Highlighting Our Heroes: Dusty K. (Lexington, KY)

20 April 2020 Interviews

It has been one week since my first article in this series and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now reporting over 37,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the US. This is an extremely tough time for a lot of people. And yet, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride in humanity because for the first time in world history, every country on Earth is working towards one common goal: stopping the spread of SARS-COV-2. As different as we are, as varied as our cultures and religions are, we are all committed to preserving human life. 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. And that is what this article, and future articles in this series, is about.

There is only one goal of the articles in this series: to give recognition and thanks to the First Responders that I will be writing about. And not only are these people First Responders, but they are also huge Eagles fans.  We all know Philadelphia Eagles fans are a polarizing group. We know. We drink too much and are way too loud. 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?

Dusty: I’m a registered nurse.

Rick: Where are you currently working? And what do you do there as it pertains to COVID-19?

Dusty: I work at the University of Kentucky in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Our patient population is comprised of immunosuppressed patients, so any type of infection is deadly to them. Keeping these patients with hematologic disorders free of infection is a huge priority always, but even more so now. Our patients typically stay hospitalized for at least a month at a time and typically have family members or loved ones stay with them during their stay. We have had to remove that ability for patients to have visitors at all, so the mental toll it has taken on our patients has been hard.

Rick: From what I hear, you are a big Eagles fan. How did that start?

Dusty: Being from Kentucky, we don’t have any pro sports. Basketball is king, but I was always more drawn to football. I played flag football in the 4th grade and happened to be on the Eagles. We won the championship that year and it just presented me with an easy connection to a pro team. It also happened to be the first year of the Eagles runs to the NFC Championship games, so it coincided with Philly being really good as well.

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

Dusty: I’ll give you my top five. 5) DeSean Jackson 4) Brian Westbrook 3) Jason Kelce 2) Donovan McNabb 1) Brian Dawkins. I’m only including players I had the chance to watch Otherwise, Reggie White would maybe top the list. He has been such a joy to go back and watch film on. Dawkins being number one was a no-brainer though. I think he encapsulates the Philly attitude. Physical, loud, heartfelt, and an animal. He played each snap with passion and intelligence and I honestly believe he is still underrated nationally.

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?

Dusty: I really like Justin Jefferson and I would have no issues with the Eagles picking him at 21, but this is a really deep WR class, so I wouldn’t hate the Eagles trading back, stacking up on picks and grabbing a WR in Round 2. As a Kentucky fan, I would obviously love to see the Eagles grab Lynn Bowden in the third or fourth round, but we’ll see! As an SEC fan I was able to see Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler play each week and I am a big fan of his. He didn’t run super well in the 40 and is pretty thin, but his tape speaks for itself.

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

Dusty: I would give him anywhere from a B- to C grade. I’m typically not too harsh of a fan and realize there is more going on than we know, but I really thought we would have signed more players and taken some chances at bigger names. Carson has continued to show signs of not being the most durable (let’s hope he takes an Embiid level step and can stay healthy for a full year) but windows in the NFL are closed as fast as they open. The draft is going to reveal a lot more, so I’ll save my final grade until then. I will say…we should have traded for Jalen Ramsey. I’m not here to argue, no follow-up questions please.

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.

Dusty: Geez, pretty light question, huh? I would encourage everyone to just stay the course. Go ahead and carve out in your head that this is going to last longer than you want, but saving even one life is worth it. Our lives will get back to normal at some point, but it is going to take everyone sacrificing. Take that stimulus check, buy a nice bottle of bourbon, and watch Invincible (just kidding, that movie was “meh” at best). Reach out to those around you and make sure they are doing okay too. Being a single dude who lives by himself, it does get kind of lonely, so check on your friends!

Dusty also had a few final Eagles related thoughts that he wanted to share:

  • “I’m not full panic mode on Derek Barnett, but man does he need to show up this year.”
  • “I would throw the bank to bring back Chris Long as a player-coach.”
  • “The Patriots are major cheaters.”
  • “Remember that time we got Demarco Murray and we thought everything was going to be okay? Simpler times.”
  • “People forget: Dak Prescott got his butt whooped on spring break. Never forget.”
  • “The massive amounts of hate Carson gets from Eagles fans drives me nuts. No one is putting up production with those WRs. I honestly believe he will win an MVP in the next 5 years.
  • “I once tweeted that Braxton Miller would be a Top 5 WR in the league and I own that mistake…however, there is still time.”

I personally want to thank Dusty K. 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 your community! If you read this article, make sure to go out to Twitter and thank Dusty for all that he, and the rest of the First Responder community, is doing to keep us safe. His Twitter handle is @Khoshreza.

As Dusty said, “Stay the course.” Please, please, please. Continue social distancing to not only protect yourself, but to also protect those whose immune systems can’t protect them. 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.


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