Highlighting Our Heroes: Gina L. (Pittsfield, MA)

13 April 2020 Interviews

As I am sitting down to write this article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting over 20,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the US. These are dark times. And yet, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride in humanity because for the first time in quite a long time, every country on Earth is working towards one common goal: stopping this pandemic from getting worse. As different as we are, as varied as our cultures and religions seem to be, we are all committed to stopping the spread of SARS-COV-2. When you really think about it, it is overwhelmingly beautiful. And even more than that, while the majority of people worldwide take shelter in their homes, there is a group of people who are putting their lives on the line every day. Those people are First Responders. And not only are First Responders putting themselves at risk, they are putting their families at risk, which makes the sacrifice even greater And that is what this article, and future articles in this series, is about.

While I was putting together how I wanted to do this series, I kept coming back to one simple goal I was trying to achieve: to give recognition and thanks to the First Responders that I will be writing about. And these people are not just First Responders, but they are also huge Eagles fans.  We all know Philadelphia Eagles fans are a polarizing group. We know. Santa Claus got his. But the people you will read about in these articles are anything but polarizing. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

Rick: What type of First Responder are you?

Gina: I am a Registered Nurse.

Rick: My understanding is that you were working in Massachusetts and then decided to come help in New Jersey. Where were you working at in Massachusetts? And what was your job there?

Gina: I live about two hours west of Boston. I’m a floor nurse at a small hospital here where I am typically working on a Medical/Surgical floor. I’m per diem and make my own schedule, so I was fortunate enough to have the flexibility to travel to New Jersey when I saw their cry for help. I knew immediately I wanted to help. I needed to help them.

Rick: Where will you be working in New Jersey? And what will you be doing there?

Gina: I will be working a minimum of 48 hours per week at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, NJ on a Medical/Surgical and Cardiac floor for 8 weeks. And it could possibly be longer depending on the need when that 8 weeks is up.

Rick: From what I hear, you are a big Eagles fan. How did that start? Did you grow up near Philadelphia?

Gina: Yes! I am a HUGE Eagles fan. For almost 20 years now. I did not grow up near Philly. I was born and raised and still reside here in New England. I was forced to watch a football game that came on one day (I was not a football fan at the time), and it was an Eagles game. I really enjoyed it. I watched another game of theirs not long after and there was no turning back after that. I fell in love and have been a fan ever since! There’s a lot of us here in New England and we try to get together as much as possible to watch the games during the season. Boston has an Eagles bar if anyone is ever in the area for a game. Finn McCool’s on High Street. Check them out and you won’t be disappointed.

Rick: Who is your favorite Eagles player, past or present? And why?

Gina: I have a lot of favorites. Past players include Westbrook, Dawkins, and Vick. Currently, I am a huge fan of Jalen Mills. His leadership and spirit are big assets to the team. He has a really strong work ethic, along with desire and motivation to grow. I believe that was demonstrated in his performance following his return from injury last season. He is also a great man off the field as well. He founded The Jalen Mills Foundation, which helps to provide young athletes with training and mentorship. He has also been part of a support system for me, personally, during a difficult time in my life. He and his family are caring, wonderful people and are near and dear to me. I’m very happy he will be staying in Philly with us this season. But I love all our players honestly. People will tell you that. I’m like their protector at times. I get really passionate about them.

Rick: What do you think the Eagles should do with the #21 pick in this year’s draft? Any favorite prospects that you would like to see in Midnight Green?

Gina: I would like to see some wide receiver help. Another weapon for Carson is always nice. Especially without knowing the long-term effects of Jackson’s injury or Jeffery’s (also effected by his injury) fate. And prospects? Give me Lamb. Will he be available? Probably not, but we all can dream, right?

Rick: How do you think Howie Roseman is doing so far this offseason?

Gina: I’m not mad at Howie’s moves this offseason. I think Slay will be an asset at corner and I was happy with the addition of Hargrave at DT. I, like many, was bummed to hear that Jenkins will not return, but I understand. And I have confidence in Jalen’s leadership ability and skill at safety.

Rick: The last question I have is just an open-ended platform for you. If there is anyone you want to shout out for helping you through all of this, if there are any cautionary words regarding COVID-19 that you would like people to know or if there any positive words you would like to pass on to the readers, here is where you can do that.

Gina: I definitely want to shout out the Philly fans everywhere. They have not only been extremely supportive and encouraging for me during this difficult time, but their presence on social media is very helpful. Having each other to interact with, laugh with, debate with, etc. is a really good diversional activity at times when I need to give my brain a rest from work related issues. And I am genuinely thankful to everyone for that! This is a scary time right now. I want people to know that I am here if they need me. I have tweeted several times that if anyone has any questions or concerns about COVID-19 or is feeling scared or anxious and simply wants me to listen to them, I am willing to do so. Just shoot me a DM. If I can’t help, I will refer them to a reputable source who can. The health and well-being of people are important to me and I will always do what I can to help improve that when able. I encourage everyone to continue practicing social distancing, good hand hygiene and other recommendations made by the CDC during this time. Education is key. Refer to credible sources with questions and for information and that will hopefully also help alleviate high levels of anxiety brought on by some of the media. Eagles Nation is a family and we’re gonna get through all of this together like a family! I want to thank 4th and Jawn for recognizing what I do and including me in this project. Stay safe everyone! Go Birds!

I personally want to thank Gina L. for taking the time to answer the questions for this Q&A! Thank you for your sacrifice and all that you are doing to help the community! If you read this article, make sure to go out to Twitter and thank Gina for all that she, and the rest of the First Responder community, is doing to keep us safe. Her Twitter handle is @Gina_Marie215.

If you would like to have a First Responder, that is also an Eagles fan, highlighted for their contributions to the fight against COVID-19, DM me on Twitter at rickrkernii or send me an e-mail at rick.r.kern.ii@gmail.com. And I’ll reiterate what Gina said, “Stay safe everyone! Go Birds!”


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