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Delmi Rencinos and Paul Schultz Recognized with Hurricane Ike Hero
Awards by the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston
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November 24, 2008 - When the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston celebrated its Fourth Annual Hospitality on Parade Awards Dinner Nov. 21, it did so in a city still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Ike. The storm was remembered, not just for its destruction, however, but for the hospitality heroism that it produced.  

Thus, along with the annual recognition of some of the industryís best, this yearís gala noted the extraordinary actions of five industry members during and after the storm and put their names in nomination for a very special Houston Hero Award. 

Narrowing it down to five people had been difficult. Narrowing it down to one was impossible. It ended up a tie with two awards handed out. The winners were 

  • Guest Suite Attendant Delmi Rencinos of the Residence Inn by Marriott-Medical Center and 
  • General Manager Paul Schultz of  The San Luis in Galveston.
As the storm moved north out of the Houston area, Rencinos rushed to her job asking what she could do. She worked for the next five days cleaning rooms in the dark and working in the kitchen to help feed and serve more than 650 people. She awoke every morning in a room with no power, helped prepare breakfast, cleaned rooms and then was back in the kitchen to help with lunch and dinner. More remarkable, when a sister hotel opened the Monday after, she offered to go help at that one as well.
 
On Galveston Island, Schultz stood fast at The San Luis, but when the impact of the storm became clear the next morning, he immediately began assessing the needs of his employees, many who had lost everything. He organized clothing, food and furniture drives. He scoured his own home for things he could donated. He secured rooms in his hotel and others for employees and their families. Those who needed it, received three hot meals a day throughout the month of October. He organized caravans to the island so that employees could get to the hotel and not suffer further financial loss because they could not get to work. His retail manager was authorized to purchase basic toiletries and clothing for those whose homes were gone.
 
Besides The Houston Hero Awards, there were five winners of the annual award categories. These were:
GUEST SERVICES
Gabriel Daw, Bellman, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott

OPERATIONS
Jose Cervantes, Director of Housekeeping, Hilton Americas -Houston

FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Regina Martinez, Pastry Chef, Hyatt Regency Houston

COMMUNITY SERVICE 
Diann Mitchell, Director of Sales & Marketing, Omni Houston Hotel-Westside

HOUSTON SPIRIT
Thomas Rosepink, General Manager, Houston Airport Marriott-IAH

A surprise Lifetime Achievement Award was given to John Keeling, Senior Vice President, PKF Capital Markets Group.

Chairing the black-tie event - after creating a near sold-out gala for its debut in 2005 and serving as chair every year since - will be Doug Horn, past Chairman of the Board of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitorís Bureau as well as a lifetime member of the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston.
 
More than 500 people attended the awards celebration which was held at the Hyatt Regency Houston Downtown.
 
Joining in on the celebration and recognition dinner was The University of Houston ~ Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, continuing a partnership that dates back almost forty years.
 
Candidates for all the awards are nominated by their peers and employers. The names of the nominees are submitted with detailed information on why they have been nominated and then given to a panel of industry leaders from all over Southeast Texas. The panel then selects the winners.
 
Proceeds from the special event benefit programs and services of the HLAGH and the Hilton College Alumni Board Endowed Scholarship. This newly-created scholarship will be awarded to students interested in pursuing studies in the hospitality industry.
 
Recognized internationally for its preeminence in the hospitality industry, the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management meets the high demand for education in management, leadership and the numerous disciplines of the complex hospitality industry.

The HLAGH represents the hotel industry that provides over 25,000 jobs in the city and is responsible for an economic impact of $9.8 billion in revenues. The Association strongly believes in supporting the community through outreach events such as the annual Bike Building Event as well as works to educate future hospitality employees through its scholarship programs and mentoring activities.

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Contact:

Joan Johnson 
Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston
(713) 437-5250

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