Woman honored for saving hotel guests

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Ropunda M. Henderson, center, was awarded with the 2013 Service Hero Award Tuesday for her efforts to save the lives of guests and their pets during a fire this past February at the Rodeway Inn and Suites. Pictured left to right: Kenneth Cole, Sales Manager; Jayesh Mehta, Director & CRO Southern Host Lodging; Henderson; Jimmy Johnson Brand, Performance Consultant for Choice Hotels; Jerome Dismuke, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Southern Host Lodging.

After a fire broke out at a Bossier City hotel in February, an employee was honored this week for her efforts to save guests and their pets.

Ropunda Henderson was awarded the Choice Hotel International 2013 Service Hero Award during a luncheon at Rodeway Inn & Suites Tuesday.

“I was just doing what I normally do — helping people,” Henderson said.

Hotel officials said the fire began when a guest fell asleep with a candle lit.

Henderson pulled the alarm, evacuated guests, and went to rooms with registered pets and removed them from harm’s way.

“When I saw the fire in the room, I just went knocking door to door saying, ‘Fire, fire, get out, get out,’” said Henderson.

Sales Manager Kenneth Cole nominated Henderson for the award because of what he deemed her heroic efforts.

Henderson was chosen among 300 nominees. The Service Hero Award is presented to one Choice Hotels employee from more than 6,000 Choice locations throughout the world during each quarter. Employees are nominated by a supervisor, based on exemplary behavior not only in the workplace, but also outside of the workplace.

“This award recognizes noteworthy individuals at Choice’s franchise hotels who go out of their way to provide the best possible service to their guests on a daily basis,” Choice Hotels International president and CEO Steve Joyce said. “Thank you for your stand-out efforts in providing service in providing guests at its finest. Your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty does not go unnoticed, and it’s truly admirable.”