Visit Lake Charles hosted the annual R.O.S.E (Recognition of Service Excellence) Award Ceremony on Monday, May 2 at L’Auberge Resort Casino Hotel. The organization honored partners in tourism for their significant contributions to the tourism industry in Southwest Louisiana with the Legacy Awards. Recipients are a culmination of community leaders, entrepreneurs, and advocates who are committed to elevating tourism in a variety of ways. The following tourism partners received Legacy Awards:
Hospitality Arts & Tourism Award
Randy Partin, President of Arts Council of Southwest Louisiana
Partin has been dedicated to theatre and the arts in the Lake Area as a performer and on the board of the Lake Charles Little Theatre for 13 years, serving as the president of the board for 8 years. He is currently the president of the Arts Council of Southwest Louisiana and the visionary behind the Live Arts Venue Alliance.
Lasting Impression Award
Sam Moore, Head Baseball Coach at Sulphur High School
While Southwest Louisiana is known as the youth sports capital of Louisiana, over the last several years, high school baseball has become a huge contributor to the economic fabric of the community. Moore’s integral assistance and support for hosting the Future Stars Series helped to bring the largest single piece of tourism business to Southwest Louisiana.
Public Service Award
Ronnie Johns, Chair of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board
Last year as the tourism industry worked with legislators to pass the framework for the Tourism Recovery and Improvement District bill, then Senator Johns, took the piece of legislation from the House of Representatives and stewarded it to the finish line with the Governor's signature. Johns currently serves as the chair for the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, and Visit Lake Charles applauds his leadership in this role.
Tourism Lifetime Service Award
Mayor Bob Hardey, Former Mayor of Westlake, Louisiana
The late Mayor Hardey was a stalwart supporter of Westlake, the people of Westlake, and Southwest Louisiana. Hardey dedicated his life to public service, transparency in government, and investing for the future. Anyone who has been to The National Golf Club of Louisiana and seen the improvements to the grounds, the incredible clubhouse, and The Max Restaurant, can see the vision that he had for Westlake.
Sports Partner of the Year Award
Joey Odom, Owner of Sports Productions of Louisiana
Despite numerous challenges in hosting events in Southwest Louisiana due to Hurricanes Laura and Delta, Odom never gave up on holding over 20 annual events in Calcasieu Parish. He has been a loyal partner to Visit Lake Charles and area parks by keeping such prestigious events as the Governor’s Games, USSSA State Tournament, and USSSA World Series right here in Louisiana’s Playground.
The Chair’s Cup
Larry Avery, Co-founder of Crying Eagle Brewing Company
Avery has a longstanding history of working with Visit Lake Charles through Big Easy Foods, and also, Crying Eagle. His family came to the forefront of the hurricane aftermath and added much-needed community support by lifting morale with the Southwest Louisiana “Back in Flight” Concert and Charity Event in 2020 and 2021. He is committed to building a restaurant on the Lakefront near the future Port Wonder project which will greatly enhance tourism and lakefront development.
Shelley Johnson Tourism Leadership Award
Jill Kidder, President/CEO of Louisiana Travel Association
With more than 30 years of hospitality experience in different facets of travel, tourism, and economic development, Kidder oversees Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) which is an 800-member trade association that promotes, educates, and advocates for the Louisiana Tourism industry. She has recently become registered as an official lobbyist and extended her duties to include advocating for tourism.
“The Legacy Award recipients have made significant contributions for tourism from supporting and promoting programming to shaping and advocating for the future of tourism in Southwest Louisiana. We are fortunate to have strong partnerships across the board who champion the mission of showcasing Southwest Louisiana as a vibrant destination for leisure or group business,” said Kyle Edmiston, President/CEO of Visit Lake Charles.
The R.O.S.E Awards ceremony was held in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), which is observed during the first full week in May every year. NTTW is a nationwide effort organized by the U.S. Travel Association to recognize the contributions that the travel industry has to the economy, workforce, and quality of life initiatives.
Visit www.VisitLakeCharles.org/ROSE to see a full list of Legacy Award recipients as well as R.O.S.E. award winners from the award ceremony held during National Travel & Tourism Week.