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Nominate an Essential Employee

COVID-19 has presented challenges to all of us, but none more so than our essential workers. We are continually inspired by the hard work, dedication, and bravery of these individuals, and we want to give back. To recognize those who have risked their lives on the front lines, we will be hosting a contest for Essential Service Providers.

The winning essential worker will be rewarded with an all-inclusive trip for a family of four on a six-day, five-night Yellowstone National Park adventure vacation for 2021. Thanks to our good friends and partners at Life is Good the winning family will also be outfitted with a Life Is Good/American Tourister luggage set. This is our way of saying thank you.

To be considered for the contest, please provide the nominee’s email so they may be informed of their nomination and the drawing details. Nominees will be entered into the drawing upon their acceptance. Nominations will close October 1, 2020. See full contest rules here.

** Nominate as many ESP’s as you like, we all know and respect too many ESP’s to count!




List of Nominees

NameProfession City & StateNominationPhoto
KatieNurse PractitionerBillings, MTKatie is nurse practitioner at the BIllings Clinic Family Birth Center. She has worked hard during this uncertain time to keep the babies and new families safe both in and out of the hospital. She has assisted with planning and executing new protocols as well as assisting in the direct care of patients on a daily basis. She spends time at home reading and staying up to date on the newest recommendations and addition to her responsibilities as a wife and mom of two small children.

Katie happily tends to newborns and their mommas regardless of their COVID status. After a full day of caring for other families, she goes home and gives her all to her own family. Bravo Katie!

Nurses at Hospital
CorbyHeating and Air ConditioningBillings, MTCorby is a cancer survivor (immunocompromised) and is making business and house calls to repair/maintain customers furnaces or air conditioning during the pandemic. He has never been to Yellowstone and has lived in Montana all his life.
Yung HwaNurseWestchester County, NYYung has always been a caring person, mother of 3, loving wife, sister, daughter and friend to many. For over the past 25 years, she has been working as a maternity nurse during the night shift at a hospital in Westchester County, NY. She won her hospital’s “Big Heart” award because that essentially sums her up.
COVID-19 “patient zero“ in NY first came to her hospital this past spring and her whole world, like for many, went pear-shaped. She had to switch from caring for adorable newborn infants and their mothers to providing mainly palliative care to suffering COVID patients. Even though a few people at work seemed suspicious of her because they saw her ethnicity through her mask, she still showed compassion. Then every morning after her more than 12-hour shift, she would come home and desanitize herself in her garage. Before entering her home she would wash herself again and then help her 3 children with their schooling, her husband with their domestic tasks, her elderly parents with their domestic tasks and her sisters and friends who called daily wanting to talk to her. I do not know how much or if she has slept with all the responsibilities she has had over others.
My sister has never been on a proper family holiday outside of seeing immediate family. Her financial situation has not made it possible for her to go on distant trips. Her eldest daughter is in a nearby college partly for this reason. Her middle daughter is a graduating senior in high school. Her youngest child is in elementary school and requires special attention with his learning. Her husband’s job too has been affected by the crisis. Moreover, she turns 50 this year. When I asked her what she really wanted for her milestone birthday, knowing that no party venues might be open around her, she told me she only wanted to see me. Yung deserves to go on one of your amazing experiences because she is an amazing essential worker who is also an amazing human being.
EssieTeacherNew YorkEssie teaches 6th grade from home. She is also completing a degree and internship at home. Her teaching never ends. She answers student’s texts, calls, FaceTimes, and emails at all hours. She offers tutoring for free and gives up all her free time to help. She is my best friend and I am in awe of how selfless she has been. Overnight her job forced her to find a new way and change everything she knew to make sure others could continue to learn. Essie goes above and beyond every day for her students and their parents. She deserves a break- she was not able to go on her vacation this year in order to stay home and teach online. She is essential to every family she works with.
MackPolice OfficerBillings, MTMack is a police officer in Billings, Montana who selflessly puts himself on the front line every day to help our community. Throughout the pandemic, even with a little girl at home and another baby on the way, nothing can stop Mack from doing his job and protecting the city of Billings. Mack’s wife, Courtney, is also a nurse at Billings Clinic – so they’re pulling double duty when it comes to ESP’s! I’m proud of their family and think they deserve a vacation in 2021 in honor of the sacrifices they’ve made to keep our community safe!
Dr. RobVeterinarianBillings, MTOur pets are so important and for some their only comfort. Your veterinarian is as important as your health care provider when it comes to your fur kids. Dr. Rob and his team have always done an exceptional job and continue to do so during COVID. Navigating the day to day in a pet care setting they face the same challenges as any other health care provider. I know that my dogs are safe and well cared for in their hands.
Dr. TedER PhysicianGreater Chicago, ILTed is an incredibly hardworking guy who gives his all to his job. For the first five weeks of the pandemic, he was carrying a mask in a paper bag each day to work, washing and reusing it until the hospital was able to get more.
He has treated very ill patients from all over the US and many international patients visiting Chicago for business. He said there’s no way to explain what he’s seen in these months and the extreme measures they’ve taken to save people. He’s very humble and attributes the successes to his nurses and staff. We are so amazed by his nature and perseverance!
MarkPlant managerTXDuring the COVID shut down of March and April, Mark came to the factory every day. There was a shelter in place, and none of our plant employees were allowed to return to work.
Mark, in the hopes of keeping unemployment low, and morale high, paid EVERY ONE of his employees their full 40-hour paycheck, for 4 weeks of payroll. When the shelter in place was lifted, every employee returned to work, well-rested and eager to get!
LisaNurseManhasset, NYLisa was at the forefront of the COVID virus here in NY. Usually working as an ambulatory nurse, Lisa’s unit was immediately switched over to a COVID unit. Both Lisa & her daughter were working in the same hospital. When I asked her if she could get a break, & perhaps work in a different unit for a few days, Lisa said this was her training was for & time for her to give back. She said all the doctors & nurses were scared, but the patients were even more scared. Lisa and her daughter Liz, went above & beyond, collecting used ipads from neighbors, so families could see & talk to their family members one last time. The last 3 months were both scary, surreal, and most importantly INSPIRING. I enclosed a picture of Lisa & daughter Liz at hospital.
ChelseaOccupational Therapy AssistantCincinnati, OHChelsea returned to full-time work not long before the pandemic hit. Gradually her workplace has become COVID Ground Zero because she primarily works in rehab and nursing home settings. Chelsea is a dedicated wife and mom of two young kids who has worked so hard during this, being a team-player, picking up for sick colleagues, and trying to protect her own family at the same time. She has described how draining working all day wearing full PPE can be. I’m sure this trip would be an amazing break and build memories for her and her family!
ChristyRegistered Nurse/Nurse MidwifeBillings, MTChristy is an outstanding, dedicated labor and delivery nurse. She has recently completed her Certified Nurse Midwife training and will begin serving the women of New York later this year. She has cared for women both in the United States and abroad and is an ideal candidate for this wonderful experience with Austin Adventures
RobertTV Emergency TeamTyler, TXRobert was hired as part-time editor ( paid internship ) … then He became an Essential Worker … without a pay raise, he was promoted to Producer and Director for the Emergency Response TV news programs … he has worked 7 days a week … has edited produced and directed life TV shows in the Studio while others worked from home … yes, I am nominating my son …. a young man who overcame a life-threatening College Football injury which paralyzed him … Graduated / TIPA winner and really needs a spotlight once turned on him…
BenOrthopedic device representativeBillings, MTBen has been working hard to provide patients and surgeons with the necessary equipment and knowledge throughout the entire pandemic. He responds to the call whenever he is needed and provides his services in a professional, reassuring manner. He is very deserving of this great trip
TrennaPhysical TherapistBillings, MTTrenna returned to work shortly after the pandemic started and had to adjust quickly to a vastly different work environment than when she left. She jumped in and adapted quickly and provides her patients with much-needed physical therapy services in a safe and welcoming manner. She absolutely deserves this excellent adventure
Lindaowner/operator Clinical Research Associates Inc.Nashville, TNLinda works tirelessly in the area of drug trials. and is working to get testing done on COVID-19 vaccine. She will be due a break in the actions when her work is done. Very active family, hike bike
RobinAnesthesia TechnicianBillings, MTRobin has been with St. Vincent hospital for over 30 years. She started as a housekeeper and is now one of only 3 certified anesthesia techs in the entire state! She is an incredible person and goes above and beyond for her teammates and patients every single day. During the COVID crisis Robin tirelessly sewed masks for hospital staff and the public. Robin has been working 50 hour weeks to help the OR catch up on elective surgeries. She is so selfless and deserves a special experience.

Robin has been an Anesthesia Tech for 30+ years, she’s had both knees done and takes care of an elderly man at home on top of working 50+ hours a week. Recently during covid Robin started working 12+ hours a day five days a week with call shifts. She’s an outstanding lead who goes above and beyond her job for the sake of her patients and the happiness of her coworkers.

RyanBillings Fire DepartmentBillings, MTRyan has a new baby girl and a wife that is a ER nurse and they both work opposite shifts so they can care for her and also give 100% at their jobs. Ryan is an amazing Dad and goes the extra mile every day. He always is positive no matter the situation and always helps out where ever its needed. This vacation would be a great break for both of them.
MackenziePediatric nurse practitionerHouston, TXKenz continues to work in a hot zone for Covid day in and day out with some of sickest kids in the country. Working in the largest medical center in the world, she is constantly putting herself and their family at risk for exposure. She is selfless, knowledgeable, strong, calm, and willing to go the extra mile for her patients. There is no one more deserving of a getaway!
BetsyNurse, COVID WardBoston, MAMy high school friend Betsy selflessly regularly works the COVID Ward at Boston’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital. I’ve been trying to rally friends and family to send her and her colleagues gift cards, etc. But this would be SO much better! Plus, a trip like this would blow the minds of her teenaged-boys too.
LindaNursePrinceton, NJLinda, along with several other family members, worked throughout the pandemic. New Jersey was particularly hard hit and Princeton hospital had many Covid ICU’s. Despite exhaustion and personal risk, Linda always put the patients and the large nursing staff ahead of herself.
HeatherEmergency room nurseHamilton, MTMy aunt is one of the few that tests individuals that come to the ER for COVID. She has had to sacrifice time with her family and friends to protect others. She has had to sacrifice time my mom who has been fighting breast cancer for the last year so that she didn’t run the risk of making her sick. My aunt has been selfless to help keep those in her community safe. COVID has changed the lives of many but she has stepped up to the line throughout this difficult time.
JuliaNurseNew York CityJulia has been working for less than a year as a Registered Nurse at one of the nation’s top hospitals, NYU Langone. In less than a year, she was quickly promoted from a floor nurse, to a nurse manager, to a COVID-ICU nurse. She works overtime on a regular basis and has always put others first, including her patients and fellow coworkers. Her first year as a nurse has not been the typical experience, working tirelessly at one of the top NYC hospitals in the hardest hit COVID city in the country. She deserves a vacation to say the least! Please consider Julia!
LeahNurseChicago, ILLeah is an ED nurse that showed up to work everyday and diligently provided the best care to all of her patients. While dressing up in her PPE and undressing multiple times an hour each day she never once was not there for her patients and families. All of this while every night she went home to her husband and children worried about all the same concerns healthcare providers had about exposing their own families. Leah covered all shifts and assisted anyway possible to make patients feel at ease during the most difficult of times.
SherylDeputy ClerkStarkville, MSSheryl is a Breast cancer survivor and has worked through the Pandemic at the Oktibbeha County Court house were she works as a deputy clerk. She issues marriage licenses, passports and takes restitution payments where she is exposed to the public as courts cannot be closed.
JenniferRegistered NurseCody, WYJennifer is one of the most compassionate, selfless person I’ve ever met. She has always put her patients above herself, even with her heart condition. She has her own health issues and she works two jobs to help pay for her client’s medications etc. I don’t know anyone that deserves it more than her.
PamOperating NurseBillings, MTPam has been a nurse at Billings Clinic for 20yrs now and has always put her patients first. I’ve had the honor of working with her for the past 5yrs and have learned so much from her guidance. She reached out to me when my mother passed the first year of working together; she often talks about her son Trenton and the joys of raising him. During the COVID quarantine, Pam juggled both working and homeschooling with grace. She is a great resource both in and out of the medical field with multiple coworkers reaching out to get her advice. I truly love Pam and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her guidance. She works hard and is the most deserving person I know.
WyattFiremanBelgrade, MTWyatt Christensen is on the Central Valley fire department in Belgrade MT. Wyatt puts everything he has into each one of his 24 shifts. I’ve never seen someone more passionate about their job. And ever since the Covid-19 hit Wyatt has been working even harder, longer, more stressful days. Wyatt would be the prefect nomination for the Yellowstone trip because 1. He deserves it more than anyone and 2. We have a little family and when Wyatt is off we love to go explore new places!
JordanBrain surgeon, seriously. Currently working rounds in a COVID unit though too.Cincinnati, OHHe’s a brain surgeon and his wife is a Dr. too, having left the pediatric ER for family practice. They’re both Crossfit studs and just all around awesome people (Jordan regularly gives updates on the pandemic via Zoom calls to our gym members). Jordan is a deer hunter too, was ‘the doc’ for Cincinnati’s SWAT teams and is also ‘the doc’ to be on hand when the POTUS ever comes to town. They and their two young sons are all just brilliant, fun, grounded, exceptional people. They love life, travel and other good, sincere people too. They would be outstanding recipients of this gift and it would blow the minds of their two boys too!
AnneTeacherMilwaukee, WIAnn’s true belief in “making a difference” lead her to chose a move from a professional career to a teaching job at a Milwaukee “inner-city” school dedicated through the Milwaukee Mission. Ann chose 1st Grade to teach because she wants to make every effort to break the “systemic” problem of racism. She believes if she’s able to start teaching the young, they can make a difference. Prior to the Pandemic Shutdown, Ann worked 60-70 hours a week. Though the schools were then closed, Ann continued to work 40 hours a week because most of the children’s inner city homes did not have access for online schooling, so for each student, weekly, Ann prepared “Work Packets” (full of school lessons and material and put together “Food Packets” (bags full of groceries) and delivered to each of her students. Ann continued weekly communications with all her student’s families. Ann saw the struggles of African Amer Low Income families and saw “a calling” that she was needed, ESPECIALLY thru the Pandemic Shutdown! She KNEW the children needed, now more than ever, to continue their education! I highly nominate Ann due to her dedication and belief in making a difference, ALWAYS, and ESPECIALLY thru the Pandemic Shutdown!
JoelEMTHardin, MTMy husband has been on the front line since this out break. He works on the reservation where COVID19 has been hit hard. Every shift on the ambulance as an EMT he puts his life at risk. He comes home to us and always put me and the kids first by maintaining our safety as well
From the virus and he can’t wait to get up the next morning and do it again. Joel loves being an EMT and is incredible at his job! We are a family that believes nature is our church, it’s our sanctuary and place of peace. We love Montana, we fish, kayak, hike, camp and love how being in Gods country brings us together closer as a family! Thank you for this chance! Wish us luck!
RyanRNBillings, MTImagine loving people enough that you are willing to help them through their worst day. Sure we would do that for our close friends and family. Would we be willing to do it for a complete stranger that just had a horrific accident, was sick with something like Covid or was sleeping off a drug or alcohol overdose. That is what this incredible man does all the time with a smile on his face in the emergency department. He could use a little love back.
SaraBethNurse Practitioner, Cone Health Green Valley Campus for Covid-19 patientsGreensboro, NCSaraBeth was granted her Ph.D. this Spring while working full time at Greensboro’s Covid-19 hospital. She has two teenaged daughters and a husband who serves our community as a police officer, also in Greensboro. A local hotel has provided these health professionals rooms to diminish their contact with family members. This family happily gives of their mother and wife for the greater good. They miss her.

SaraBeth Is devoted, positive, and lovely.

AshtynIntensive care unit NurseBillings, MTI have known Ashtyn since she was in first grade. She is my daughter’s best friend. Her family lived across the street from us. I have watched her grow up into a beautiful, caring, lovely young lady. She is smart and dedicated to her job as a nurse. Working through Covid makes her even more amazing. She still shows up with a smile and ready to take care of patients. A true heart of gold. Her family means the world to her and they still take family vacations. She is extremely dedicated to her job, patients, friends and family. She had graduated and was employed immediately. We are all so proud of her. She is truly a one of kind. With her dedication of hard work and great role models she has achieved the job of her dreams. Her first year of nursing with covid has not giving her a doubt this the job she loves.
AshleyRegistered NurseBillings, MTAshley Jackson is an essential Charge Nurse at Advanced Care Hospital and an invaluable member of our healthcare team, rarely does she have a smooth stress-free shift where she is able to clock out on time! Always has a smile on her face, Handles critical events like a Boss, and has time to give another employee a mini shoulder message, keeps the team afloat, stepping in to complete tasks to help other team members falling behind and giving encouragement, support and mentor-ship to minimize the stress on her team! On her days off she helps her parents on their cattle ranch teaching her kids about ranch life , taking them skiing, helping a co-worker with a concussion while skiing, teaching her kids various life skills and just an amazing person!
AmberTravel RNBillings, MTI had the pleasure of working with Amber at Advanced Care Hospital during her travel assignment at our hospital. Amber is a very skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate nurse who went on to other assignments including two rotations in NYC as a Covid19 essential worker in the hot zone. While she was there she posted about her experience there including her struggles, victories and building friendships while overcoming and defeating Covid19! She was off for a month to quarantine and once safe spend some much needed time with her beautiful twin grand-babies! She has now accepted another travel assignment in Chicago to continue the fight in a very volatile environment to champion the defeat in Chicago’s hot zone to defeat Covid19!
KatieICU NurseOmaha, NEKatie has been working on the front lines of the pandemic from the start having been shifted from her place in the ICU to her hospitals COVID-19 unit. She works nights running around and taking care of the most critically sick and is extremely deserving of a break. She’s a hard working, caring, and kind individual who always puts her patients first and this is why I am nominating her for this trip.
KacieRespiratory therapistBillings, MTKacie moves home from Seattle where she was an RT at the University of Washington to save money for PA school. She has been working face to face with the virus at our Billings hospital quarantining herself to the basement to protect her father who checks all the at-risk boxes. She has held scared lonely patients in her arms because their family could not be with them. She helps babies breathe and teaches toddlers that breathing treatments are a good thing. She is my hero!
TracyFiber Optic SpecialistCHARLOTTE, NCWhen the severity of COVID-19 was announced. Tracy was notified that he would be deemed an essential worker. Tracy has been on the front-lines making sure fiber optic services were provided to local residents and businesses, helping to make sure that all lines of communication remained open during this pandemic. On several occasions, he was asked to work overnight to make sure there was no interruption of service. And without hesitation, he jumped into action. Tracy has always demonstrated his commitment to helping others. Whether through his job, food banks, financial donations, or down to rolling up his sleeves to help anyone in need. Time after time, he has always demonstrated these selfless and random acts of kindness, which has made an impact on our community. So, today I nominate Tracy Williams as an essential worker hero.
LindseyRNBozeman, MTLindsey is an RN at Bozeman Deaconess. Her department is technically elective surgery so it was closed during the pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped her from working more than her normal schedule, having days off taken away and exposing herself potentially to Covid19 while on the front lines. She has worked tirelessly during this pandemic and is in desperate need of a vacation!
SoniaFlight AttendantAlbuquerque, NMSonia has continuously stayed positive and worked hard throughout the pandemic. She has had to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly in this strange and frustrating time for travelers. She has stayed strong and powered through this tough time, people have been mean to her on some flights and very disrespectful. She could definitely use some R&R and enjoy a flight without working!!
LanaRespiratory TherapistBismark, NDLana has been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic. She has stayed strong and positive and has been able to help many people during this tough time. She is Wonder woman and deserves a wonderful trip for all she has done!!
McKenseyNurseBillings, MTMcKensey consistently cares for patients to her maximum ability and gives her all to her work and patients. She works in the ER and cross-trained to work in ICU, thus dealing with COVID patients all the time. She is incredible and so adventurous.
AndyCommercial & Ag BankerBillings, MTAndy who is a commercial and ag lender at First Interstate Bank has worked nights weekends and everything in between making sure our small businesses have financing to stay open during the pandemic. He’s learned the ins and outs of the federal cares act and helped so many businesses to keep their doors open. This work is on top of his regular job of ag and commercial lending. He truly cares about the business owners who are the life blood of our small communities in Montana. All of this while still being the best dad and husband…helping us make memories and enjoy the best of Montana’s outdoors with our two year old and our five year old during this historic time.
LisaDirect support professionalBillings, MTLisa has been working for young adults with disabilities for about three years. She works and works and goes home after graveyard to her two kids and husband and stays up to teach and play with the kids. She sacrifices a lot for friends, her job and family.

She is always willing to lend a helping hand. She puts others first even if it means she has to struggle. She has been the only one in her family to work and provide for her kids and spouse and continuously struggle and I don’t hear her complain. I just feel that she deserves a little break in life right now from taking care of everybody else.

KellyNurse, AF ReservistColorado Springs, COI met Kelly in my Air Force Reserve unit. It immediately occurred to me she was a “Go to” girl. She is passionate about serving her nation and making our Airmen the best mission ready medical unit in the USAF. I did not know until much later, that she and I were both single mom’s. I have no idea how she does what she does and makes it look effortless. When President Trump announced at the end of March that he would immediately release reservists to fight Covid….it did not surprise me that Kelly was one of the first ones out the door. Less than 24hrs notice, she had her home life packaged up (somehow) and she was on her way to NYC. The illness and death she saw was more than that of war. No previous deployment could have prepared her for the heartache, exhaustion and daily personal fear. But all military medics will tell you, “This is our 9-11.” She was warrior prepared and answered the call. She will be forever changed and we will be forever thankful!
RachelDialysis NurseWilmington, DERachel often reports to work at 4 am and returns at 9 pm. Her work is essential because her critically ill patients would die without dialysis. Their underlying health condition makes them susceptible to the Covid virus. Rachel typically handles 50 patients a day, and she is a wonderful wife and mother to two teenagers. Her family could sure use a vacation.

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