Longtime Arlington hospitality workers lauded for commitment

Hattie Jones, who works at Army Navy Country Club, was honored as a Bob Klein Legendary Service Awards recipient by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 28, 2020. (Arlington Chamber photo)

It’s a relatively quick jaunt from her home in Arlington View to Army Navy Country Club. And club members are always glad to see Hattie Jones arrive.

Jones was hired by the club on her birthday (Sept. 22) in 1987, and in the ensuing 32 years has served both as a front-desk receptionist and coat-room attendant.

That tenure alone is enough to merit celebration, but Jones last year reached her centennial  – and shows no signs of slowing down.

“She was born for hospitality – even at 100 years old, she continues with grace and service with a smile, better than most half her age,” noted the Arlington Chamber of Commerce in saluting Jones with one of 23 Bob Klein Legendary Service Awards as part of the 2020 Hospitality Awards, held Jan. 28.

The awards salute long-serving members  with more than a quarter-century in the Arlington hospitality industry. The award is named in honor of the late Bob Klein, a general manager of the Holiday Inn National Airport who was instrumental in creating the Hospitality Awards.

Jones may have been the most seasoned of the honorees, but she did not have the longest tenure of the 2020 inductees into the pantheon. That honor goes to Favio Amezquita of the Crystal City Marriott, who has been with the company for nearly 47 years.

“Within the hotel, he is seen as a team member who is always willing to share his expertise and knowledge,” Chamber officials said. “His job as a hotel engineer is not easy, but he has such a great attitude.”

Another 40-plus-year honoree was James Lee of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn, another in the engineering field.

“His knowledge is invaluable,” Chamber officials said. “He is an expert in what he does, and prides himself in cultivating young engineers. Many of his former colleagues have gone on to master various trades in the plumbing, electric and HVAC fields after learning the basics from him.”

Another recipient, Minerva “Minnie” Lagdameo, has served for 29 years at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn and is described as the “heartbeat” of the hotel.

“She goes above and beyond to help guests with special requests or lost items,” the Chamber noted, mentioning her recent quest through all the hotel linens (on a sold-out night) to track down a teddy bear that had gone missing during a school trip to the local area. The bear was reunited with its young owner.

Also celebrated with Bob Klein awards were Ester Pabico of the Crystal Gateway Marriott (39 years), Jose Quiroz of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn (39 years), Muhidin “Atta” Negash of the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (37 years), Michael Lee of the Renaissance Arlington Capital View (35 years), Musa Awadallah of the Key Bridge Marriott (35 years), Orlando Morales of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn (32 years), Wendy Hyunh of the Key Bridge Marriott (31 years), Elizabeth Smith of the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel (31 years), Gloria Membrano of the Westin Crystal City (30 years), Marcos Martinez Andrade of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn (30 years), Juana Bermudez of the Crystal City Marriott (30 years), Edelmira “Delmy” Melendez of the Crystal Gateway Marriott (29 years), Gael Manrique Lemus Cruz of the Hyatt Centric Arlington (29 years), Yared Tibedu of the Crystal Gateway Marriott (29 years), Chalee Thompson of the Arlington Renaissance Capital View (26 years), Hanna Lemma of the Crystal Gateway Marriott (26 years), Hiwot Semere of the Renaissance Arlington Capital View (26 years), Jose Ernesto Gonzalez of the Crsystal Gateway Marriott (25 years) and Ana Escobar of the Renaissance Arlington Capital View (25 years).

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