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    Remembering Pedro Mandoki

    Dear VRMA Members,

    The VRMA community lost a dear friend late last week. Pedro Mandoki, a highly-respected and loved VRMA member and past president from 2005-2007, passed away. Pedro left a lasting imprint on the association as well as anyone who had the good fortune of encountering him over the years.

    His contributions to VRMA are numerous, and he stayed active until the end. In fact, Pedro volunteered his time to help develop the recently-launched VRMA Certificate Program. He truly cared about the profession and the association, and it showed. He was a constant presence at VRMA events, typically sitting front and center with his close friends. Pedro also holds the unique distinction of serving not just as President of VRMA, but also as Chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. He truly brought a unique perspective to VRMA that will be sorely missed.

    And there's so much more to Pedro; he led an amazing life and had so many wonderful stories to share. Some of them are captured in his obituary, listed here. This is a fairly recent video of Pedro, with his wife Nora, telling some of his story. Other stories are popping up on social media from personal accounts of his friends and colleagues.

    As current President of VRMA, I'd like to take this opportunity to try and collect as many of those memories as possible and keep them in one central place. If you have a story of Pedro, a picture, or any fun facts or anecdotes, I'd encourage you to send them to pedro@vrma.org. We will collect these stories and compile them in one place, where we can share them back with VRMA membership. Please submit your contributions, along with how you would like your name to appear, by next Friday, February 22.

    Here's my first contribution: a picture of Pedro joined by VRMA Past President Lucy Kawaihalau, myself, and VRMA Past President Maureen Regan. This was taken in New Orleans at the 2015 VRMA Conference. We will be sure to commemorate Pedro this coming October when the VRMA International Conference returns to New Orleans.

    In the meantime, as mentioned in the obituary, please note that memorial services will be held at Gulf Shores United Methodist Church, 1900 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, Alabama, this Thursday, February 7 at 1:00 PM, with a reception to follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that gifts be made to the Pedro Mandoki Scholarship Fund in Hospitality Management at Auburn University. Checks can be mailed to the Auburn University Foundation, Attn: Office of Gifts and Records, 317 South College Street, Auburn, Alabama 36849.

    Thank you for your time, and thanks to our good friend Pedro, for everything. Rest in peace.



    Jodi Refosco

    VRMA President 

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