Port nurse Sandra Lindsay leads ticker-tape parade honoring healthcare workers

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Northwell Health nurse and Port Washington resident Sandra Lindsay was the grand marshal of a ticker-tape parade honoring New York's healthcare workers on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com)

Northwell Health nurse and Port Washington resident Sandra Lindsay served as the grand marshal for a parade in New York City honoring local healthcare workers who served on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday.

The streets of New York City’s Canyon of Heroes, famous for holding a variety of parades since the 19th century, were filled with a sea of blue and orange ticker-tape honoring all of the state’s transit operators, law enforcement, firefighters, sanitation workers, and healthcare employees during Wednesday’s Hometown Heroes Parade. Leading the charge was Lindsay, the first person in the United States to receive a coronavirus vaccine dose back in December.’

Lindsay, in an interview with CBS News, touted the efforts of all frontline workers throughout the pandemic, and said being named the grand marshal of the parade was a true honor for her. The intensive health care nurse at Northwell’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park thanked all New Yorkers for their support since last March.

“All of the frontline workers, all the essential workers, all the first responders, my heart also would go out to all those we lost along the way, unfortunately,” Lindsay said. “Every day has been such a blessing, getting the opportunity to do so many different things and connect with different people, but this is just amazing. It’s a big hug from New York.”

Lindsay received V.I.P. transportation at the parade, which began at 11 a.m. at Battery Park ultimately ending near City Hall. Leading the parade and waving to everyone who came out to honor and cheer on all of New York’s frontline workers in attendance, Lindsay, said, was an experience she will never forget.

Lindsay’s journey to becoming the first person in the nation to receive the coronavirus vaccine began nearly three decades ago outside of the United States. When she was 18 years old, Lindsay immigrated from Jamaica to the United States.

Lindsay took classes to achieve her first nursing degree from the Borough of Manhattan Community College while working at a grocery store and babysitting to pay bills. Lindsay ended up earning her nursing degree in 1994, and became a U.S. citizen three years later.

Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling touted Lindsay for her continuous work throughout the pandemic, aside from receiving the first inoculation. Dowling, a fellow immigrant, reflected on how the ripple effects from Lindsay’s tireless work and historic vaccination will live on throughout history.

“Sandra came to this country to make a difference and on that December day she courageously decided to get that shot and help lead this country out of the pandemic,” Dowling said.”As an immigrant myself, Sandra is the epitome of the power immigrants hold in writing this great nation’s history and on behalf of the entire Northwell Health family, we are proud to support her.”

On July 2, Lindsay was awarded the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Outstanding Americans by Choice recognition by President Joe Biden at the White House.

“During the height of the pandemic, Sandra poured her heart and soul, working with patients and keeping her fellow nurses safe,” Biden said. “When the time came she became the first person in America to get fully vaccinated outside the trials. She can now hug her grandson. She’s out there making sure her patients and folks in the community get vaccinated.”

Biden said Lindsay’s vaccination card, identification badge, and hospital scrubs will be on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in a COVID-19 exhibit.

“During the height of the pandemic, Sandra poured her heart and soul, working with patients and keeping her fellow nurses safe,” Biden said. “When the time came she became the first person in America to get fully vaccinated outside the trials. She can now hug her grandson. She’s out there making sure her patients and folks in the community get vaccinated.”

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