Contact: Pat Frew
FLORENCE WELCOME CENTER DIRECTOR NAMED BUREAU HERO FOR ROLE IN RETRIEVAL OF VALUABLE RING LOST AT CENTER
Covington, KY/February 26, 2009–Florence Welcome Center Manager Jeff Thoke has received the latest Bureau Hero award from the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau for his role in helping a central Ohio woman retrieve a wedding ring, worth $24,000 lost on New Years Day at the welcome center.
The award is given to hotel and hospitality staff in Northern Kentucky, who provide service above and beyond the call of duty. More than 40 people have been sited during the program’s five years of existence.
Thoke was saluted for helping to track down a State Farm insurance agent who stopped in the Center to inquire about the wedding ring the day after Phyllis Steelsmith of Dublin, OH reported losing it. The agent, Chuck Davis had not left his contact information.
“The only information I had was he was a State Farm agent in Columbus. I had to hunt him down by doing an Internet search of State Farm agents in Ohio. I went through the central office in Ohio, and they sent out an email to more than 90 agents in three regions,” said Thoke.
In the meantime, the same day Steelsmith lost the ring, it was found in the women’s restroom by another traveler, 73-year old Eileen Dillon of Trenton, MI. Dillon thought the ring was costume jewelry initially. After procrastinating a couple weeks, Dillon had the ring appraised by a jeweler in Tampa, her final destination as a winter “snowbird.” That’s when she began her quest to get the ring to her rightful owner.
The ring is back in Steelsmith’s possession but the story won’t end there. When Dillon heads back north this spring, probably early April, she will be honored by the Kentucky Department of Travel, and given the Kentucky Colonel designation. At that ceremony, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory also plans to give her a personalized bat with her engraved name.
The mission of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau is that of an aggressive sales, marketing, service and informational organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact the Northern Kentucky economy through conventions, meetings and visitor expenditures. The direct economic impact of visitors’ spending in Campbell, Kenton and Boone Counties in 2007 was $325 million.