PAAR Awards Six Central Illinois Realtors for Acheivements

by Natalie Terchek



The Peoria Area Association of Realtors (PAAR) recognized six central Illinois Realtors who have been instrumental in local real estate, and honored them for their achievements.

The biggest award was given to John Purple of RE/MAX Unlimited, who won the PAAR 2013 Realtor of the Year. This award is given to a PAAR member that made outstanding contributions to the real estate profession and to the local and state associations.

Purple is currently the President of the PAAR Board of Directors and has been involved with the Association since the early 1990s. He has served on many Association committees, including the Finance/Executive Committee, Broker-Attorney Committee, Membership Committee, Contracts Committee, Risk Reduction Committee, MLS Committee and the Building Task Force. He also chaired the Governmental Affairs and Professional Standards Committee, and was involved in various committees at the Illinois Association of Realtors.

Purple graduated from Bradley University and served his country in the Coast Guard and as a member and commander of the American Legion. He is active in his community, participating in a charity program in Spring Bay called “No Tears for Christmas,” and has been President of the Izaak Walton League, and involved in the League for the past 20 years.

The Industry Achievement Award was given to Linda Kepple of Keller Williams Premier Realty. This award recognizes a Realtor who has achieved significant accomplishments in the real estate industry. Starting her real estatea career at a point when the industry had double-digit interest rates, Kepple achieved immediate sales success and was an earl pioneer of the “buyer specialist concept,” expanding the use of teams in real estate selling. She also introduced a new brokerage business model to Peoria incorporating education, career building and business ownership, with the start of her own business in 2006.

The Outstanding Association Service Award was given to Kerry Kidwell. The award recognizes an individual for exceptional volunteer contributions and dedication to the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. In addition to being a Realtor and past-president of the Bloomington-Normal association, Kidwell held numerous committee chairmanships during his 25+ years as a real estate professional. Kidwell is being recognized for his years of service as a dedicated real estate educator and leadership in the PAAR classrooms. Most recently, he helped Realtor members across the state complete their license transition and specifically assisting the PAAR members complete the requirements.

The Rookie of the Year award was given to Patti Smith of Jim Maloof Realty for her achievement in high sales production and enthusiasm for the industry. Smith joined PAAR in September of 2011 and reached high sales achievements in just under a year. Other accomplishments include receiving her MBA from Bradley University in 2010, and WEEk’s 25-Woman in Leadership recipient in 2007.

The Distinguished Member for Community Service Award was given to Rhonda Milburn, Realtor/Broker at Keller Williams Premier Realty. In addition to being a successful Realtor, Milburn has been actively involved in many charitable causes, including founding member of the Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria, Multiple Sclerosis Society Board Member (coordinating the Marti Gras Fundraiser Event), AAP Shining Star Award Recipient, and many others.

The Affiliate of the Year award was given to Linda Turner, Mortgage Consultant of Heritage Bank of Central Illinois. The award recognizes an individual that is actively involved in the real estate industry and provides valuable service and support to members of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. Turner was recognized for being enthusiastically involved in PAAR committees and events, including Affiliate Education, Equal Housing, Housing Opportunity Committees and a Mortgage Fraud Task Force. In addition, she has been involved with PAAR’s home buyer and seller seminars for many years and actively supported PAAR events.

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