Grand Case Beach Club employees in jubilant mood at the thank you party on Friday. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT–A gathering of employees and hotel management was convened Friday at Grand Case Beach Club to celebrate the financial windfall hotel employees have received thanks to an outpouring of support from loyal hotel guests following Hurricane Irma.
The gathering took the form of a formal “thank you” from employees to the wider Kopcienski family who organized the fund raising.
The hotel was severely damaged during the hurricanes and the lives of all employees disrupted, but days after Irma hotel guests and owners who regularly stay at Grand Case Beach Club banded together to raise money for the employees. Hotel management was not involved in the initiative.
“Our family has been coming here for 30 years and there have been many events here such as graduations, honeymoons, anniversaries, so we retain a lot of memories and of course we know the staff very well,” explained Jennie Frenette, who started the fund-raising initiative with her sister Therese Blanton. “We know all of them – security, cleaning ladies, gardeners, housemaids and waiters, etcetera. So, when Irma hit we were all devastated in the USA by what had happened. Once we got all of our family together on the weekend of September 16, we decided to do something for the staff as this is really our home away from home.
“That led to finding a crowd funding website called ‘Youcaring’ where we started this fund raising. Within a few days, the donations went from US $50,000 to close to $200,000, but what were so interesting were all the comments other guests made, remembering members of staff by name. Everybody had some good memories.”
Two distributions of the money raised have already been made. Each employee is receiving just under $5,000.
Meanwhile the hotel management remains guarded on a possible soft re-opening date this summer, preferring not to make any predictions. However, Financial Manager Jean-Francois Billot indicated the hotel would be ready for the start of the 2018-2019 winter season.
A buffet lunch was enjoyed by all afterwards.