The Kraft Family and the New England Patriots organization have selected Berkshire Medical Center among a select group of hospitals across Massachusetts to provide two employees with a free trip to Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay, Florida as a reward for exceptional care provided throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Krafts invited 76 vaccinated healthcare workers from all six New England states, including 14 Massachusetts hospitals.

The two employees selected to attend the big game are Dionne Hamilton, a housekeeper on BMC’s Environmental Services Team and Kate Heath, an RN in the Critical Care Uni

“I keep waiting for it to disappear. It doesn’t seem real,” said Heath. As a critical care nurse, Heath has spent the past year caring daily for the most critically ill COVID-19 patients. Heath explained that working on a COVID floor can be isolating for frontline workers. It is a challenge for non-patient-facing staff, community members, and even immediate family members to understand what COVID care is like and how challenging the past year has been. “It’s validating to be acknowledged by the Krafts and the Patriots organization in such a big way,” explained Heath.

Dionne Hamilton, who is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting COVID hospital rooms at BMC to keep patients and staff safe, volunteered for extra shifts at Hillcrest Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center when the facility was experiencing a deadly outbreak this winter. After working a full day at BMC, Hamilton donned her full PPE again and spent her nights working at Hillcrest. “I was just doing what I could,” said Hamilton. “Everybody did a lot.”

In a press release earlier this week, the New England Patriots explained that this trip has two goals: “to recognize and thank a representative group of the countless healthcare superheroes in New England, and to celebrate and spread the important message of getting vaccinated.”

Hamilton and Heath, who have both been fully vaccinated, will join 74 other healthcare workers from New England for the full VIP Super Bowl experience, including a two-night stay at Patriot Place, transportation on the Patriots’ Plane to Tampa, plus tickets to pre-game concerts and events, as well as attendance at the game.

Hamilton and Heath, who are both football fans, are looking forward to an amazing experience at the Big Game, along with a little sunshine and 70-degree Florida weather. Hamilton said, “I am smiling so hard under this mask.”

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