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 Benchmark Hospitality Launches "Chairman's Award of Excellence"; 
Inaugural Award presented to Mario Herrera, 
North Maple Inn, Basking Ridge, NJ
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The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, February 14, 2006 - Benchmark Hospitality International has launched a new company-wide initiative to recognize extraordinary employee contributions to their communities and the organization -- the "Chairman's Award of Excellence."  Burt Cabanas, chairman & chief executive officer, made the announcement.  In doing so he presented the first recipient of the Chairman's Award - Mr. Mario Herrera - who is being recognized for outstanding community service that significantly impacted the lives of thousands of people in the Quindio Region of Colombia, his country of origin.

"I cannot think of a more appropriate time than Benchmark's 25th anniversary to implement the Chairman's Award of Excellence, or a more appropriate choice as the first recipient than Mario Herrera of North Maple Inn," stated Mr. Cabanas.  "I wanted an avenue to highlight and honor outstanding employees whose contributions make their property, their community, and our company better places to work and live. Mr. Herrera exemplifies this in every way."

Mario Herrera, who is employed as a server in Cuisine, which is the restaurant located in North Maple Inn, Benchmark's Four Diamond property in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, is a founding member of several organizations that have the objective to assist those in need in the Quindio Region of Colombia.  Many years ago he began working with the Red Cross to purchase and deliver groceries for people of the region.  Herrera later expanded his efforts by providing first communion clothes for underprivileged children.  He eventually became involved with raising the funds needed to purchase used fire trucks and ambulances in the United States and donating them for use in his home community in Colombia. 

Additionally, through the years Mr. Herrera has collected well over 45,000 pounds of food, medicine and clothing for earthquake victims (including donations of wheelchairs and crutches).  Remarkably, he has also organized 28 doctors to provide surgery for 178 children who otherwise would not have received the medical attention. 

As humble as he is extraordinary, Herrera is quick to point out that none of his efforts on behalf of the people of the Quindio Region in Columbia would have been possible without the assistance of numerous volunteers and the host of people who opened their hearts and wallets in caring for the needs and well being of others.

The Benchmark Hospitality International Chairman's Award of Excellence will be presented by Burt Cabanas annually based on nominations from general managers in the field.  To be nominated for the Chairman's Award of Excellence, employees must meet an established set of criteria, some of which include:  providing a truly outstanding act of community service that is recognized by the community; initiating a service or idea that exemplifies the company's entrepreneurial spirit; delivering performance during extremely difficult circumstances that far exceeds job description and job expectations."  The Chairman's Award is designed to recognize and celebrate individuals who demonstrate excellence with significant impact and exemplify Benchmark's core values. 
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Photo L to R:  Burt Cabanas, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer,
Benchmark Hospitality; Mario Herrera, Chairman's Award of
Excellence Recipient; Mike Taylor, General Manager,
North Maple Inn.
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North Maple Inn at Basking Ridge www.northmapleinn.com, a Four Diamond property, offers 171 well-appointed guestrooms with 16 spacious suites; 20,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space with 25 conference rooms, including an 84-seat tiered amphitheater; and comprehensive meeting support services. The hotel also offers Coasters, a casual lounge; Cuisine, a restaurant serving eclectic American fare in an open-hearth kitchen; and an elegant ballroom. North Maple Inn provides complete fitness and recreation facilities for hotel and conference guests. The property is one of the finest hotels in New Jersey.  North Maple Inn is managed by Benchmark Hospitality International.

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at www.benchmarkhospitality.com.

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Contact:

Benchmark Hospitality International
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas
www.benchmarkhospitality.com 

Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax
KenEllens@aol.com

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Also See: Benchmark Launches National Literacy Initiative with Gift To New George & Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library / November 2005
Benchmark Hospitality Cleans Up Island as Part of Special 25th Anniversary All Employee Outing / September 5, 2005


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