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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona awards $30,000 to frontline workers, $60,000 to organizations

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PHOENIX (KVOA) – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona recognized frontline workers in the state who have gone above and beyond to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization announced in a news release Wednesday. 

The health insurance company recently selected 30 “frontline heroes” from six different categories: hospital healthcare workers, non-hospital healthcare workers, first responders, educators, essential service workers, and volunteers and awarded them with $1,000 each “in appreciation of their hard work and dedication to the health of Arizona.” 

“We cannot thank all frontline heroes in Arizona enough, for their time, passion, and commitment to helping our state get through these difficult times,” said Pam Kehaly, President and CEO of BCBSAZ. “We are truly inspired by the stories that were shared in the hundreds of nominations that were submitted.” 

Nominations were scored based on significant contributions made during COVID-19 in 2020, commitment to others, and positive impact made in the community. In addition to the $1,000 that BCBSAZ awarded to each of the 30 selected frontline workers,  they are also selecting local nonprofits to receive a $10,000 donation from BCBSAZ. The donations will help the six selected nonprofits to continue serving Arizonans in need during the pandemic.  

The top six frontline heroes selected include: 

  • Alicia Shields – Alicia is a Registered Nurse and Team Rubicon Volunteer. She was nominated in the volunteer category for her dedication to making a difference in other people’s lives. Since the beginning of COVID-19, she has volunteered her time at hospitals and emergency rooms to ensure COVID-19 patients are getting the best care possible. Alicia selected Team Rubicon for her donation. 
  • Amy Burke – Amy is a Registered Respiratory Therapist in Phoenix. She was nominated in the hospital healthcare worker category for changing lives during the pandemic. Being a life support expert, she has seen the fragility of human life firsthand, and is honored to step up to be there for people in need. Amy selected the Southern Arizona Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for her donation. 
  • Jana Smith – Jana is the Executive Director at Phoenix ToolBox. She was nominated in the essential service worker category for playing an important role during the pandemic for lending tools and equipment to local nonprofits, schools, and government organizations. She is proud to help her community and is amazed to see the work that gets accomplished when the community comes together. Jana selected the Phoenix Toolbox for her donation.  
  • Kelley Mure – Kelley is a Senior Manager for Solider and Family Readiness for the Army National Guard. She was nominated in the first responder category for tirelessly working during the pandemic to help soldiers deploy, help their families put food on the table, and provide resources when needed. Throughout the pandemic, Kelley’s biggest accomplishment has been making a difference in others’ lives. Kelley selected Angels on Patrol for her donation. 
  • Lauren Holzer – Lauren is a Teacher at Kyrene de los Niños Elementary School. She was nominated in the educator category for her dedication to her students during the COVID-19 pandemic by always putting their needs first and giving them the support they need. Lauren has always strived to find a career that she is passionate about and has been able to find that through teaching. Lauren has chosen the Kyrene Foundation for her donation.  
  • Zaira Morales – Zaira is Clinical Administrator at St. Vincent de Paul. She was nominated in the non-healthcare worker category for her assistance in launching a free COVID-19 testing center. She started her career as a volunteer, and since then has been carrying out her mission to help others and eliminate health inequality. Zaira selected St. Vincent de Paul for her donation. 
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Chorus Nylander

Chorus Nylander is the Chief Investigative Reporter for News 4 Tucson. He is focused on giving the voiceless a voice and holding the powerful accountable.

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