Service over and above

28 honored at first annual Celebrate Service Awards

M. Catharina O. Araujo, center, of Reliable Market is one of three to win top award. —Teresa Kruszewski

“We wanted to start a new conversation,” said Nancy Gardella, executive director of Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, “a conversation about what elements make up great customer service. As that conversation evolved, it became clear that great customer service starts with people. The people right here in our own community, who, day in and day out, take pride in their work, and take care with the people they serve.”

On April 11, as a result of that conversation, the first annual Celebrate Service Awards, co-sponsored and hosted by the Harbor View Hotel, became a reality, a celebration and recognition of these exceptional Island people “who make our customer experience amazing,” said Gardella. “We are surrounded here tonight by people who are good at their job and the people who love to brag about them.”

Honoree Melissa Abram, born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, has worked at the Stop & Shop Pharmacy in Edgartown for 15 years. “I am very shocked and happy to be nominated,” she said, “I am so happy, so happy!”

Leslie Floyd, managing broker of Point B Realty in Edgartown, was nominated by Aela Mass. “I helped her and her wife find a house, their first home,” said Floyd. “They were moved enough by my service to nominate me. I was absolutely blown away; I actually cried when I found out.” Floyd, a realtor of 26 years, celebrated the evening with her mother, who had trained her.

“The honorees were nominated by peers and the community in general,” said Tim Lowe, a chamber ambassador. “Nominations came from anyone in the community, all types, all walks of life, all different industries.” This nomination process and ceremony was to raise awareness that good customer service, exceptional customer service, does exist on Martha’s Vineyard, and to celebrate the people who accomplish that.

There were 28 nominees this year; everyone received honorable mention. Three were selected as exceptional among this remarkable group, and received special recognition awards for outstanding service: M. Catharina O. Araujo of Reliable Market, Jay Deyette of the Mansion House, and Esther Reid-Radtke of the Newes from America Pub. Reid-Radtke said, “I’m so lucky, I’ve been nominated by two people. I am very proud of myself and very happy for this nomination.” Originally from Jamaica, she has been on the Island since 2011. “I love my job and the people I work with. They are really great!”

Thrilled to be nominated, Jim Cleary, general manager of the Mansion House, said, “I really do try to take care of each and every guest and cater to their needs.”

Honoree Justin Mercier, who grew up on the Island, is acting general manager of the Harbor View Hotel. A graduate of Johnson and Wales with a degree in resort management, Mercier said, “I am very fortunate to have a position like this on the Island. The nomination is very humbling, almost brought a tear to my eye to be recognized for that. It was a surprise, I truly appreciate it.”

“Being a service-oriented resort community, it is important to know how essential customer service is to our business on the Island, how reliant we are on it,” said Lowe. “It’s the first year we have done this, and hope to build on its success and get the word out there.”

Honoree Scott Hershowitz, who has worked at Mocha Mott’s for 20 years, said, “I think it’s a simple fact that all of us who got nominated love our jobs. If you’re really good to people around you, it’s because you have a good life.”


All the honorees:

  • Melissa Abram of Stop & Shop Pharmacy
  • Tracy Leigh Adams of Leslie’s Pharmacy
  • Celena Addy of Rocco’s Pizza
  • M. Catharina O. Araujo of Reliable Market
  • Lana BenDavid of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
  • Jim Cleary of Mansion House
  • Jay Deyette of Mansion House
  • Wesley Doyle of Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites
  • Leslie Floyd of Point B Realty
  • Wendy Francis at the Registry of Motor Vehicles
  • Redon Gega (a.k.a. Red) of Sharky’s Cantina/Year Round Restaurant Group
  • Jessica Giambattista of East Chop Sleep Shop
  • Kate Hancock of Featherstone Center for the Arts
  • Scott Hershowitz of Mocha Mott’s
  • Mary Beth Hlivak Wesley of l’Etoile restaurant
  • Sarah Hughes of Martha’s Vineyard Insurance
  • Ana Ilievska of Rockland Trust
  • Omar Johnson of West Tisbury Board of Health
  • Tammy King of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank
  • Patti Leighton of Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank
  • Mila Lowe of Mila Lowe Photography
  • Justin Mercier of Harbor View Hotel
  • Karen Newhart of the Mailroom
  • Esther Reid-Radtke of the Newes from America Pub
  • John Rogers of Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA)
  • Antoniya Sabeva of Lighthouse Taxi
  • Sharon Simonin of Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank
  • John Tiernan of Dockside Inn



  1. This is a great article about some great people. Congratulations and thanks for all of your hard work.

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