The Greater Texoma Association of Realtors celebrated the 50th anniversary of its charter during last week’s Installation and Awards Banquet. GTAR is an organization dedicated to providing members with the tools to achieve success, promoting and enforcing the Realtor code of ethics and being a champion for private property rights within the community.

GTAR Association Executive Lindsay Wright said the organization was created in 1968. In her speech at the banquet, she highlighted the vast changes in real estate since its creation.

“In 1968, GTAR had 13 members,” Wright said. “How many of you can imagine selling real estate without a cellphone or without MLS? It happened. Nineteen sixty-eight was also the year that Phillip Morris introduced the first cigarette targeting women — Virginia Slims. Their marketing campaign included a phrase that sums up real estate for the last 50 years — ‘We’ve come a long way, baby.’”

To celebrate this achievement, the banquet featured a passing of the gavel with past presidents. In attendance were — 1974’s Helen Osteen, 1976’s Dean Gilbert, 1994’s Jo Carolyn Hicks, 1995’s Fran Schultz- Biscoe, 2000’s Mack Broiles, 2004’s Norman Gordon, 2006’s Sherry Smith, 2009’s Jenel McGrath, 2011’s Stacey Olmstead, 2012’s Ken Taylor, 2014’s Angel Titsworth, 2015’s Elena Jackson, 2016’s Ben Vincent and 2017’s Marie Ward.

Wright also mentioned in her speech that beyond the anniversary there were many other reasons to celebrate.

“Tonight, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our charter, our 2017 accomplishments as an association, our incoming and outgoing Board of Directors and all our 2017 award winners,” Wright said. “You can see everyone in the room tonight has something to celebrate.”

The event took place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Denison with attendees dressed in vintage formal attire to match the banquet’s “Roaring Twenties” theme. Decor including a classic car showpiece created the ambiance for “A Night of Vintage Glamour.”

Attendees enjoyed a steak dinner as speakers payed homage to the many accomplishments of individual members and the organization as a whole. The awards presentations, speakers and ceremonies were followed by dancing and celebration.

Included in the award for the evening were: Devoted Service - Mark Tooley, Virginia Cook Realtors; Outstanding Volunteer of the Year - Rhonda Salicos, Easy Life Realty; Educational Leadership - Michelle Castle, Guild Mortgage Company; Distinguished Leadership Service - Jenel McGrath, Jenel McGrath Realtors; Lifetime Achievement - Norman Gordon, Virginia Cook Realtors; Affiliate of the Year - McCullough & Pierson Insurance; Rookie of the Year - Shanda Palmer, ReMax Signature Properties; and Realtor of the Year - Evan Martin, ReMax Signature Properties.