St. John Properties owner B.J. Harris was honored with the 2012 Realtor of the Year award in a ceremony aboard the glass bottomed vessel Discovery on Saturday, October 22, during the Virgin Islands Association of Realtors annual meeting.
Harris became only the second realtor in the territory to be honored with the award twice. She was first recognized with the Realtor of the Year award in 1997.
“It was such an honor,” Harris said about the award. “It really is just a huge honor. The best part is that at the National Association of Realtors meeting in November I get to walk across the stage waving a Virgin Islands flag with a Miss America-type sash saying ‘Virgin Islands Realtor of the Year.’”
The honor is not handed out lightly and part of the consideration in naming Realtor of Year is a person’s community involvement, explained Harris.
“The award is a state designation for the national association,” she said. “You have to provide or have shown leadership on the local, the state and the national level. You also have to be a community activist.”
As the St. John Animal Care Center president for the third time, treasurer of the Rotary Club of St. John, immediate past president of the St. John Board of Realtors for the third time and president of the V.I. Board of Realtors four times, Harris certainly passes the community activism test.
Governor John deJongh was the guest speaker at the VI Association of Realtors annual meeting, which was hosted on board Discovery as the vessel cruised off shore of St. John.
“The governor’s address was very well received,” said Harris. “He spoke about realtors being entrepreneurs and how the market is coming up again and how we all we all are pulling together to make that happen.”
The governor also shared some comic relief during his remarks when Discovery cruised past Carvel Rock, Harris explained.
“We were going past Carvel Rock so close if you had a boat hook you could have reached out and touched it,” she said. “I was sitting next to the governor and I saw a bunch of people looking out the window. I turned and looked and Carvel Rock was just right there.”
“I tugged on the governor’s sleeve and he looked out the window and back at the group and, ‘you’re not going to leave me here, are you,’” said Harris.
Not only did the realtors not leave the governor stranded on Carvel Rock, the group accepted deJongh’s gratitude for its recent $50,000 donation to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority, which is already being put to good use, explained Harris.
“The governor thanked us and congratulated us on the $50,000 we gave to VIHFA,” said Harris. “And the best part of that is that we’ve got our first two recipients of the VIHFA loans who are both St. John residents buying houses at Calabash Boom.”