of going outdoors.

Hawk said that when the during some years the Association had no funds and had to rob Peter to pay Paul, but that now the Association has money.

"The Carbon County Association of Realtors is doing well," said Hawk. "We are prosperous. We are still doing service to humanity by helping their achieve the American Dream of owning their own home."

As part of the evening's agenda, new officers and board of directors were installed by Bob Hay, 2008 Pennsylvania Assocation of Realtors president. Officers for 2010 are: Pamela Gothard, president; Darla Kravetz, president-elect; Joan Muniz, secretary; and Eugene Mulligan, treasurer; and board of directors: three years, Kimberly Rabenold and Lisa Sawyer; two years, James Zurn and Catherine Chies; and one year, Gail Christman and Marie Obert.

Hay noted that realtors are a valuable resource for people who are working through the jungle of paperwork to buy a home.

"Your role is changing, but your are very important to people who want a home of their own," said Hay.