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An Indiana street

Scot Brase — Receiving Clerk
Omni Severin Hotel

Scot BraseWhen Scot showed up for his job interview several years ago, he was all polish, poise and personality. His potential employers thought he was too good to be true. Turns out they were right. In the intervening years, he has been everything they hoped, and much, much more. He is always in a good mood. Always positive. Always caring. Always dedicated. Always helping. He is constantly looking for efficiencies, both to save costs and deliver better product to hotel guests. And he will go the extra mile. His sense of duty is not confined to just his own area. His sense of duty extends to the entire hotel...and yes, that might even include cleaning out the dumpster. When off work, he tends to the daily needs of his brother, who is wheelchair-bound due to MS. He cooks and cleans for his sibling, tends to his medical needs, and makes sure he gets out of the house. Scot has been with the Omni Severin for four and one half years and has been working in the hospitality industry overall for eight years.
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Elmer Fernandez — Cook
Scotty's Lakehouse

Elmer FernandezThey don't need to turn the lights on at this northeastside brew house. They just wait until Elmer shows up. When he shows up for work, all of a sudden, the place--and the spirit of the place--are simply brighter. He uses his outstanding communication skills--in both English and Spanish--to train other cooks. He exudes a manner of warmth and of patience. He sets the example for his fellow employees by taking on all tasks. None are too large, nor too small. He does so without complaint. And if someone else is having a bad day, he is there to help make it a better one. His nominator says that Elmer is totally selfless, that he is not looking for increased benefits or money or recognition. He simply shows up to work each day with a bright, positive attitude. His nominator adds, "He just wants to help people. It is a beautiful thing to behold." Elmer has been with Scotty's Lakehouse since it opened in 2006 and has worked in the hospitality industry for ten years

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Don Hignite — Environmental Services Assistant
Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Don HigniteDon is blessed by a second nature that puts everyone else first. Thus, it was his second nature to notice a person at a crowded local attraction looking out of sorts. He engaged that person in conversation, learned that he was a recently returned war veteran feeling momentarily overwhelmed by the crowd, and escorted him to a quiet place where he could gather himself and eventually allow his visit to continue. It is his second nature to notice when a restroom is something less than meticulous, and set about to make it so. He makes certain the walks are cleared on a snowy day and arrives with jumper cables when he notices visitors can't get their cars started. He notices any dust that might have settled on exhibits and quickly makes sure it is cleaned, even if it is 40 feet above the floor. It is his second nature to make sure the flowers are planted, that the painting is done, that there are no light bulbs that need replacing. He is totally dedicated to doing all the little things that add up in a big way for one of the city's busiest attractions. And why does he do it? For the simple thrill, he says, of being there every day at the moment the doors open and thousands of happy parents and excited children pour into the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Don came to the museum in 2009 as a volunteer. When asked if he'd like to apply for a full-time job, he said he would but that if he didn't get it, he would still volunteer because he loves the place so much.

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Robin Lewis — Server
Seasons 52 Bar and Grill

Robin LewisWhen this north side restaurant left the starting line last year, Robin was one of those who had her foot on the gas pedal. Her energy and enthusiasm were quickly recognized by guests, who shower her with praise in comment cards. In short order, she was honored with a special pin the restaurant awards to exceptional employees. But her service to others doesn't stop with dessert and the check. She created a charity group that collected food to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for more than 100 people in the Indianapolis area. She also helped organize her fellow employees for a Christmas card distribution to patients at the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital and a Valentine's Day card distribution to children at Riley. Then came her involvement in the College Mentors for Kids program. She helped land a $1,000 grant and is now teaching children and their mentors culinary arts as well as encouraging youngsters to consider a college education that would lead to a career in the hospitality industry. In short, she shares her passion and knowledge with others. In addition to food and beverage, it's another kind of service entirely. Robin has been with Seasons 52 since its opening and management credits her as a big factor in the restaurant's successful opening. This is her eighth year in the hospitality industry..

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Joe Zaharako — Lead Program Staff
Accent on Indianapolis

Joe ZaharakoJoe's nomination form began with this sentence: "He is the epitome of Indianapolis hospitality!" Well, that's saying something, isn't it? But you know what? He might be. After a career in education in teaching music and fine arts, Joe has found a second career in hospitality. He sits on the board of the Indianapolis Brass Choir. He worked for the Indianapolis Indians as an usher, ticket taker and customer service representative. The Indians honored him in 2004 as their game day employee of the year. With the group that nominated him, he has been an airport greeter, tour guide and manager of corporate and associate programs. He's often seen at hospitality desks, assisting guests with dining options, places of worship and must-see attractions. And he does it all with an unmatched enthusiasm for the city of Indianapolis. Gee, he really is the epitome of Indianapolis hospitality. Joe has twice before been nominated for Rose Awards. Obviously, the third time is the charm.

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Tim Jackson — Front Desk
Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites

Tim JacksonWhat's the old never get a second chance to make a first impression? So it goes for most front desk agents in the hotel business. They are often the first point of contact with a guest and thus, can set the expectation for the guest experience. Tim has made certain that that first impression will be a positive one. Though only one year into the job, he has repeatedly displayed the ability to make guests feel valued, remembered and respected. Some of it goes beyond the front desk, of course. For instance, the guest who was delayed on her arrival in Indianapolis to compete in a half marathon and was going to be unable to pick up her vital pre-race materials. Upon learning of the guest's dilemma, Tim took it upon himself to walk several blocks to the marathon headquarters and pick up the race packet. When the guest finally arrived, the materials were waiting in her room. On another occasion, a travel delay meant that a client would have to move a scheduled dinner into another meeting room. Tim handled the change flawlessly and made certain that the client, upon arrival, was made not to feel late and inconvenienced, but extraordinarily welcomed. The guest would send a note of appreciation later to the hotel.There were many other examples of go-the-extra-mile service included in his nomination bid but, in short, this front desk employee "gets it" when it comes to hospitality. And I guess we should mention that when he isn't working, he's a full-time student. Tim has worked only one year at the Hilton but we hope it's the start of a life-long career.

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Robin Slanac — Breakfast Hostess
Comfort Inn and Suites - Lawrenceburg

Robin SlanacGuests at the Comfort Inn and Suites - Lawrenceburg in Southeastern Indiana say coming down to get breakfast isn't like your normal hotel breakfast. It's more like coming into a family kitchen. There, Robin greets them like family and makes them feel as if at home. She will find crayons and coloring pages for children and makes sure to provide assitance to the elderly. For repeat or extended-stay guests, she might offer the surprise of a jar of her homemade jam, jelly or pickles if it's a special occasion. She's been known to provide Easter baskets or Christmas gifts for little ones, all at her own expense. And no matter how many people have come into her "kitchen," it is always clean, and the food hot and plentiful. Her nomination form included dozens of comments from satisfied guests. One best summed it up. It read, "The lady in charge of breakfast was outstanding. She was helpful, cheerful and hard-working. I have never seen a better, more pleasant employee." Robin has been with the Comfort Inn and Suites for two-and-a-half years.

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Janice Richardson — Guest Services Assistant
Indianapolis Airport Authority

Janice RichardsonJanice has virtually spent a lifetime in the service industry. Forty-nine years, to be precise. Longevity alone might be enough to earn her Rose Award distinction. Certainly, during that time, this guest services assistant has compiled an amazing list of examples that reflect her willingness to be of help to others. For example, a visitor to a hotel last year near Indianapolis International Airport was preparing to depart the hotel to catch her flight home. Alas, somewhere in transit between the hotel and airport, the visitor's luggage had been misplaced. A diligent search could not locate the luggage, leaving the visitor no choice but to leave without it. Janice, however, had found a bag unattended, left at the airport curb adn took it upon herself to find the owner. Unfortunately the bag tag had only a name and a PO box, but no phone number. It did, however, contain the hotel bag tag. She called the hotel and patiently worked through several transfers before finally speaking with someone who had the visitor's phone number. She then called that visitor, explained she had found the bag and was putting it on the next flight to the visitor's destination. Forty-nine years of service. One very simple, succinct example of beyond-the-call-of-duty service. Because of her lengthy service in the hospitality industry, Janice qualifies--easily--as a Lifetime ROSE Award winner.

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William Boling — Receiving Clerk
St. Elmo Steak House

William BolingThe famous downtown landmark is known nationwide for its spicy appetizer, celebrity guests and tuxedoed wait staff. Yet, beyond the linen tablecloths, beyond the glamorous wine cellar, beyond the busy kitchen, beyond the view of the famous who come there to dine, there is one man who has been loyal and true to the most basic of services. At this restaurant, they don't serve the steak on paper plates or serve the wine in plastic cups. Someone has to wash the dishes. And that person is William. More than 25 years ago, William took up residence in the basement of St. Elmo as its lone dishwasher. He served in that capacity, alone, humble but happy, for five years. He also took pride in the daily cleaning of the kitchen and main grill, necessary but seemingly thankless tasks. As the restaurant expanded and its clientele grew, so did the demands of the job. William would simply show up, go to work and, in the wee hours after all was clean, go home to his wife and family. Not long ago, he was promoted to receiving clerk, overseeing the more than 400 thousand dollars worth of food, beverage and supplies being delivered daily to the back door. And during the recent Super Bowl, as the restaurant strived to meet the demands of more than 9,000 diners in a week's time, Williams dutifully arrived at 3 a.m. to receive the shipments and make certain that demand never exceeded supply. There is, it seems, a saint at St. Elmo. For his 25 years of service, William earns designation as a Lifetime ROSE Award honoree.

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Marion "Mama Bear" Gonzales — Server
Eagle's Nest Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Indianapolis

Marion "Mama Bear" GonzalesIn a world that goes round and round, Marion is a straight line to service excellence. As a server in a popular downtown restaurant for more than a quarter century, she has become much more than someone who takes the order and delivers the food and drink. She has become a preferred part of her guests' dining experience. One guest, who heard that Marion was contemplating retirement, simply told the manager the restaurant couldn't keep his business if he couldn't have his favorite server. Others who arrive for annual holiday visits know that Marion will know their names, what they like to drink, their favorite dish and even the names of their children. She trains others on the wait staff to strive for a similar standard of excellence. She is both mentor and friend, but also a representative for her fellow employees in testifying about labor issues to the Indiana State Legislature. For all that, her cohorts have given her a nickanme. They call her "Mama Bear" and refer to themselves as her cubs. She's also a fierce patriot and proud mother of a serviceman. She has led efforts to volunteer at the Veterans Administration hospital. And one day, in the wake of a military tragedy, she noticed that the flags at the nearby State Capitol had not been lowered to half staff. Within seconds, she was on the telephone. Within an hour, the flags were lowered. She recently was honored as the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis's 2011 Associate of the Year. With 26 years at the Hyatt, first at Porch Restaurant then since 1997 at the Eagle's Nest, Marion is also recognized as a Lifetime ROSE Award recipient.

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If you have questions about ROSE Awards, please contact:
Nate Swick
Senior Communications Manager