ATLANTA and MCLEAN, Va. - Upon returning from his fourth deployment in Afghanistan, Army Sergeant First Class Russell Zink thought he was spending a three-day leave with his wife and two kids in Atlanta. But unbeknownst to him, Homewood Suites by Hilton had arranged for more than 20 of his extended family members to fly in from across the country - including family he hadn't seen in nearly a decade - for an all-expense paid family reunion. The surprise reunion took place the afternoon of August 23, 2013 at Homewood Suites by Hilton Atlanta Midtown, a dual build property with sister brand Hilton Garden Inn.

Homewood Suites by Hilton reunites Army Sergeant First Class Russell Zink with father Peter Zink.

Army Sergeant First Class Russell Zink thanks daughter Jane Zink and wife Amy Zink for conspiring with Homewood Suites on surprise family reunion.

Army Sergeant First Class Russell Zink poses with 23 extended-family members in Homewood Suites by Hilton Atlanta Midtown lodge for family photo - first time in nine years entire family has gathered.

This is the first in a series of military reunions being arranged by Hilton Worldwide's international brand of upscale, all-suite, extended-stay hotels, which it hopes will be a catalyst for a larger national military family travel program that brings in sponsors from across the travel industry.

"Knowing the heavy burdens endured by our nation's military families, our goal is simple - to say thank you and help the more than 25 million Americans that have served unlock the benefits of family travel, reconnect and strengthen bonds with loved ones through memorable, yet affordable vacations," said Christian Kuhn, vice president of marketing, Homewood Suites by Hilton. "We hope seeing the immeasurable joy this surprise reunion has brought the Zink family will inspire others in the industry to help Homewood Suites with a long term coordinated effort to provide more travel opportunities to military families."


Homewood Suites was connected with the Zink Family through the National Military Family Association and Joining Forces - a national initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

"The experience Homewood Suites has created for the Zink Family is truly special. Since 2001, the pace of oversees deployments have been more frequent than any other time in our military's history leaving many service members with little quality time at home in between deployments," noted National Military Family Association executive director Joyce Wessel Raezer. "While our military families can never reclaim this lost time, the family bonding, strengthened communication and solidarity gained through family vacations -especially those that include extended family - is tremendous for families dealing with the challenges of reintegration after deployment." 

Homewood Suites' family reunion program is part of the brand's ongoing campaign to honor military families, which includes a special evergreen 15 percent discount* off the Best Available Rate to all active and retired military, partnerships with the Folds of Honor Foundation and Military Spouse of the Year program, as well as a dedicated Facebook Community, Homewood Suites' "Welcome Home Headquarters,"  which captures recent military family reunions from across the country.  Homewood Suites' military support campaign is also part of Hilton Worldwide's wider commitment, Operation: Opportunity, a pledge to hire 10,000 veterans over the next five years and donate millions of Hilton HHonors points to assist job-seeking veterans.

Contacts:
Jennifer Hughes
Director, Brand Public Relations, Hilton Garden Inn
(901) 374-6518
Jennifer.Hughes@hilton.com

About Homewood Suites by Hilton
Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hilton’s upscale, all-suite, extended-stay hotel brand with more than 400 locations in the United States, Mexico and Canada, is an award-winning leader. The first choice for guests seeking comfortable accommodations when traveling for an extended or quick overnight stay, Homewood Suites offers inviting, generous suites, featuring separate living and sleeping areas, and fully-equipped kitchens with full-size refrigerators. Additional value-driven essentials include: complimentary Internet, a daily full-hot breakfast and complimentary evening social every Monday-Thursday. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations) available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Homewood Suites is focused on guest satisfaction and stands behind each stay with its 100% Suite Assurance® guarantee. For more information on the extended-stay advantage, visit www.homewoodsuites.com or news.homewoodsuites.com.

About Hilton
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 4,900 properties with over 800,000 rooms in 104 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company's portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.