Two island employees win E Awards, 113 nominated
The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce reported that the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau awarded two employees from Sanibel and Captiva and honored 111 other island nominees at the 21st Annual Elaine McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards on Aug. 26.
The E Awards honor tourism professionals for their extraordinary customer service and dedication — hospitality industry employees who go above and beyond to take care of visitors.
Residents, visitors and colleagues wrote 627 nominations for 467 individual nominees throughout Lee County this year. Awards were presented in seven categories: Other Services/Businesses, Restaurants, Transportation, Good Samaritan, Attractions, Accommodations, and Best Tourism Boss.
Among the nine awards presented, Christopher Comer with Tree West of Sanibel won the Other Services/Businesses category award for assisting a cyclist in a biking accident by transporting him to a medical center.
The Honor of Distinction award went to a nominee who overall exemplifies the best in customer service and hospitality professionals who love their jobs, love the destination but, more importantly, love people. A six-time nominee with the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva, Marina Bloetz won for personally caring for a family dealing with a child involved in a near-drowning accident. She assisted the family at the hospital until they were able to take the child home.
Staff from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce attended the awards breakfast at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center & Amphitheater in Fort Myers to support the island nominees, including two of its own visitor center staff. Anne Liese and Nancy McDole received nominations in the Other Services/Businesses category.
Other island businesses included: Bailey’s General Store, 26 nominees; Beachview Cottages, two nominees; Billy’s Rentals & Bike Shop, four nominees; Captain Bubby’s Island Tours, four nominees; Casa Ybel Resort, eight nominees; Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, one nominee; Inns of Sanibel, three nominees; The Island Cow, one nominee; Island Inn, one nominee; J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, five nominees; Matzaluna, one nominee; Royal Shell Vacations, three nominees; Sandalfoot Beachfront Condominium, one nominee; Sanibel Moorings Condominium Resort, 12 nominees; Sanibel’s Song of the Sea, three nominees; Shell Island Beach Club, one nominee; Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, 18 nominees; Tarpon Bay Explorers, 11 nominees; and ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, four nominees.
“Congratulations to island winners and nominees alike for this great honor demonstrating the level of commitment, care and service that prevails throughout the Sanibel and Captiva business communities,” chamber President and Chief Executive Officer John Lai said. “I can’t begin to express the pride my staff and I felt sitting among such a great representation of employees who come to work on the islands each day with a sense of duty toward the hospitality and tourism industry that is so important to our economy and well-being.”