LEXINGTON, Ky. - VisitLEX today announced the Lexington Hospitality Award winners for 2017 during an awards luncheon at the Hyatt Regency.

The award honors front-line, non-managerial staff and volunteers in the tourism industry who have demonstrated exceptional service.

It is the second year of the awards and the first time it was open to workers throughout the Bluegrass Region, where tourism employs more than 26,000 people and contributes $3 billion to the economy.

"They are the unsung heroes of hospitality in our community," said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX. "These award winners have gone the extra mile to make visitors feel welcome and have a memorable experience."

The 2017 winners are:

Patty Doyle, who has been with Broadway Live at the Opera House for 8 years;
Nicholas Tooth, a retired jockey who has spent the past 2 years working at Keeneland as a     BETologist, hospitality golf cart driver during sales and a tour guide;
Freddie Johnson, a tour guide who has worked for Buffalo Trace Distillery for 14 years;
Charlotte Reeder, a gift shop employee who has worked for the Kentucky Horse Park for 39    years;
Kenny Simpson, who has volunteered for the Cynthiana/Harrison County Museum for more      than 10 years
Randall Boyers, a volunteer with the Cynthiana/Harrison County Museum who has been a       part of its efforts for more than 20 years of its 23-year history;
Tyler Williams, who has worked at the front desk of the Hampton Inn Lexington Medical          Center for a year;
Marjorie (Margie) Green, who has worked with Bluegrass Extended Stay for 9 years;
Filomeno Saquilabon, who has worked for Hilton Lexington Suites for 17 years;
Jon Prewitt, who has worked for Holiday Inn Express Lexington NE for 5 years;
Kathy White, a restaurant server, who has worked for Marriott Griffin Gate Resort and Spa      for 27 years;
Avis King, who has been a line cook for Hilton Lexington Downtown for 31 years;
Joequetta Lewis, who has worked at the Lexington Courtyard by Marriott North for two           years;
Allison Barlow, who has been serving customers for 25 years at Ramsey's Diners;
Thomas Usher, who has been a server at Stella's Kentucky Deli for 3 years;
Ricky Arnett, who has worked in the hospitality industry for many years as a bartender, host
  and manager, and spent the past 25 years behind the bar at Dudley's;
Billy Trussel, who has worked at The Julep Cup for more than 5 years; and
Heather Smith, who works at Malone's Hamburg and has been with Bluegrass Hospitality
  Group for 10 years.