The New York Giants have named the four winners of the "A Giant Hero" campaign, presented by Quest Diagnostics, an initiative intended to celebrate frontline workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. Each person selected for this honor has proven to be a true hero in their community when they were needed most, making them all Giant Heroes.
Chappy Manzer has given back to his community in several ways throughout 2020. When everything began to shut down in March, Manzer decided he couldn't just sit back and do nothing to help those around him. Manzer, a member of the Peekskill Rotary as well as the Hope for Youth Foundation, approached both organizations about helping him raise funds to feed the food insecure. They were able to raise approximately $18,000, which helped feed 3,000 people.
He then started a GoFundMe for first responders, including the police, fire, ambulance, DPW workers, and employees at the local hospital along with the local nursing homes. This effort raised nearly $25,000 and fed close to 3,600 first responders. When schools were about to start in the Fall, Manzer found that many kids in the community did not have Wi-Fi hotspots. He partnered with other business in town and raised almost $40,000 for Wi-Fi hotspots. Westchester County was so impressed with the funds they raised in this GoFundMe that they awarded Manzer and his efforts with a $50,000 grant.
Megan Costello is a registered nurse who has spent 2020 working in hospitals and helping out patients. Costello is also a member of the Navy Reserve. Her desire to give back began in college, when Costello felt the need to do something with her life to help others. So she got interested in nursing, which led to her current position in an ICU and ER in Critical Care Transport. Costello decided to join the Navy Reserve because she wanted to give back to the country that had given her so many opportunities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Costello received a last-minute call about her service being needed across the country. On 24 hours' notice, she never thought twice while packing a bag and flying to Los Angeles, which was getting hit extremely hard by the virus. Costello credits her time spent helping those in Los Angeles for learning more about the virus, which in turn has allowed her to provide better care to others.
Ryan Cook has dedicated his work to helping frontline workers get through the mental health aspect of this pandemic. Some frontline workers have been overwhelmed with the devastation they've seen, and Cook wanted to help them from the impact of potential burnout. In addition, Cook purchased and donated PPE equipment to local communities. He also established virtual support groups to help frontline workers, along with anyone who might have lost their job during this tough year.
Helping others' mental health is nothing new for Cook. In 2017, he started The Hope Corner, a volunteer organization whose mission is to help fight the stigma of mental health. THC helps educate others, in addition to aiding people who might be dealing with anxiety or depression. When COVID-19 first hit, Cook decided he wanted to find a way to use what he knows to help those that are directly impacted by the virus. In terms of things one can do if they're struggling with their mental health, Cook suggests finding someone to talk to, as he reminded us that "we're in this together.'
Our fourth Giant Hero is Donna Faulborn, who transformed her small, local food pantry into one that helps feed over 250 households in the community during the pandemic. When things first began to close down this year, Faulborn began cooking for a lot of the seniors in town because they couldn't get food. Soon enough, organizations were bringing her food to help the cause. She has received support from residents in town, local organizations and businesses, as well as the Bergen County Food Security Task Force and the United States Department of Agriculture.
And Faulborn's efforts have gone beyond nourishment. In normal circumstances, she typically provides holiday gifts for the families who she helps feed throughout the year. But with so many households needing help in 2020 - and new people signing up every day - Faulborn could not get gifts for everyone. She looked toward people on Facebook for help, and sure enough, the gifts and gift cards have been rolling through. As Faulborn puts it, "It's amazing what people will do to help others out."
The New York Giants would like to thank all four winners of this year's "A Giant Hero" campaign, presented by Quest Diagnostics, as well as all of the other local heroes who were nominated in the process.