Lizzie Dragon
by Lizzie Dragon
Posted June 1, 2020

Frontline workers are the backbone of this fight against COVID-19, putting their life and health on the line for us every day. To express our sincerest gratitude to those on the front lines, Outdoorsy is gifting road trips to those who need it most. Here are the stories of some of our heroes.

Lisa Curtin

Healthcare Hero

Speaking of backbones, one of our winners, Lisa, would break her back for anyone. She is a full-time radiological technologist at an urgent clinic in Dayton, TN, and is responsible for the care of her 97-year-old mother. Her days consist of 12-hour shifts wearing a recycled N95 mask followed by showers, scrubbing, and Lysol to prevent the spread of the virus to her husband or mother. 

Falling on some hard times, from her husband’s motorcycle accident that left him disabled to losing her special needs son, she has still managed to keep great love in her heart and a smile on her face. The heart she has for her patients and all people is what makes her a real hero and is why her daughter, Kasey Curtin, nominated her. 

As her daughter says, “She’s the type of lady that gets up early to watch the sunrise and cries watching the sunset.” Lisa fell in love with traveling about three years ago, so much so that she and her husband are building a camper van to take on the road after retirement. We say, why wait? 

Gary Kanner

Healthcare Hero

Gary is an Emergency Medicine Resident in Detroit, MI. Serving a very vulnerable population on the front lines, he, like many others, contracted the coronavirus. Fortunately, he recovered and got right back to work. 

Set to finish his last year of residency training and graduate this June, he will be moving to New Mexico. With members of his cohort also scattering across the country to start new jobs, the time they have together is dwindling. That in mind, Gary’s girlfriend, Erin Hendrix, nominated him for an RV trip with his co-residents, to get outdoors and spend some much-needed quality time.

Tawny Olsen 

Healthcare Hero

Tawny is a mother to a gorgeous baby girl and two little fur babies. Since the birth of her daughter, she has been working double duty as an Emergency Department Pharmacist at St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth, MN.

Staying late to care for critical patients, she often has to delay pumping, eating, and hydrating. As more and more COVID-19 patients walk through the doors, Tawny’s shifts get longer, and her workload gets more intense. Despite it all, she is still able to muster up the energy to care for her daughter, which is only one of the many reasons her husband, Anthony, nominated her. 

Back in 2016, Tawny and Anthony made the trek from Minnesota to Glacier National Park for their wedding. This July, they were planning to make their way back, but the virus threw a spanner in the works, and they had to cancel. Needless to say, this healthcare hero deserves to hit the road and decompress with her family once the pandemic is over. 

Tommy Fayet

Healthcare Hero

As soon as the pandemic hit, Tommy volunteered to be the charge nurse of the COVID ICU at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Knowing the risk of spreading the virus to his family, Tommy and his wife, Polina, made the tough decision for her and the children to stay with her parents. What they once thought would be a few weeks turned into a few months, having to spend their 9th wedding anniversary in different states. 

The bright side of it all is that Tommy has made a tremendous impact in the fight against coronavirus. In fact, his unit was one of the first that implemented the method of lying patients on their stomachs to prevent excess pressure on the lungs. This is only one of the reasons Polina nominated him. Reuniting with his family once this is all over will certainly be a great gift, but the opportunity to reconnect with them in an RV? Even better. 

Courtney Barcellos 

Healthcare Hero

Courtney, a medic, wildland firefighter medic, and volunteer firefighter in Colorado Springs, CO, was deployed to New York to work as an unpaid volunteer. She paid money out of her pockets to help in the fight, and, for the 40 days she worked on the frontlines, she contracted the virus. This caused her to suffer a silent heart attack, and she is now working to recover both physically and mentally. 

It is obvious that, as her wife, Melissa, said, Courtney would “give a perfect stranger her last dollar or the shirt off her back.” The gift of a safe space to travel and recover is not lost on such a selfless individual like her. That’s why Melissa nominated her. 

When we say this woman is strong, we mean it. She competitively power lifts and coaches powerlifting and CrossFit. Coronavirus wishes it hadn’t messed with her. 

Nominate a Healthcare Hero

The fight against coronavirus isn’t over. So many healthcare professionals and volunteers are still on the frontlines, working tirelessly against it. If someone in your community is one, nominate them. Every week, we’ll select a nominee to receive a free trip from us at Outdoorsy. As you can see, they all undeniably deserve it.

Lizzie Dragon


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