REGION – To continue their support for the health care professionals who worked tirelessly to fight Covid-19 during the pandemic, the Kraft family has offered an all-expense-paid trip to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla. All those attending have been vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the date they will travel on the Patriots team plane.
In order to achieve representation from all New England states, the Kraft family offered four tickets to each of the governors outside of Massachusetts and distributed the rest to many of the not-for-profit hospitals throughout the Commonwealth that continue to care for Covid-19 patients. Gov. Phil Scott selected four hospitals in Vermont to send frontline staff to the game randomly through a drawing.
Christopher Petry, registered nurse in the emergency department at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center was one of those chosen to make the trip. “I am so unbelievably excited for this amazing opportunity. Everyone [at SVMC] works so hard to provide the safest, highest-quality care. Without our incredible teamwork, we’d never have been able to make it through the last year. I am truly humbled to be representing our hospital and the state of Vermont at the Super Bowl,” he said.
CVMC emergency department nurse Lisa Walton, R.N. was selected at random out of a group of nominated staff who deserve recognition for regularly going above and beyond for CVMC’s patients and residents – adapting quickly to new challenges and changing information. Walton is well known throughout the hospital for her cheerful disposition and can-do attitude – she also happens to be a huge New England Patriots fan.
“I got the call from my supervisor over the weekend, and I couldn’t believe it,” said Walton. “In my mind, being first in line to get the vaccine as a frontline worker was privilege in itself. I never imagined getting vaccinated would lead to this opportunity,” she remarked. “My first-ever trip to Gillette Stadium to watch the Patriots this year was canceled due to the pandemic. This more than makes up for it.”
“I am so completely overwhelmed and honored to have this opportunity,” related Kristin Baker, nurse manager in the emergency department at University of Vermont Medical Center. “Every single person at our hospital deserves an opportunity like this after the year we’ve had and the teamwork and effort it has taken to get to where we are now. We can never do it alone.”
Lyndi Medico, R.N. who runs the cardiac rehabilitation effort and serves as nurse in the ICU of Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, stepped up during Covid to take on many new roles and will join the health care workers attending the Super Bowl.
“I am overwhelmingly grateful for this opportunity and honored to have been selected. I have an immeasurable amount of respect for each and every person tirelessly working on the frontlines of this pandemic day in and day out,” she noted. “And at the end of the day, this is an opportunity for us as healthcare workers to honor each other while continuing to care for the public and our communities by stressing the importance of getting vaccinated and staying safe!”
Her colleagues agreed. “When you have a chance to get the vaccine, take it,” Walton urged. “The more people we have vaccinated, the faster we can get back to doing the things we love.”
“I hope everyone will find their personal reason to get vaccinated and do it as soon as they are eligible,” Petry said.
“The vaccine arrival has been so exciting, but it’s not the end,” Baker pointed out. “While the gratitude and recognition from our community, and now the NFL and the New England Patriots, has been fuel to keep us going, the best way to continue to show gratitude for healthcare staff and all frontline workers is to continue to mask up, be thoughtful about social gatherings, and get your vaccine when you are able to.”
All the healthcare professionals representing Vermont at the game will be armed with Vermont maple sugar candy and thank you cards from their leaders for the Kraft family. They will follow quarantine protocol upon return to Vermont, in keeping with the state’s travel requirements and because it may still be possible for those who are vaccinated to transmit the virus to others.