The Ellis Hill Association of Realtors met Thursday evening for some Texas barbecue and to swear in and welcome their new president. Karen Buckley was named the new president, replacing Beverly James, who served for 2008.

“I want to thank Beverly James for her leadership in 2008 and I want to thank you for helping prepare me for this position,” Buckley said. “I feel our association is very strong with a wonderful group serving on committees and the board of directors. All of these people are very passionate about our association.

“I know that this past year has been hard for our economy and the real estate market, but I feel like we are fortunate to live in an area that has not suffered like others have,” she said. “I feel that it is important for us this year to be positive to ourselves and to others (because) we have so much to be thankful for.”

Buckley’s qualifications for the office include being a licensed real estate agent since 2002. She was listed as the No. 3 listing agent for Keller Williams Realty in Texas and New Mexico Region in her first year; she was also named rookie of the year for Keller Williams in 2003 and a top producer in 2005 and 2006.

James thanked all who were in attendance for the evening’s events and for all of the hard work and dedication they had put in during the past year. She also recognized the different board and committee members for their tireless efforts.

The evening’s events opened up with a prayer by George French, who thanked God for what he has done so far this year. French asked for continual guidance and direction in the choices that everyone will make.

Breaking up the evening’s activities to raise money for the organization’s scholarship fund, the Fred N. Stones, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, the group played a version of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader” that was called, “Are You Smarter Than a Realtor?” From the game, the group raised $400 that will go toward a graduating senior’s college education.

The group also gave out the different service awards for 2008.

“What an honor we have. It is a privilege to help our clients to make their dream come true of owning a home,” Claire Crabb said.

“We are also here tonight to honor to have made an impact in our organization.”

The Shirley Caldwell Award was given to Melissa McClain-Lewis of Coldwell Banker. The Spirit Award was given to Nemo Britton of Advanced Home Inspection. Affiliate of the Year was Fercina Fudge of Ellis County Abstract and Title and Realtor of the Year was awarded to Liz Taylor of Liz Taylor Real Estate.

Ellis Hill Association of Realtors’ mission is to provide members with continual education of new developments, provide a voice in government for homeownership and do community service projects with such originations as Habit for Humanity. Established in 1971, the organization has more than 400 members.

E-mail Andrew at Andrew.branca@wninews.com