Every year, Explore St. Louis honors exceptional service by hospitality industry employees. Frontliners who best exemplify our community’s ongoing commitment to great service are designated Hospitality Heroes.
We were thrilled that this year, several members of our team were recognized as Hospitality Heroes! We celebrated their commitment to service, along with all the other honorees, at a luncheon in late September.
The Forest Park Forever team members who were honored truly represent our guiding principle of taking the initiative to help where there is a need and go the extra mile to produce exceptional work. Keep reading to learn a bit more about these Hospitality Heroes.
Horticulturist Patrick Greenwald: In June 2017, Forest Park Forever management received a thank you note from a regular Park cyclist on the exceptional service and response he received from Patrick after the patron ran over a pile of glass from a broken bottle near the Boathouse. The incident badly damaged his rear tire. Patrick was nearby watering flowers, noticed something was wrong, offered to help the patron repair his tire and quickly picked up the broken glass so that others would not encounter the same misfortune.
Patrick went above and beyond by offering the patron a ride home if the tire patch did not hold. While this was not necessary, the patron was very appreciative of the gesture and Patrick's genuine concern that he make it home safely.
Nature Reserve Team ( Amy Witt, Josh Wibbenmeyer, Theo Smith, Paul Lewis, Bill Haag, Kevin Carter & Brittany Wehrle ): In spring of 2017, the Forest Park Forever Nature Reserve Team, led by Park Ecologist Amy Witt, implemented a Wildlife Impact Mitigation and Inventory Plan to capture and relocate wildlife in preparation for an improvement project along a section of the Park’s waterway. Working with partners from the Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri Department of Conservation, Fontbonne University and Chaminade College Preparatory School, the team safely collected Park wildlife, especially turtles, then inventoried and relocated them to other sites along the waterway where they can continue to live safely. This conservation project was forward-looking, making sure wildlife was safe before any construction took place.
This team of dedicated, urban ecologists are certainly heroes and champions for the wildlife that call Forest Park home. For this team, a key constituent and set of “customers” are the fauna that live within the Park’s 1,300 acres. Their work in spring 2017 will first and foremost improve the habitat for wildlife and the visitor experience and opportunity for people to engage in nature and with wildlife for many future generations of Park-goers
Darius Saulberry, Steve Burkhardt & Brandy Veal : When Darius entered the Men’s Locker Room at the Visitor Center one morning last fall, the last thing he expected to encounter was a regular Forest Park patron lying on the shower floor with a significant, bleeding head wound. Darius quickly jumped into action grabbing a towel and placing pressure on the gentleman’s wound to slow the bleeding. While Darius performed first aid, a locker room member ran up to the Forest Park Forever office looking for additional help. Brandy, who has medical training, and Steve immediately sprang into action to provide additional assistance and aid for the seriously injured Park patron. While Brandy called 911, relayed the gentleman’s condition and waited for the arrival of emergency responders, Steve and Darius stayed with the injured man, used more towels and pressure to control the bleeding and kept him talking to ensure he did not lose consciousness. Once EMS arrived and took over care, Steve obtained the man’s locker combination and retrieved his personal belongings prior to the ambulance transporting him to the hospital.
The following day, Steve called the locker room member to check on him. Thankfully he had no broken bones or serious injury, except for a minor concussion, but remained in the hospital overnight for observation. Everyone involved in the incident and the rest of staff and Park patrons were genuinely concerned for the regular Park patron and were relieved to know he was doing well. We continued to stay in touch with him and his wife as he recovered. About a week after the incident, we welcomed him warmly when he returned to the Park for his daily walk.