Award Winners

Congratulations to all of the 2015 R.O.S.E. and R.I.S.E. Award winners! Have you received extraordinary customer service?
Nominate them here.

Lenore Rodriguez

Lenore Rodriguez
Banquets Server
Horseshoe Casino
Hammond
, Ind.

Lenore recently expressed interest in expanding her knowledge in event planning. She comes in on her off days to learn and contribute to the planning process. She has become a huge asset to the events team in a short amount of time. Lenore has also taken over all back stage catering and talks to all tour managers and plans out all meals and specialty artist requests. More compliments from the tour manger, band, crew and artists have come in since she has taken over. Since many of her guests are on the road the majority of the year, she takes care to provide creative menus, not just the same chicken and burger menus they get everywhere else. The guests look forward to visiting the Venue, knowing the food will be awesome, new and fresh.

Jane Gayheart

Jane Gayheart
Server
Shady Creek Winery
Michigan City, Ind.

Jane greets each new and regular visitor with the same joyous welcoming. Her genuinely warm, pleasant and professional demeanor is well partnered with a vast knowledge of the gorgeous wines her employers (work family) produce. She loves her work, treats it like her own business, and while exhibiting a tireless, professional work ethic, she still makes each patron feel special, welcome and missed (if they have not visited in a while). During down times, Jane can be seen cleaning, washing dishes, and engaging patrons. She takes time to get to know her customers by name, remembering them on subsequent visits and introduces other customers to each other... She is a community-building bridge in every sense of the word. Jane unashamedly touts that this job is her dream job and her behavior shows it far louder than her words. She makes every customer’s visit a “homecoming” and keeps guests coming back.

Santino Cordilla

Santino Cordilla
Server
Ameristar Casino Hotel
East Chicago, Ind.

Santino is a server at Bugatti’s and his guest comments speak for themselves:“Santino is the best server I have ever had in all my dining experiences over the entire world, which is many. He is just the friendliest server. He should teach ‘how to be a waiter’ to the other servers. I recommend that he receive some award that maybe the casino gives out as outstanding employee. He is the reason that I will continually come back to this restaurant and ask for him.” “Santino is a true professional. His experience at his job made the overall evening an enjoyable one.”“The best waiter we ever had. We didn’t want to leave. He was so knowledgeable of the restaurant. He was well-mannered and very respectful. I will request we have him wait on us again when we come back.”

Fred Jurcak

Fred Jurcak
Maintenance Engineer
Hilton Garden Inn
Merrillville, Ind.

During his time at Hilton Garden Inn, Fred has always exceeded expectations for the betterment of the hotel, the satisfaction of our guests, and the benefit of his fellow associates. On New Year’s Day, a day for which Fred was not scheduled to work, he came in on his own simply to check the pool and make sure that pH levels were correct. Shortly after he left, he was called and told that there were maintenance issues in the hotel and volunteered to come in and help out for a couple of hours. Fred has done these type of duties a number of times to help out when needed. Fred also makes the extra effort for guests. After snowfalls, Fred comes in early to brush snow off guests’ cars and has helped get guests out of the parking lot if they are stuck; all without ever being asked to do so. Fred has even supported one of his co-workers, who is battling cancer, at his church by setting up a collection for her; providing groceries and other essentials to help her during this difficult time. Fred is very much appreciated by not only the management staff, but also his co-workers and our guests.

Christopher Devenport

Christopher Devenport
Banquet Captain
Horseshoe Casino
Hammond, Ind.

Chris’ attention to detail and helpfulness to banquet clients are the reason why Horseshoe Casino receives numerous compliments about him: “Chris was wonderful. We are a very demanding bunch and he was very helpful!” “The entire experience exceeded our expectations. Our event will be unforgettable. We can’t thank Horseshoe enough!” Chris ensures banquet clients receive the best customer service each and every time they book an event. Chris’ outstanding customer service is evident when banquet clients continue to return to the facility to have their meetings and/or banquet events.

Janis Frysztak

Janis Frysztak
Guest Services Representative
Radisson Hotel Star Plaza
Merrillville, Ind.

Upon hearing of a young girl’s weekend getaway being rained out during her stay at the Radisson, Janis made a card and purchased an Olaf doll from the gift shop. The guest posted about Janis’ kindness on Facebook and the Radisson’s Regional Vice President wrote the following about her: “Janis, all too often our interactions with guests are a vehicle to events and activities important to them. You recognized that in this instance an important event to this little girl was going to be a bit of a disappointment due to circumstances out of our control. With a spirit of hospitality and caring, you created a memory that she will never forget. I’m confident it will even influence her, in some way, for the rest of her life. Thank you for your commitment to your guest. You represent us all very well and I appreciate you.”

Rosemary Kouloumbris

Rosemary Kouloumbris
Diamond Lounge Server
Horseshoe Casino
Hammond, Ind.

James earned his nickname "the mailman" because he always delivers great guest service.

Rosie is by far one of the greatest personifications of rigor. In addition to providing exceptional service to the Diamond Lounge guests consistently, she supports and motivates her team and helps them drive superior guest service. Rosie stops at almost every table she passes while serving, regardless of whose section they are seated in, greets them and checks on their dining experience. She willingly assists others by helping run food, deliver drinks from the bar, and even help keep the food line clean without ever being asked by a supervisor or manager to do so. During Rosie’s downtime, she can always be found engaging in some deep cleaning in the service wells. Even with all of this, the most outstanding thing is she never looks for recognition or applause. Rosie does all of these things because she truly cares about the success of the lounge, the satisfaction of the guests, and the individual success of each of her coworkers.

Charlene Koreen

Charlene Koreen
Buffet Cook
Ameristar Casino Hotel
East Chicago, Ind.

When a guest arrives at the Heritage Buffet at Ameristar Casino, they graciously encounter Charlene Koreen. Charlene is not your ordinary line cook. She prepares the food that clients enjoy, making sure everything is fresh and bountiful and she instantly puts a smile on your face with one of her catchy quips, her hearty laugh or her concerned and caring tone of voice. Charlene is attentive to your needs and requests, even when you least expect it. A guest was visiting from Milwaukee, Wisconsin one evening with her husband, and after having a five-minute conversation with her, Charlene had found out that it was the guest’s birthday and that she was a three-time cancer survivor. Charlene informed her chef, and within minutes an entourage of cooks, servers and other singers were at the guest’s table with a dessert plate in hand and Charlene leading the group with her rendition of “Happy Birthday!” The guest felt extremely appreciated and had a memorable moment to keep with her always.

Carmen Gomez

Carmen Gomez
The Steakhouse Bus Person
Horseshoe Casino
Hammond, Ind.

When changes to the menu were being made, Carmen spent more than eight hours on her day off inside the kitchen, watching how every new dish was being prepared and asking countless questions to ensure she was ready for her written test, and also to service her guests. Not only has Carmen excelled with her new job duties, she has perfected them. Her warm charisma lights up the room as she delights all those she serves. Without protest or complaint, Carmen has taken on the challenge of backing two, sometimes three, servers at a time to ensure the restaurant is able to accommodate all business demands. She never gives up when the demands become tough; she simply puts on an even bigger smile and works that much harder. She has become a fantastic role model for her peers and her manager to look to when inspiration is needed.

Victoria Caper

Victoria Caper
Security Officer
Ameristar Casino Hotel
East Chicago, Ind.

Victoria has been on the floor and a dual rate supervisor, but her best performance is in the command center, which is considered the main artery of the casino. Vicki has proven herself time and again to be one of the most valuable team members and reliable in and away from the command center. She comes to work every day with a professional, happy attitude and ready to do her best. Vicki runs the command center with her head and her heart. On one particular occasion, Vicki received a phone call from a guest who stays at the hotel on a regular basis. The guest called Vicki crying and asking if anyone had turned in her phone. The guest had a doctor’s appointment that morning and needed to call her medical taxi service; however, all her info was in her phone. Vicki calmed her down, got all her info, looked up the taxi service on line, called them and arranged the pick-up for the guest. Moments after they hung up, the guest’s phone was turned in, and before the guest left for her appointment, Vicki hand delivered her phone. Since then, when this guest is here, she makes a point to call Vicki or have an officer give her a message just to say “Hi.”

Vojo Duvnjak

Vojo Duvnjak
Table Games
Majestic Star Casino & Hotel
Gary, Ind.

Employees perform best when they like what they do. This is illustrated every day by Majestic Star Casino Table Games Supervisor Vojo Duvnjak. Being a table games supervisor certainly has its challenges. Even when you provide a superior experience; it can be soured when a guest is having a bad day at the tables. Vojo’s smile, demeanor and intuitive guest service skills always come through and he makes the experience a positive one. When he was “secret shopped” last year, it came as no surprise when he received a perfect score. Vojo also gives back. He was recently spotlighted in a local newspaper story for unparalleled guest service given internally to a coworker’s family member. He became the guardian of a boy who went through great tragedy, losing both parents in just a few years. It was important to Vojo to allow the boy to finish high school without interruption and provide stability. He saw a difficult situation and he provided a solution. He does that at Majestic Star, too, and is treasured by his team. Vojo provides a calm, cool leadership that makes him stand out among his peers and truly is Majestic Star Casino’s competitive advantage.

Bruce Alston

Bruce Alston
Server, Hostess, Cashier, Trainer
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Hammond, Ind.

Bruce has been an outstanding employee and trainer at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store by stepping up on many occasions to not only help his fellow coworkers by being an awesome team player, but helping out when an extra pair of hands and eyes are needed. He never hesitates to pick up an extra shift, come in on his day off, or step up to shift leader position when an emergency arises. Bruce recently displayed his heroic side, performing CPR on an elderly customer who stopped breathing after exiting the Cracker Barrel. Bruce, who was a trained lifeguard for the summer, performed his talent and brought this man back to life!

Chuck Sanford

Chuck Sanford
Seven Stars Supervisor
Horseshoe Casino
Hammond, Ind.

Chuck supervises the Seven Star Lounge which caters to Horseshoe’s highest players. He takes true ownership in the lounge and treats each player as if they were a guest in his home. Chuck works closely with the marketing department by organizing a monthly event: 7’s on the 7th, which has seen great successes. They are catered specifically to what players want in an event - like Ladies night and Cigar nights. A customer recently wrote to Horseshoe about Chuck, “Chuck Sanford is a remarkable individual. He met and exceeded all of our needs and expectations. He is a great leader and I can tell that he expects the same of his staff as he himself delivers. He is a great representative of the Horseshoe and Caesars organizations and made my visit to Hammond a memorable one.” Chuck has been the face in the Seven Star Lounge for many years and is well respected by his team, and also the casinos very best players. He comes in on his vacation to ensure events run smoothly and flawlessly. He always delivers service with a smile.

Tammy Hartrunft

Tammy Hartrunft
Housekeeping Supervisor
Hilton Garden Inn
Chesterton, Ind.

Tammy Hartrunft began her relationship with the Knowles while doing her daily work and inspecting rooms. During this time she met a couple who were staying at the hotel because the wife was dying of cancer and wanted to be closer to family. Like all people do when it’s time to say goodbye, Mrs. Knowles died. The hotel was deeply saddened by her passing; however, not as much as Tammy who had gotten to know the family while they were in the hotel’s care. To this day Mr. Knowles still comes to the hotel every Sunday to have breakfast. Tammy sits with him and talks with him while he eats. The connection Mrs. Knowles made to the world might be lost to those who did not know her, but hopefully she is happy knowing that her husband of many years has someone as wonderful as Tammy to have breakfast with every Sunday. Service excellence does not always mean while a guest is staying at a hotel or eating in a restaurant. Sometimes it means what happens after the guest leaves and the experience they have after.

Latasha Johnson

Latasha Johnson
Slot Floor Supervisor
Ameristar Casino Hotel
East Chicago, Ind.

Latasha is an overnight Slot Supervisor at Ameristar Casino Hotel. This shift can be difficult for some team members as many of them are parents and they do not get much sleep. Latasha understands the challenges her team faces and does whatever she can to make the night fun and entertaining not only for her staff, but for guests as well. Often times Latasha will be telling jokes or singing a little song over the radio to keep the team laughing. She has a great sense of humor and many overnight guests look forward to seeing her. She makes them feel like they are family. It’s not an easy task to entertain the entire shift, but Latasha keeps it going all night long! Everyone who comes in contact with her leaves Ameristar East Chicago with a smile.

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