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Westgate honors 2,200 staffers on hotel’s heart

Updated March 31, 2020 - 4:26 pm

Westgate Las Vegas has long featured a giant, red heart near the front entrance. Guests who have just walked into the hotel have been invited to take photos and post to social media with the #ilovewestgate hashtag.

The heart has a different look today. It’s covered with more than 2,200 names, handwritten in black Sharpie. Those are the Westgate employees — or part of the family, as described by hotel brass — sidelined by the coronavirus outbreak.

Soon after shutting down the famous hotel, Westgate President and General Manager Cami Christensen had the idea for the heartfelt tribute.

“I was walking through the property and thinking about all the team members and how much they are being missed,” Christensen said Tuesday. “I walked by the heart that sits in the middle of our casino, and it hit me that they are the heartbeat of Westgate. It just fell into place from there.”

Christensen says “a handful” of remaining staffers, herself included, spent most of March 24 writing in all of the names. The piece has been moved from its original spot near the casino cage to the center of the main entrance. Christensen also cut a video clip for the team members, telling them they are wanted and not forgotten.

“We are doing everything we can to comply with the governmental mandate of shutting down, but at the same time, just know that we are also putting our plan together to open up our doors, and welcome you all back,” Christensen says in the video, with the heart at her side. “When we shut down, I knew that the heartbeat of the property was going to be gone. So although you’re not here physically, I want you to know you’re all here with us in spirit, because you are the heart of Westgate.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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