Belinda Cozzy — Exhibit Specialist
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Once nominated, Belinda received letters of support from all over the city and even the nation. She is known for acts of service that go above and beyond. For example, she once drove to a nearby firehouse to borrow a piece of equipment to help an artist change the tire on his RV after working two back-to-back, twelve-hour work days. She also cared for a diabetic artist having some trouble in the Indiana humidity by giving him a ride on her golf cart repeatedly through a misting tent. She cares so much about the artists with whom she works that she cried with one and his wife as she helped them pack to leave a festival early due to an emergency. No stranger to emergencies, she was also instrumental in evacuating museum goers to a safe area during a tornado. While there, she entertained the crowd with stories and behind-the-scenes tours of exhibit production areas. Due to her 25 years in the industry, Belinda receives a Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Trish Erwin — Bartender
Trish was legendary for knowing everyone' name and order, even when visits occurred with large gaps between them. One of her customers wrote that he moved out of town, came back 15 years later, and she still knew him by name. Another said she brought her brother in after 18 years away from Indy and she still knew not only his name, but his drink order. Her nominator called her "the most hospitable person" he'd ever met. Sadly, days after her nomination, she passed away after battling breast cancer. After 33 years of exemplary service in the hospitality industry, Trish receives a Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Sam Garrison — Driver
Sam knows public transit. After a 47-year career behind the wheel, Sam was honored last year by the National Safety Council for logging more than one million miles with zero preventable accidents. This officially ranks him as one of the safest drivers in the country. His kindness and zest for life is contagious and here is an example of how he lives his mother's maxim "It's nice to be important, but more important to be nice" each day. In the days when bus far was 30 cents, a man walked up to the bus Sam was driving and stated he had no money, was hungry, and needed to find a job. Sam gave him $5 and paid his fare. A few months later, the same man boarded Sam's bus again and offered him $20. Sam refused. He says he's had a beautiful life, everyone in Indianapolis has been nice, and he still feels like running. There is no question that Sam should receive a Lifetime Achievement Award!
Mike Hunter — Volunteer Electrician
ERMCO/IBEW Local 481
On the day after Thanksgiving, more than 100,000 spectators crowd downtown to see the annual Circle of Lights kick off. For 37 years, Mike has volunteered his time and talent to make this happen. He helps install and maintain the 4,784 lights creating the "tree" on Monument Circle, often braving sub-zero temperatures to be sure we can be dazzled. He always arrives early carrying a shovel to make sure the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument are free of snow and ice. In addition to his holiday work, he also volunteers with Rebuilding Together to restore homes and communities for low-income homeowners, the elderly, and the disabled, so they may continue to live in warmth, safety, and independence. For his 37 years of volunteer service, Mike receives a Lifetime Achievement Award. He plans to retire this year.
Boomer — Mascot
Pacers Sports & Entertainment
Boomer is so much more than a character on the basketball court who makes grand entrances, jumps on trampolines, rubs kids's heads, helps referees, and fires up fans. He has an impact on Hoosiers of all ages and represents Indianapolis around the world. Boomer makes more than 300 appearances each year. Every week, he's at schools educating students on heath and fitness or delivering anti-drug messages. He visits hospitals and demonstrates chair aerobics at senior centers. He participates in charitable walks and donation drives and is on the front lines to welcome troops back from service. For the past 16 years, he has been one of the city's best ambassadors.
Garry Chillufo — Volunteer
Garry has been a dedicated volunteer with Indiana Landmarks for 14 years. Due to his abilities as a leader, organizer, trainer, photographer, and cheerleader for Indianapolis, he was tapped to lead the hospitality committee for a 2,500-person conference of national and international first-time visitors to the city. In addition to planning and preparing nearly every aspect of the event, he also worked 5 am to midnight each day during the conference. All as a volunteer.
Labros Christoforatos — Banquet Set Up/Server
Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel
Labros is described by peers as the "go-to guy" because he always get things done and done right. Even though he frequently works long hours day after day, he never complains. An example of his goal of exceeding expectations is the time he was almost out the door one night when a meeting client called wanting to see the ballroom set-up for an event the next day. Labros' job is 95 percent back of the house, but he offered to show the client the ballroom, then spent hours on his own moving the full room of tables and chairs after the client asked to change the set-up.
Cesar Espinoza — Housekeeping House Attendant
The Westin Indianapolis
Cesar's dedication to service and hospitality should be evident with this story from January. Streets and offices were closed due to a heavy snow but Cesar not only braved the weather to make it to work, he also drove around picking up colleagues who needed rides so they could earn a living and so the hotel's guests' needs would be covered. Even though he got stuck in the snow several times, he always dug himself out and continued his journey. After getting safely to The Westin, he stayed to work a ten-hour shift before taking everyone home again. He is also quick to volunteer his services as a translator when he notices Spanish-speaking guests checking in at the front desk.
Karyl Gariepy — Lead Guest Service Agent
Circle Centre Mall
For more than a decade, Karyl has served as the face of Circle Centre Mall' guest services, welcoming more than 10 million annual visitors. Always the first to step up during transitions in managers, she is also always the first to arrive and ready to assist each day, even when rain, sleet, snow, or ice make things more difficult. Her professionalism, unselfishness, and service excellence make her an example for us all. Karyl has dedicated 19 years to the hospitality industry. That qualifies her for a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jerry Hunter — Bartender
120 West Bar, Hilton Indianapolis
Imagine a restaurant bartender who greets you by name when you return for service, who provides you everything you expect before you have to ask, who acts as if he has been waiting especially for your arrival. Jerry is the embodiment of that description. In a short time, he has received numerous comment card accolades who appreciate his ability to make everyone feel special. His teammates are also no strangers to this treatment. He starts each work day by greeting each one with "Have a great day."
Josh Tulledge — Guest Services
Josh has worked in nearly every guest services position within the Conrad during his three years there. Most recently he has been known to work a few hours at the front desk only to change uniforms and work the second half of his shift as an in-room dining server. An example of his commitment to service is the time he worked to find guests car service to a concert on the north side of the city. All transportation services were booked for the night, so Josh drove the guests to the show in his personal car, waited through the concert, and drove them back to the hotel.
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