Little things do count: Comfort, customer service top priority at Evergreen Inn

  • Published
  • By Tyler Hemstreet
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
McChord's Evergreen Inn got an unexpected surge of occupancy in the aftermath of the violent windstorm that hit western Washington in December.

It was a surge the lodging section welcomed with open arms.

Approximately 400 residents from Pierce, Thurston and south King counties checked into the inn due to power outages from the storm.

Although the base's lodging facility initially lost power during the storm, power was restored the next day.

The staff then began receiving calls from active duty, Reserve and retired military members and their families, who checked in the second day after the storm hit.

"We wanted to ensure our people were taken care of, so we worked with the facilities we have to accommodate as many people as possible," said 2nd Lt. Rena Sandgren, 62nd Services Squadron.

Accommodating a large amount of guests on short notice is just one example of how the inn provides a high level of customer service.

Besides providing their guests with low-cost, amiable surroundings, the staff at the Evergreen Inn goes the extra mile for their guests, said Master Sgt. Brent Kerns, 62nd SVS lodging section chief.

"At a regular hotel, you have to check out by 11 a.m.," he said. "Typically, that's us too, but if an aircrew is leaving late, we can usually accommodate them."

In an effort to add to the customer service element, the lodging section has an ambitious expansion plan on tap to present to LeMay inspectors when they arrive Wednesday.

"We want to highlight our key accomplishments and improvement efforts and how it ties back to the customer and looks toward the future," said William Lane, 62nd SVS lodging manager.

The crown jewel of the presentation will be lodging's plans to relocate its reception center and the administration offices from the Evergreen Inn, which was built in 1942, into lodging Bldgs. 1147, 1148 and 1149.

The $600,000 project will give everyone a little more space, Mr. Lane said.

The project is on pace to be finished before McChord's Rodeo in July.

"The main lobby is going to be very nice," Mr. Lane said. "It's going to give you the feel of a modern motel."

The presentation will also focus on past furniture upgrades to the temporary lodging facility, two junior enlisted suites and some of the chief master sergeant suites, said Mr. Lane.

In addition to purchasing new chairs, lamps, carpeting, sofas and DVD players, lodging also used some furniture that was already in storage to furnish the suites.

The section also purchased new linens for each of the section's 318 rooms.

Besides the improvements to the infrastructure, lodging will present LeMay inspectors with the detailed effort that went into finding off-base lodging for more than 2,500 Rodeo participants.

Lodging holds reservations for 1,600 rooms at 30 hotels from Olympia to Federal Way for the summer event, Mr. Lane said.