Hilton Garden Inn Rebuilds Staten Island Park Six Months After Hurricane Sandy
South Beach Park Project One of Many Hilton Garden Inn Efforts to Support Storm Victims Across the Tri-State Area
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - More than 30 Hilton Garden Inn team members came together on Saturday, April 20 in Staten Island to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. As a part of Hilton Garden Inn's You Can Count on Us community relations program and to recognize the six-month marker since the storm, team members from across the Tri-State area participated in New York Cares semiannual Cares Day serve-a-thon to rebuild South Beach Park, cleaning and replanting the garden areas that serve as a seasonal playground for many local residents.
You Can Count on Us is Hilton Garden Inn's signature community relations program that sets out to nurture and nourish communities in which team members live, work and travel. The program is a part of Hilton Worldwide's Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility engagement, a commitment to furthering the company's vision of "filling the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality."
For their efforts in Staten Island, team members were awarded The President's Volunteer Service Award, the premier volunteer awards program in the United States, which recognizes individuals and groups that complete the number of required hours within a 12 month period for each award level. Bronze level groups are required to reach a total of 200 hours with a minimum for three persons.
"The 'You Can Count on Us' culture is very strong at Hilton Garden Inn, particularly within the Tri-State area where many of our team members and neighbors have had to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Irene, and most recently Hurricane Sandy," said Judy Christa-Cathey, vice president of Focused Service Marketing (Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Hotels)."Hilton Garden Inn team members just have that hospitality gene. Support and service doesn't stop at our hotels; it goes out into the communities, in which we live, work and travel."
Earlier in the week, the team at the Hilton Garden Inn JFK Airport in Queens hosted a barbecue for Sandy victims who were displaced by the storm and are still living at the hotel. Families enjoyed a DJ, refreshments, face paintings and the entertainment of two clowns, who created balloon animals for the children attending. Hilton Garden Inn team members also distributed toiletries, clothing and children's toys that local businesses had donated.
Several local residents, who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy, are still staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Staten Island and Hilton Garden Inn JFK Airport. Over the past six months, the Hilton Garden Inn staff - many of whom were affected by the hurricane themselves - has created a home for those displaced by the storm.
Richard Nicotra, Chairman/President of The Nicotra Group, LLC, owner of the Hilton Garden Inn Staten Island, has led many of the efforts to help his community and its residents recover.
Nicotra continues community outreach and support. He hosted a relief benefit with his wife Lois in late 2012, raising nearly $150,000 for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation for Sandy Relief. The Hilton Garden Inn Staten Island has partnered with the Siller Foundation to raise funds and gather donations for victims of Sandy, while also directly supporting local families and businesses in the area.
"We've hosted holiday parties, celebrated nuptials, and connected guests with community resources," said Nicotra. "As a Staten Island resident, supporting the community is important to me. Hilton Garden Inn's response to the devastation on Staten Island, from housing the Red Cross and dozens of displaced residents to continuing to support our guests during their extended stay, has made this location, in particular, one of the key supporters of relief efforts."