Patty Camerone — Manager
Ruth's Chris Steak House
To those who frequent this downtown dining establishment, ROSE recipient Patty Camerone is known affectionately as "Mama." That includes celebrity guests such at Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Jermaine O'Neal and Marco Andretti. But it also includes the anonymous folks celebrating anniversaries and birthdays, or the traveling businessmen and women simply looking for a good meal. She also kept the business going after the passing of the restaurant’s general manager. "Mama" stepped into the grief-filled void, providing leadership while consoling the staff, even though she was just as heartbroken. She also knows how to help others. During a charity silent auction, Camerone went beyond the standard autographed item and auctioned off herself as an in-home chef for an evening. She ended up generating the most proceeds, enough to make a dream come true for a child during the Make-a-Wish Telethon. Patty has worked in the restaurant industry for 30 years, the last 10 at Ruth's Chris Steak House.
Pamela Evans — Customer Service Agent
ROSE recipient Pamela Evans is a customer service agent for American Airlines and her territory often can be among the most hostile in the hospitality universe. We're talking, of course, about an airport. Whether it's helping a family negotiate security or simply being friendly and efficient, Evans has repeatedly demonstrated that she has the knack easing, if not eliminating altogether, the burdens of travel. So much so that she has received more than 50 commendations related to her work, whether as a reservationist or as a counter or gate agent. Here's just one example of her service excellence. A non-frequent flier had purchased tickets but became apprehensive about traveling. She phoned the airline to cancel the trip. Evans answered and, with patience and understanding, explained that the trip would go well, calming the flyer's nerves and easing her anxiety. She even agreed to meet the passenger when she arrived at her destination. Indeed, you could say that Hoosier hospitality often begins Pamela Evans. Evans also is active at the Julian Center and an honors student at IUPUI, where she is working to earn her bachelor's degree in tourism.
Eric Gaston — Guest Ambassador
Omni Severin Hotel
Eric Gaston began his career in service while still a teenager. In Reno, Nevada, he worked as a change clerk, waiter and concierge for many big-name entertainers, including Bob Hope, Tina Turner, Tony Orlando, Bill Cosby and James Brown. Gaston's career path then took him to Los Angeles, where furthered his education in business and eventually starting his own company. He returned to Indianapolis to raise his family and went to work for Eli Lilly operated several of his own businesses. This ROSE recipient's passion for service brought him back to the hospitality industry three years ago when he joined a downtown hotel as a guest ambassador. There, he has gone above and beyond. When a performance troupe stayed at the hotel, for example, Gaston arranged for a hair stylist and manicurist to come to the hotel. He had clothes cleaned and pressed at a nearby department store. Not long ago, a hotel guest had inadvertently discarded some valuables. Gaston took it upon himself to search through trash cans, retrieve the items, have them cleaned, and then returned to the guest. Now that is service. Eric is a Broad Ripple High School graduate and has been employed by the Omni Severin for the last three years.
Alfredo Gurrola — Waiter, Captain
Chanteclair, Holiday Inn Select Airport
Alfredo Gurrola of Chanteclair restaurant at the Holiday Inn Select Airport is a living example of the American Dream. He left his family, his friends and his job to come to Indianapolis from Mexico in 1969. He found work as a busser at Chanteclair, one of Indianapolis' finest restaurants, which then was in its infancy. Within two years, he was promoted to waiter. Increasing his knowledge in tableside preparations, he was elevated to captain in 1977. And he remains at that dining establishment to this day, 37 years after he arrived. There is no secret to his longevity. It is all based on warmth, friendliness and customer service. He doesn't just wait on his customers, he engages them in a manner that makes them feel welcome, special. It is a gift, one that has made him this establishment's most requested waiter. For birthdays, anniversaries and other special events, this ROSE recipient is recognized as the person who can add that extra special touch that will elevate the celebration into something several cuts above ordinary. Gurrola exemplifies professionalism, care, hospitality and quality of service. He also exemplifies the American dream.
Nula Harmon — Volunteer, Financial Services Manager
Indiana Sports Corporation
Jim Delany, commissioner of the Big Ten conference, has often praised the volunteer spirit he's witnessed in Indianapolis and says it's the only city that has "professional" volunteers. Perhaps the most professional of those volunteers is this ROSE Award recipient. Since 1984, Nula Harmon has volunteered for every event the Indiana Sports Corporation has organized or presented, including the Pan Am Games, Final Fours, Big Ten Basketball Tournaments, World Police and Fire Games, the Solheim Cup, the list goes on and on. Former ISC President Dale Neuburger wrote, "Nula was always the patient, considerate and knowledgeable person who was able to make athletes, coaches, technical officials and spectators feel at ease and get their bearings in a new, unexplored city." Harmon has been the manager of financial services for Indiana Sports Corporation since 1984, the Sports Corp's longest tenured employee. She recently announced her retirement and was recognized by Mayor Peterson, who proclaimed February 8, 2007 Nula Harmon Day.
Bob Homan — Customer Greeter
National Car Rental
Bob Homan is a ROSE recipient who operates on the front line of the hospitality industry. Since his particular area of expertise is the rental car business, those who approach his counter usually have one thing in common: they're in a hurry to be on their way. Homan does everything he can to smooth their road, even before they're actually traveling on it. It's his duty to open his company's service facility at 4 a.m., Monday through Friday. But because the earliest flights out of Indianapolis International often are at 5:30, it's not uncommon for our man to arrive and find customers waiting. What does he do? He arrives at 3:30 a.m. and if customers are there, he loads them into his personal car and drives them straight to the terminal, even before he clocks in. Homan makes sure cars are warmed up and defrosted in the winter cold and cooled off in the summer heat. If it's raining, he'll greet customers with an umbrella as they get off the shuttle. All those little touches add up to making a big and lasting impression on visitors. Bob has spent 25 years in the hospitality service industry, the last 17 with National Car Rental.
Clarence "Chip" Hoosier (Deceased) — Driver
For more than 25 years, Clarence "Chip" Hoosier drove a taxicab in and around Indianapolis. His back seat was occupied by the famous and not so famous, the wealthy and the poor, the young and old. Whether the ride was five minutes or 30, Chip Hoosier took advantage of that time to make a human connection with his customer. To him, every meeting brought the possibility of a positive interaction, where something as simple as a smile or a kind gesture might make a difference in someone's day. The attitude that he brought to his work was a reflection of who he was, a man of faith who put his beliefs into practice. That's why it was a familiar sight to see his taxicab loaded with food and donations for the St. Bridget's food pantry, with our ROSE Award recipient making the deliveries to help those less fortunate. He was, in the words of those who nominated him for this award, a "true humanitarian and a wonderful example for all of us, setting a standard of community service that will continue to endure, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps. He may have made his living as just a cab driver, but to all of those whose lives he touched, he was much, much more." Tragically, on August 2, 2006, this 25-year employee of Yellow Cab had his life taken in a senseless act of violence. But his example lives on.
Ann Thomas — Customer Service Representative
At one time or another, perhaps we've all used the phrase, "I would give the shirt off my back" for something. Well, consider that ROSE recipient Ann Thomas of IndyGo gave the shoes off her feet to a customer who arrived at her IndyGo service center with none. This was not a random act of kindness. For Thomas, it was a routine act of kindness. For another example, take the elderly woman who came into Thomas' office looking for a bus route and mentioned she didn't have any food. Thomas immediately took her to a fast-food restaurant and bought her lunch. Another customer mentioned his grandmother was dying. Thomas provided him a free bus pass. A few days later, the grandmother passed, and the man mentioned he didn't have suitable clothes for the funeral. Thomas found him a suit and shoes. She also designed a Braille flash card system to help visually impaired riders signal the driver of their particular stop. Ann Thomas has been all about listening and caring during her 29 years at IndyGo. Her passion for service carries into all facets of her life. At the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, Ann assists the youth, elderly and disadvantaged in many ways.
Valentin Arreola — Preventative Maintenance Engineer
Indianapolis Marriott East Hotel and Conference Center
Valentin Arreola could best be described as Mister Versatility. That and a lifesaver. Whatever the task at the Marriott East, he willingly takes it on and no matter what he is called upon to do, he does so with a positive attitude and genuine eagerness to pitch in. These traits alone would earn Arreola distinction as a Rose Award recipient. But, is there anything greater than putting your life on line in order to save another? Arreola did just that when an 85-year-old woman, on her way to attend a convention in the hotel, lost control of her car and landed in small canal, where her car began to sink. Without regard to his own safety, he jumped into the canal, swam to the car, unfastened the woman's seat belt and then pulled her to safety ashore, where he waited with her until paramedics arrived. Arreola has worked in the hospitality industry for seven years, including the last five at the Marriott East. In May, 2005, he was chosen as the Select Service Associate of the Month.
Pamela Ault — Usher
Pacers Sports & Entertainment
It is one thing to meet thousands of strangers night after night after night. It is another thing entirely to turn those thousands of strangers into instant friends. But that is precisely the role of ROSE Award recipient Pamela Ault. It's not by accident that Ault, who always wears and smile and exudes a cheerful, warm attitude, is stationed as an usher by the main entrance to Conseco Fieldhouse. She has become such a familiar fixture that on those rare occasions when she has a night off, arriving spectators often inquire about her absence. Ault has a knack for recognizing and engaging repeat visitors and making first-time guests feel welcome. She exchanges hugs and high fives, and sometimes hands out mint candies. Once, she turned a frightened lost boy into an instant usher, soothing him until his parents were found. On another occasion, she searched until she found the lost wedding ring which she happily re-united with a crying bride. Pam has worked as an usher since Conseco Fieldhouse opened its doors in 1999.
Benny Grider — Maintenance, Housekeeping
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Benny Grider believes it's all about you. In this case, that "you" could be his employer or his supervisor. That "you" could be child on a tour who has left a mess to be cleaned up. That "you" could be an elderly patron who needs transportation from one place to another on a hot summer's day. That "you" could be the person whose car has a dead battery that needs a jump start. To this ROSE Award recipient, it does not matter. He considers his primary job to be one of offering service to others. Yes, he does have other duties, primary among them the maintenance and housekeeping of one of Indianapolis' most popular attractions. That means keeping restrooms, floors, stairways and exhibits spotless. Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall says of Grider, "He is the role model I refer to in management meetings when we discuss the ideal staff attitude we hope to create, the perfect blend of work ethic, teamwork and support for the broader cause." Grider is a life-long Indianapolis resident and graduate of George Washington High School. He has worked in the hospitality industry for 19 years, the last 11 at the Eiteljorg Museum.
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