Hospitality Heroes

The Hospitality Hero Recognition Program by Explore St. Louis is a frontline employee recognition program designed to stimulate and reward exceptional service by hospitality industry employees.

Frontliners who best exemplify our industry’s ongoing commitment to great service are nominated and potentially awarded as Hospitality Heroes. Nominations may be submitted by coworkers, management, and even guests of our industry.

As of September 2022, we are proud to announce nominations for Hospitality Heroes will now be open all year round!

With a new deadline of June 30, all previously sent submissions will be judged by a panel of community leaders and customer service experts.

Of these heroes, those who give high quality guest service, go a step farther to WOW a guest by rising to an unexpected occasion and pulling out all the stops to come to a positive and memorable resolution are named Super Heroes and additional recognition in local media and a special video recreating their heroic acts.

All approved Heroes and Super Heroes will be recognized in the fall during the Explore St. Louis Annual Meeting.

Nominate a 2023 Hospitality Hero

2022 Hospitality Superheroes

View the video below to see the 2022 Superheroes and their “WOW” moment.


Sabitra Bartaula, River City Casino

While working at River City Casino, Sabitra Bartaula noticed a woman struggling in a bathroom stall. Bartaula asked if the woman was OK, but she didn’t answer, so Bartaula immediately contacted security. The woman became incapacitated, but because of Bartaula’s intuition and actions, the woman received the medical attention she needed to save her life.

Tommy Brown, Saint Louis Zoo

When a woman in hospice contacted Tommy Brown about her final wishes, he arranged a behind-the-scenes experience for her and her family at the Saint Louis Zoo. The day included time with the sea lions and lunch, with Brown putting forth the extra effort to make sure everyone had a good time. A few days later, the family notified the Saint Louis Zoo team of the woman’s passing, expressing their gratitude for everything that Brown did for them and their loved one.

Alexandria Dent, St. Louis Lambert International Airport

At St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Alexandria Dent overheard a traveler say that her rings were missing. Immediately offering to help, Dent began to dig through the trash bin where the woman thought she had lost them when she was drying her hands. Dent didn’t stop until she found the rings towards the bottom of the bin, stealthily wrapped in a paper towel. How many people do you know who would riffle through trash for a stranger?

William “Scott” Hunsche, Element St. Louis Midtown

When a group of guests of the Element St. Louis Midtown couldn’t find a nearby place for happy hour, front office manager Scott Hunsche took it upon himself to brighten their night. Hunsche gathered beverages from around the hotel and created a mini bar in the lobby. His story is a prime example of the thoughtfulness of hospitality workers.

Stephanie Friz, River City Casino

After being notified that a woman had collapsed in the parking lot of River City Casino, officer Stephanie Friz administered CPR, refusing to stop or to allow anyone to take over for her until an ambulance had arrived. A few days later, the woman’s daughter told the casino that her mother had survived due to Friz’s dependability and persistence.

Claudia Lombard, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis – Westport

Over time, server Claudia Lombard has developed a deep connection to a patient of HavenHouse St. Louis, Havyn, who stays at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis – Westport with her family in between treatments. As a testament to their relationship, Havyn was recorded saying that Lombard is her “favorite thing about HavenHouse” – the video later aired at a gala where Havyn received an award.

Brandi Napier, Element St. Louis Midtown

Becoming aware of an unresponsive guest, housekeeper Brandi Napier performed CPR until an ambulance arrived. Napier’s quick thinking saved the guest’s life, and although Napier now works at Kingside Diner, she will always be remembered at the Element St. Louis Midtown.


Loyd Rogers, Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel

Loyd Rogers, a shuttle driver for the Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel, goes above and beyond his job description every day. In one instance, Rogers did everything in his power to make sure a guest in a wheelchair was safe and comfortable, including procuring a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to take the guest to the hotel and finding a suitable room for the guest at a neighboring location when the Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel didn’t have one. With care and hard work, Rogers was able to make another visitor to St. Louis feel valued.