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Benchmark Hospitality Responds to Haitian Earthquake
By Encouraging and Matching Employee Donations

Benchmark Family Touched in a very personal way by Earthquake

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, March 2010 ... When Benchmark employee Mike VanDuzer and his wife made plans to adopt their daughter in Haiti, they had expected a process that would involve visits to Haiti, navigating through the red tape of two governments, and time.  An earthquake was not in the plans.

When quake struck and communication with Haiti and the adoption agency was cut off, their lives were spun into some of the most difficult hours they have endured as a family.  Not until a CBS national news broadcast were they able to have assurance of their daughter’s survival, especially evidenced in footage aired of her:;photovideo

Beloved at his property, Cheyenne Mountain Resort of Colorado Springs, Mr. VanDuzer’s General Manager and Benchmark Vice President Laura Neumann, who is head of the global company’s Hometown Hospitality Caring For Our Communities initiative, sprung into action that reverberated companywide.  

“What was most needed in Haiti was money for food, water and medical supplies,” said Ms. Neumann.  “Instead of feeling helpless, we responded with action and with the active support of our Chairman and CEO Burt Cabañas, we started raising money.  Our company has a strong relationship with Haiti through the VanDuzers and with nearly 300 of our employees who are of Haitian descent.”

Ms. Neumann and Mr. Cabañas immediately set up an opportunity for Benchmark employees to donate to Haiti relief through the American Red Cross, with Benchmark matching employee contributions dollar for dollar. To date, over $25,000 has been raised through employee contributions and Benchmark’s matching funds.

“We intend to keep this up as long as is needed,” said Ms. Neumann.  “There is a lot of work to be done and a significant need for donations.  We encourage all of our colleagues within the hospitality industry to join us to help meet the overwhelming need for resources to assist in Haiti.”

The update on the VanDuzers -- their daughter has come home to Colorado Springs in an accelerated adoption. 

American Red Cross 

About Hometown Hospitality:  The “Hometown Hospitality Caring For Our Communities” program of Benchmark Hospitality advances the philanthropic endeavors of the leading hotel management company through employee volunteer programs, in-kind donations and community outreach activities.  

About Benchmark:  Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Hotels™.  The independent company, launched in 1980, is a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers.  Benchmark Hospitality is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations.  Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston.  The company’s northeast regional office is in New Jersey, with international offices in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark’s properties and additional information, visit


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

Also See: Benchmark Hospitality International Donates 30 Vacations to Families throughout the United States; 250 Respond in Nationwide Family Vacation Initiative with Boys & Girls Clubs of America / January 2010

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