IRON RANGE —The Iron Range Tourism Bureau has announced the 2020 Spirit of Hospitality Award (SOHA) nominees in eight categories. All nominees are interviewed by two judges, and a winner is chosen in each category. Winners will be announced at an awards event on Sunday, November 1, from 5 – 7 p.m. at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. To accommodate social distancing, attendance will be limited to the nominee and one guest only. No additional tickets will be sold.
The Spirit of Hospitality Awards, now in their ninth year, honor front-facing and behind-the-scenes employees who contribute to the true spirit of hospitality on the Mesabi Iron Range. Nominees are:
FOOD PRODUCTION: Jon Bustamante, Domino’s Pizza; Sandra Chamernick, Bil- Mars; Char Childs, Fortune Bay Resort Casino; Willie Ferkul, Koshar’s Sausage Kitchen; Robin Flannery, New Journey; Shaunna Gibbs; Charissa Hayden, Country Kitchen; Pamela Judkins, Vi’s Pizza; Jerry Kaivola, Sawmill Saloon; Mitch Meehan, Sawmill Saloon; Anna Mills, BoomTown Brewery; Mike Ritacco, Sawmill Saloon; Brandon Sersha, Sawmill Saloon; Doug Speare, Giants Ridge; David Stern, Northern Divide Bar & Eatery; Andy Tiede, Sawmill Saloon; Jonathan Vue, Giants Ridge; Lucian Whitney, Fortune Bay Resort Casino; and Kyle Wood, Grandma’s Saloon and Grill, Virginia.
RETAIL: Quanda Owens of Mountain Iron AT&T store; Samantha Damjanovich, The Bottle Shop; Kelly Gustavsson, Caribou Coffee and Bagels; and Harley Hankins, Target.
SERVER: Nova Ahlbom, Country Kitchen; Marilyn Barcus, Fairview coffee shop; Emma Barret, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay; Jaime Checco, Sawmill Saloon; Emma Culbert, Country Kitchen; Abbey Fox, Sawmill Saloon; Sarina Greskowiak, Northern Divide Bar & Eatery; Emily Grummett, Sawmill; Ivy Hickerson, BoomTown; Hope Howell, Giants Ridge; Alyssa Jackson, Sawmill; Samantha Jorgensen, BoomTown; Taylor Kaivola, Sawmill; Rhonda Kaivola, Adventure’s Restaurant; Jacie Lakoskey, Sawmill; Jodi Michalski, Sawmill; Amber Nordahl, Country Kitchen; Ashley Stephens, BoomTown Brewery; and Megan Vidas, Mary’s Morsels.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Stephen Chapman, Boom- Town; Thomas Cortez, Giants Ridge; Sue Engelstad, Giants Ridge; Shawntel Gruba, Iron Range Tykes Learning Center; Patricia Oberg, Giants Ridge; Roseanne Marie Omersa, Mesabi Range College-Eveleth; Marion Padilla, Virginia Drop In Daycare; Amanda Reed, Virginia Drop-In Daycare; and Tai Schweigert, BoomTown.
HOTEL GUEST SERVICES: Jessie Dahle, Chisholm Inn and Suites; Elizabeth French, AmericInn Lodge and Suites; Rebecca Johnson, Chisholm Inn & Suites; Tristan Renner, Comfort Inn & Suites; and Diane Sandvig, Hampton Inn.
GUEST RELATIONS: Mary Brascugli-Rosett, Giants Ridge; Dawn Dean Frazee, Northern Twisters Gymnastics; Elise Grabowski, Fortune Bay Resort Casino; James Hanson, Target; Abi Mulner, Country Kitchen; Marlene Larson, Country Kitchen; Megan Omersa, Laurentian Divide Spa; James Stephens, Giants Ridge; Kayla Sweeney, Laurentian Divide Spa; and Aviana Yankey, Sawmill.
BARTENDER: Olivia Grummett, Sawmill; Alice Gruska, BoomTown; Shaylynn Hartland, Fortune Bay Resort Casino; Angela Johnson, T&T Dom; Kipp Kerfeld, Northern Divide Bar & Eatery; Lacey Murphy, Giants Ridge; Joe Petrich, BoomTown/Johnny D’s; Alexandra Prebarich, BoomTown; Lynne Smith, Hoyt Lakes VFW; and Peter Vachon, BoomTown Brewery.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: John Soghigian, Debby Bocnuk Roswold, and Pete Pellinen.
“These 78 employees, and all our hospitality workers, deserve recognition for the vital role they play in welcoming people to the Mesabi Iron Range and representing our business and nonprofit community in exemplary ways,” said Jane Serrano, general manager of the Comfort Inn and Suites and chair of the SOHA committee.
For more information, call the Iron Range Tourism Bureau at 218-749-8161.