Honoring Our Veterans

November 9, 2015

Of the many ways I've been blessed in life, none compares with the opportunity to get to know some of our nation's veterans, and to count many of them as part of the Marriott International family.

Honoring Veterans - David BrownOne of these is David Norman Brown, who was an engineer with our company for just shy of 25 years before succumbing to cancer this July.

I had the chance to visit with David last year at the Manhattan Beach Marriott in California, just before he was diagnosed. He was a great man who served our company, and our country, with honor and distinction.

David's wife, Joana, was kind enough to write me a letter recently, so she could share with me some touching stories about David's life, and explain how much he loved working for Marriott. She told me about how David used a Marriott employee loan to help finance a family vacation home in Maine, that he built himself. How he climbed on the roof of our Houston property during Hurricane Ike to secure an area that could have severely damaged the elevators. And how he would interrupt vacations to deal with a problem at one of our hotels that needed his help.

But her most touching story was about when David was called to active duty by the Army Reserves during the Gulf War and was stationed in Kuwait for a year.

She said that David painted the Marriott "M" logo on the door to his barracks to "help the troops who were homesick remember 'The Marriott Hospitality' and how it could reach them all the way out in Kuwait." I don't think I've ever been more delighted to see our logo anywhere than on that door.

Joana wrote that David's way of looking at his work here was to treat our hotels like his own home. "How to protect it, how to prevent damage from escalating, how to maintain and preserve what was already there to the best of his ability."

It's our privilege to count many proud and honorable veterans like David as part of the Marriott family. Please take a moment on this Veterans Day -- for heaven's sake on any day -- to thank them for their service to this great country.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.


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What a unique way to bring comfort to those he served with. I am fortunate enough to have veterans in my family and am also fascinated by the stories they tell and their perspective on life after living through something so difficult.

This story and the comments of those who read it brought tears to my eyes. I am immensely proud to be married to a veteran and proud of all those who serve. Bringing a sense of comfort and alleviating homesickness is the least we can offer them in return. Thank you for your role in that, and thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story this Veteran's Day.

It is really good to read an article that pertains to honoring our veterans. As being a former associate of Marriott Vacations Worldwide the term family is very strong within the organization. Many of the engineers I had the pleasure to work with while I was an intern this past summer really had a strong attitude. Regardless of what needed to be done they made sure to take care of it. These engineers gave me lots of advice and skills that I will use later on in life.

This was truly an amazing story i'm so happy you shared this with all of us. I have also worked for Marriott for 7 years and its truly one of the best jobs iv ever held there is a great sense of family. Thank you so much for your service Mr.Norman and thank you Mr.Marriott for sharing this wonderful story.

I have had the pleasure of working for Marriott total of a little more than 9 years. I met a great veteran recently here at Fairfield Inn Richmond/Chester. He shared with us how he injured his eye in the war, and that he later would get to work for marriott for about 18 years. He also shared with us that once he got sick he had to leave "the best job ever" that he has worked at other than serving in the USARMY. He also shared with us that he is now a platinum premier guest with Marriott and will not ever stay with another hotel other than the one where he once enjoyed working. He recently lost his wife, but still travels all over because he loves that he feels at home when stopping to stay with Marriott. He was such a great guy!

And we know you served this wonderful country as well. Thank you for your service Mr. Marriott!

Mr. Marriott,

I truly appreciate the recognition you gave to this fellow Veteran of mine. Working both in the active duty military and a local Springhill Suites by Marriott where I am stationed I can relate to the hard work and dedication it takes. This man is truly an courageous, hard working, and caring person. To serve his country and also serve the people in the Marriott family in which he works means a lot and shows much motivation. Again, thanks for showing recognition to someone who truly deserves it. Happy Veterans day to all who have served and continue to serve this great country we call The United States of America.

Dear Mr. Marriott,
My family and I are humbled by your generous and kind words honoring my husband David.

We truly feel blessed to be part of the Marriott family and will always remember your thoughtfulness.
I thank you form the bottom of my heart.

Thank you
Joana Brown & Family

I had the privilage of being there the day Maj. Brown painted the Marriott "M" on our door, he was a motivation to those of us who were serving with him. We miss Dave, and will always remember the Camp Virginia Marriott as THE place to stay while visiting Kuwait.

Although I was excused from duty due to a College deferement, I have always respected and thanked our military. As often as I see them arrive and deploy from our local Marriott I try to shake their hands and say,"Thank You For All You Do!"

Atlas Washington
Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards

Thank you so much Mr. Marriott for writing this about my brother in law David Brown. He truly loved working for the Marriott Hotels.

David was a great guy, worked with him in Boston.

This is a very touching article you wrote! He was truly a "Marriott Guy"!

Mr. Marriott,

Thank you so much for honoring my nephew, David Norman Brown. Davey, as we called him , was a proud and loyal employee of Marriott, but also a proud and loyal patriot. He loved his company, his family, but most of all, his country. It's rare that someone in your position would comment on an employee, so that says to me that Marriott is a very special organization. My husband (deceased) was a 30 year veteran of the Air Force and I'd like to honor him, as well, for influencing our David to love and protect the USA. Thank you again!

Anita M. Brown

Thank you Mr. Marriott for sharing the wonderful things that Mrs. Brown had to say about Dave. I worked with Dave at the Houston property during Hurricane Ike and I was so thankful that he was there. It was a terrifying experience to go through a hurricane and Dave didn't show any sign of fear during that stressful time. Dave never had a bad day. He spoke to everyone and had a great outlook on life. I am so blessed to have worked with him and I remember and appreciate him and other veterans especially on Veterans Day.

Mr Marriott,
Thank you for posting this in recognition of this fine man's service and support to his family, his company and his country. I am proud to be the daughter of an Air Force Veteran who served at the end of WWII as well as in the Korean War conflict and in Vietnam.
I truly appreciate Marriott's support of our Armed Forces, the many men and women whose efforts have gifted us all with the priviledge of awakening to peace and opportunity every day.
I'm proud to be associated with this amazing company.

I always enjoy reading your stories but I think this one has touched me to the bottom of my heart. My husband and I spent many, many days and nights at Marriott's (business travelers) around the country (and world) and we considered Marriott our home away from home. We were fortunate to get to know so many wonderful people from Marriott in those travels.....
The dedication of this man is an example.