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Houston Based Benchmark Hospitality Helps Build Seawall
Protecting Sheffield Island in Long Island Sound

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas,  August 24, 2007 - Every year, Benchmark Hospitality hosts a company picnic celebration on the exquisite and historic Sheffield Island in Long Island Sound.  At the foot of this intimate island is a restored circa 1868 Victorian-era stone lighthouse, which opens its doors daily, inviting island goers to take a few moments and commune with the 19th century lighthouse keeper family, whose household items remain in the building.  Students on summer break serve as tour guides.  A Benchmark picnic on the Sheffield Island simply isn't complete without a climb to the lamp room and widow's walk at the top of this vintage building. 

Visiting the island is something Benchmark team members look forward to every year.  The gorgeous scenery, spectacular views of the Sound, the interpersonal connection that comes with getting away together, and the scenic ride to the island on The General -- the converted Korean War-era vessel of Sam Haigh, president and COO of Benchmark Hospitality -- all add to a spirit of adventure the Benchmark team experiences every year.

"But nothing lasts forever unless we take care of it," said Sam Haigh.  "Time and Mother Nature exact a toll."  At Sheffield Island, the shoreline is constantly eroding, which can eventually threaten the integrity of the island and its structures, such as the historic lighthouse.  "Benchmark has a company-wide Hometown Hospitality initiative through which we endeavor to be a vital part of each community in which we operate," continued Haigh.  "Since Sheffield Island is a favorite for Benchmark employee outings, every year we ask how we can lend a hand to help preserve this beautiful place enjoyed by so many families each summer, including the Benchmark family."

Following a lobster, clams & grilled chicken picnic lunch, the Benchmark team, properly fortified, forewent dessert, gathered into teams, and headed for the shore.  Here they commenced the building of a new Gabion Seawall designated by the Island Keeper as an important and necessary action, designed  to control the Sound"s encroachment. 

By the end of the afternoon, 20 tons of rock had been hauled by hand and loaded into multiple wire mesh containers, which composed the seawall.  The Benchmark team left the island better equipped to ward off the advancement of Long Island Sound for another year.  "It's our gift to Sheffield Island every year we visit," concluded Haigh.  "Maybe our efforts can help inspire others too.  We hope so because if more people pitch in, places like this can go on giving recreation and pleasure to families for years to come."

L-R: Sam Haigh, Benchmark's Home Office (edge of photo); Brad Matos, Edith Macy Conference Center; Guest; Lance Dorsey, Virginia Crossings Resort; James Kyle, The Chattanoogan; Alex Cabanas, Home Office; Matos Vivas, Glen Cove Mansion.


L-R:  Lisa Jordan, Glen Cove Mansion; Katie Smith, The Founders Inn; Tim Webster, The Heldrich; Johanne Crawford, Glen Cove Mansion; Mambaye Ndiaye, The Heldrich.
The Hometown Hospitality - Caring For Our Communities program of Benchmark Hospitality International advances the philanthropic endeavors of the leading hospitality management company through employee volunteer programs, in-kind donations and community outreach activities.  Benchmark believes that responsible corporate citizenship recognizes the inalienable link between a healthy and vibrant community and the health and well being of a company and its employees. Hometown Hospitality - Caring for Our Communities encourages and enables Benchmark employees globally to seek leading roles in the communities in which they live and work and the world community as well by supporting social, educational, and cultural programs, either through property-developed initiatives or through partnering with existing services. 

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


Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax

Also See: Benchmarks's Hometown Hospitality Community Outreach Initiative Put In Action on Historic Sheffield Island in Long Island Sound / August 2006
Benchmark Hospitality Cleans Up Island as Part of Special 25th Anniversary All Employee Outing / September 5, 2005


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