Stories of helping those who are disabled, giving money to coworkers in need, and coming to the aid of the elderly were among the many anecdotes about regular people throughout The Region going above and beyond the call of duty in their place of work.
The 11th annual R.O.S.E. Awards Dinner at the Halls of St. George in Schererville treated service members of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, or CVA, to an evening of recognition and applause for all they do, day in and day out.
"This is the most important event we do,” said Speros Batistatos, President and CEO of South Shore CVA. “It's a great way for us to showcase the excellence that's so pervasive in the front lines of people working with the public."
The concept of the R.O.S.E. Awards is to recognize the "directors of first impressions,” who could be restaurant, hotel, bank or gas station staff who are seen as front-line employees.
Customers and managers nominate employees who “go the extra mile,” including an example of their extraordinary service in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties.
Erika Dahl, director of communications, said this is a great night where people throughout the hospitality and service industries can come together in the same place.
“I think in their stories you’re going to hear the word ‘compassion’ a lot,” Dahl said. “Of course you’ll hear things like exemplary, extra mile, and outstanding, but there’s so much more of a human component there.”
Batistatos said that often staff in the service industry have difficult positions and little recognition, which is why he said the awards dinner is all about them.
“We’ve had tears, we’ve had people jumping in the air, drinks thrown in the air, it’s all genuine and heart-felt,” Batistatos said. “They’re so incredibly important, they are the backbone of this industry. Visitors to the area don’t talk to me, or the business owners, they’re talking to the person behind the counter. They’re the director of first impressions, that’s why we’re here to celebrate them.”
More than 40 finalists are chosen, in which they were surprised at their workplace with their invitation to the awards dinner, which includes a day of spa pampering, limo service and more than $1,000 in prizes. Winners received gift baskets where companies such as Albanese Candy Factory, Deep River Waterpark, Illiana Brew Bus, Fair Oaks Farms and more.
R.O.S.E. Award winners included Amarillis Covarrubias of Ameristar Casino and Hotel, Maxxwell Fletcher III of Fair Oaks Farmhouse Restaurant, Marcus Flores of Ameristar Casino and Hotel, Errie Harden of Stadium Sports Bar, Dorothy Jelks of Horseshoe Casino, Danica Lazic of Ameristar Casino and Hotel, Gordon Pointer of Horseshoe Casino, MaryBeth Rivera of Franciscan Health and Fitness Center, Damaris Rodriguez of Ameristar Casino and Hotel, Nicole Sater of Hilton Garden Inn and Jason Schleicher of Horseshoe Casino.
MaryBeth Rivera, office coordinator at Franciscan Health and Fitness Center, said she was very surprised to win a R.O.S.E. Award, as she doesn’t get many “thank you's" working in collections.
“There’s the bad part of collections but I also get a lot of people who are really thankful,” Rivera said. “If they have a financial issue I always find a way to help them and keep the integrity of the business. There’s a very human side to it, the dollar isn’t always the bottom line.”
The Recognition of Industry Success and Excellence (R.I.S.E.) Award honors outstanding staff in managerial positions, or who have won a R.O.S.E. Award in the past. Winners of the 2017 R.I.S.E. Awards are Amy Hoover of Hilton Garden Inn, Sherry Major of Horseshoe Casino and Shamia Smith of Hilton Garden Inn.
If you’ve ever been to Horseshoe Casino, chances are Sherry Major, security dispatcher, was overseeing your safety with a watchful eye. Winner of a R.I.S.E. Award, Major has been a part of the casino for 12 years.
“I’m honored that I am being rewarded for something I love to do,” Major said. “We always ‘E.G.E.,’ everyone greets everyone. I greet everyone by name, I love to get a person’s name.”
Through the happy tears, laughs and smiles, the winners left with cutting-board sized awards knowing that while they may not always hear it, their community thanks them for their hard work and compassionate hearts.
“There’s no job too small in this industry,” Batistatos said. “If you track these winners years down the road, you’ll see managers and owners, because they get it.”