VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - What does it take to vaccinate Virginia Beach? If you ask the two people who helped lead the charge, they’ll say it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. And teamwork.
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Paramedic Lyndee Tripp and Captain Cathan Breen of VB Rescue rolled up their sleeves to help tens of thousands of others roll up theirs. It was not easy to do from scratch.
“We had rough ideas, but I think the first probably six to eight weeks was a lot of revamping, learning from mistakes," Tripp says.
It started with shots for doctors and nurses on the front lines. Then, the team trained others on how to give the shots. In January 2021, it grew into a mass vaccination effort, which they supervised.
“We kind of just kept expanding and expanding, and then we took over the convention center," Breen recalls.
In all, more than 125,000 vaccine doses were given at the makeshift clinic over the course of several months, saving countless lives.
"I think we're extremely proud of what we accomplished over there,” Tripp says. “I think it was the single biggest feat that we could do for the betterment of our community."
Breen adds, “It was also pretty cool to see how much buy in everyone had. When they took us out of the convention center, it was almost like they had to drag us out."
For their work in helping to vaccinate Virginia's largest city, Tripp and Breen are being honored with the Hampton Roads Chamber's 2022 Community Heroes award. Anchor Blaine Stewart also surprised them with a News 3 Everyday Hero award, along with a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank, during our visit.
“We didn't do it for the awards. Finding out was kind of like, 'Oh, that's really neat.' But that's not something that drives us to do what we do," Breen adds.
To nominate someone for an Everyday Hero Award, click here.