Michael Hughes was named Realtor of the Year by the Central Arizona Board of Realtors at its annual Christmas celebration Dec. 6.
Hughes is with Realty Executives.
He was born in Southern California and came to Arizona several years ago with his young family.
Life in Arizona started off on a rocky note, according to his wife and business teammate in Team Hughes, Deborah Hughes.
"The first evening in sunny Arizona, while resting after their journey, he woke up to find the family's U-Haul and vehicle stolen. It was never recovered."
So Hughes and his family started their new life in Arizona with just the clothes on their backs.
With that kind of start and the need to provide for his wife, who was expecting, and their oldest child, Hughes often worked two jobs, many of these in construction.
He moved to Payson in 1985 and continued to work in a variety of jobs. He was employed by area lumber companies, the Circle K, a local glass company and even cut wood for living. As a single father of three, he often had to take his children along with him on his wood cutting excursions. He also worked with area contractors in construction, building many homes and a church.
He decided to move into the real estate field, and found success, bolstered by experience in the construction industry.
Once established in the real estate community, Hughes saw a need for someone to pay attention to what was happening in the political arena in regards to the real estate business.
He is on the affordable housing committees for both the town and CABR and helped develop the Regional Affairs Committee of CABR. Through his efforts, a $250,000 grant has been obtained from the Arizona Association of Realtors to inform and educate the public about private property rights and responsibilities.
To further watch out for the real estate industry and Payson's residents, Hughes is now a candidate for the Payson Town Council.
One of his nominators wrote, "He really stands out because of his experience, his longevity in Payson, his knowledge of the political issues and of course, his sacrifice. He is like having our very own John Wayne on the real estate landscape."
The soft-spoken Hughes told his fellow Realtors he was very grateful for the honor. Later, he told the Roundup, "I am overwhelmed."
He said the grant would be used to create a variety of information programs.
"Dad has always been fair-minded, honest and true to himself," wrote his daughter, Cherilyn Hughes-Yoder.
"He has told me over and over, since childhood, that you have to rule your own life and do not let life rule you, because it will. When working, work smart not hard, not to imply hard work is not necessary, but to use your head and think things through to the end.
"Consequences are not the end result of a bad decision, but the building blocks of a well-learned lesson.
"He instilled in all of us, by example, that family is what is important in life and to cherish it all by appreciating what you have when you have it."