Excellence was recognized at Tourism Richmond Service Awards

It was a night of celebrating excellence at the sixth annual Tourism Richmond Service Awards on Tuesday at the River Rock Casino Resort’s show theatre.

Cherie Dubois of Harold’s Bistro at Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel was recognized with the Service Excellence Award in the Food and Beverage category.

Dubois received more nominations than any other individual this year.

“I am amazed that the Richmond Sheraton Harold’s continually get people to serve who have such exceptional personalities. Cherie is great and makes you feel terrific.”

Another guest described her as “superb, friendly, attentive without being intrusive.”

Other nominees in the category were Virginia Aludino, of the River Rock Casino Resort, and Charles Massion, also of the River Rock Casino Resort.

Other award winners were:

• Attractions: Robert Atkinson, River Rock Casino Resort—Atkinson was honoured with the award for his work in assisting a distraught person who had climbed over a third-floor railingin the hotel’s atrium. The person started yelling at people, and Atkinson immediately began to talk to the person in an attempt to calm him down. Along with another security officer, Atkinson managed to eventually calm the man down until police arrived.

Also nominated were Daniel Cameron, River Rock Casino Resort, and Harvinder Jaswal, River Rock Casino Resort.

• Tourism Partner Award: Joey Kwan, director of promotion and public relations at Aberdeen Centre—Kwan was described by organizers as “the epitome of a giving partner who cares about the hospitality and tourism industry in Richmond.” In 2008, she organized an event at Aberdeen Centre for the 20080Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, which had people lining up at 4 a.m. In 2010, she hosted the Canadian Olympic Speed Skating team and their families, and hosted a reception for 220 delegates during the national conference for the Travel Media Association of Canada.

• Retail: Jack Zhong, Chapters, Ackroyd, Richmond—a delighted Chapter’s customer wrote how Zhong turned what would have been a tiresome book search into a 15-minute shortcut. Armed with a list, the customer approached Zhong, who proceeded to look up each book on the computer to ensure they were in stock, picked out each book for the customer, and then guided the customer to the cashier. “Talk about above and beyond,” the nominator said. Also nominated: Wendy Craig, Scotiabank; Katharyn    Spearman, Express- Richmond Centre.

• Travel and Transportation: Mike Cappiello, Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel—A Sheraton Airport shuttle driver, Cappiello came to the rescue of a family who arrived one hour late on a flight from Los Angeles. They wrote: “Our luck changed at approx. 12:45 a.m. (Cappiello) handled three sets of baggage...then disappeared into the hotel while we were checking in. Within minutes, Mike appeared again, carrying a glass of milk and cookies for my eight year old granddaughter who was quietly suffering from lack of sleep. This kind of gesture brought a bright ray of sunshine to what had been a nasty travelling experience. When we offered our thanks, he replied: ‘That’s what we do at the Sheraton.’”

Also nominated: Connor Moon, Tourism Richmond Visitor Centre; Lucky Pahwa, ICBC Driver Services.

• Tourism Spirit Award: Frank Keitsch, fondly known as Fisherman Frank—A second generation fisherman who has been fishing for 30 years, Frank Keitsch was born and raised in Steveston, and works for Organic Ocean, where he practices sustainable fishing.

Back in 2010, when Entertainment Tonight Canada arrived in Richmond, and filmed a segment in Steveston. “...(W)e needed a fisherman to supply a boat, a dead halibut (made to look alive), and then take the ET Canada hosts out on a trip to catch that halibut. He stepped up and has been doing so ever since.”

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