Usually a night of black-tie elegance and accompanying pomp and circumstance, the 2019 edition of the recent annual awards presentation by the Golden Isles Association of Realtors was held remotely. The virtual Roaring 20s watch party was broadcast online, and a number of area Realtors and affiliates were recognized for their hard work over the course of the past year.

We’ve picked four winners and talked with them about how they sell the Golden Isles to their customers, including the unique pastimes people here enjoy and the advantages of living here.

Missy Neu, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate, was named the 2019 Realtor of the Year. She said there’s not one particular thing she tells clients, rather she asks questions of them.

“My belief is that my role is to be a trusted adviser to my clients, so the more I know about them, the more I can provide them with the information and knowledge about our community that is important to them, and helps them make the best decision based on their wants, needs and circumstances,” she said.

Neu is an avid outdoor fisherwoman and loves to go 50-100 miles offshore to pursue her catch. She touts the ocean as one of the main attractions of the area.

“Now, my husband and our whole HooNeu fishing team don’t leave our competitive sides at home as proud members o the Mercury Motors ProTeam, but it is a blessing to see the natural beauty and abundance of wildlife of the coast of Georgia by spending a day out on the ocean,” she said.

Her favorite thing about living here is the location, and cites the area’s natural beauty and resources that attract so many residents.

“Lifelong Glynn Countians, newcomers, part-timers, young families, retirees and many, many people full of passion who love and care about our community, have made the decision to live here in the Golden Isles,” said. Neu. “And then, there is the convenience of all that Jacksonville and Savannah have to offer, just an hour south and north of us, and of course, the wild blue yonder of the Atlantic Ocean to the east. As the saying goes, ‘location, location, location!’”

Margaret Butler, also of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper, received the Rookie of the Year Award from the GIAR. She immediately turns to the natural beauty of the barrier islands as the key reason to move here.

“We live in the one of the most unique places in the world,” she said. “We have a beach, marshlands, awesome fishing/boating, exceptional golfing ... the list goes on.”

It’s more than a vacation destination, she said.

“It’s a great place to live, raise your kids, retire, buy a second home, or an investment property,” Butler said. “Where else can you find all of those options? There is a place for everyone here in the Golden Isles.”

Butler and her husband Mac are the parents of two active boys, and the family loves spending time outdoors. That includes riding their bikes to the St. Simons Pier Village, and checking out all the action, and walking on the pier to see what everyone’s catch of the day is.

“We also love going out on the boat, fishing, paddle boarding, swimming at the Sea Palms pool, going to the beach,” she said. Her husband and boys also enjoy golfing. Mac Butler also coaches his boys’ baseball teams, and Margaret says she enjoys the enjoys the excitement and energy from the kids, parents, coaches and spectators.

Her favorite thing about living in the Golden Isles, she said, is watching their boys grow up in such a great community.

“Mac and I both grew up here, and want our boys to have the same positive memories (and) experiences we had,” she said. “They are living a childhood that most can only dream of. We love where we live, and we can’t imagine a better place to raise our family.”

Bill Robinson, of Coldwell Banker Access Realty, is the 2019 winner of the Dartee Gayner Community Service Award.

The weather is his No. 1 selling point, followed by information that supports rising property values and lower property taxes.

“But most of all, I tell them how friendly everyone is,” he said. “Whether I’m showing houses on St. Simons Island or in Brunswick, clients are always impressed by how everyone that just walks by you and says hello.”

Personally, Robinson enjoys riding his bike around Jekyll Island and visiting all the historic homes, followed by lunch overlooking the river or the ocean. He also enjoys playing golf at any of the area’s 11 golf courses, or attending local festivals.

His favorite thing about living in the Golden Isles, however, is the level of community involvement.

“Everyone is willing to help others in need,” he said. “You can build a house with Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at the Lions Club Camp for the Blind or just ask others to collect blankets, socks and hats for the homeless, and everyone shows up.”

To that end, Coldwell Banker Access Realty is hosting its second annual community yard sale, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 30 at 1965 Glynn Ave., in Brunswick. All proceeds will benefit the Golden Isles Veterans Village. For details, and information on how to donate, contact James Vivenio at 912-222-1063 or Robinson at 912-399-3338.

Patti Hale, of HomeStar Financial Corp., is the recipient of the 2019 Affiliate Extra Mile Award.

“Blessed” is the term she uses to describe how she feels about living in the Golden Isles.

“From beaches, to creeks and tidal rivers, marsh and wooded areas, our wildlife and beautiful scenery abound here everywhere,” she said. “Within about 15 minutes, we can hop on Interstate 95 and go just about anywhere, and we offer a slower, relaxed pace.”

Hale also said the abundance of good, local food, including seafood, seals the deal for her.

Like many other people, Hale enjoys bicycling and boating and watching the wildlife including turtles, dolphins, manatees, birds, alligators and other creatures, in the ocean and on land.

“The variety of scenery here cannot be beat,” she said.

Her favorite thing about the Golden Isles, however, is its people. A native to the area, Hale has watched the area change for 50 years.

“We have a unique opportunity to impact each other’s lives in this area, unlike some larger cities, our community is small enough to connect and work together to change things when needed,” Hale said. “I have found that we continue to rally together for the common good, and that is such a unique quality for a community, in this age of digital isolation that sometimes can occur … “