National Harbor to honor employees for service during COVID-19 pandemic

National Harbor will honor 14 local employees on Tuesday at the Waterfront Plaza who have been identified by employers, residents and co-workers as someone who went above and beyond during the pandemic. 

"There are so many men and women who are responsible for keeping National Harbor running during the pandemic," said Kent Digby, executive vice president of operations at National Harbor. "The many essential workers who showed up when there was so much uncertainty. These dedicated people made sure that the businesses they work for would survive."

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Honorees include Will Mock of Succotash who stepped in for three months and handled carryout, fed families in need and did a lot of dishes. Without Will, the restaurant predicts it would have failed during the pandemic.

Cleotilde Reyes cleans both public and private restrooms at National Harbor. When the pandemic hit, she still came to work and helped keep the public areas clean. 

Jadranka Belajic and Jose Pabon work for the Westin National Harbor. Jadranka is the general manager and Jose works in housekeeping; however, during the pandemic, they both worked wherever needed. Jadranka cleaned rooms when needed and Jose helped guests in the lobby. They worked overtime to keep the hotel running.

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Tracy Whittiker works for Bobby McKey’s. She wore many hats during Covid from grocery shopping for the restaurant’s kitchen (food orders were too low to get deliveries,) to cooking to moving seating outdoors to the rooftop. She cooked for and fed performers who were there for virtual shows.

Jenny Centano is the day porter for the Medical Pavilion at National Harbor. She came to work every day during Covid, even when tenants’ offices were closed to ensure the interior and exterior of the building were cared for. She picked up trash outside and made sure everything was clean and orderly—even on adjacent properties.

Lilly Pierce is a resident at National Harbor who was concerned for the retailers during the tough time. She would stop by outside various retailers and just make sure they were okay. 

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"In tough times, you find out who the heroes are," added Digby. "There are so many who stepped up at National Harbor, worked overtime and didn’t care about their job description. They just jumped in."