Sandra Lindsay, the Jamaica-born critical care nurse who was the first person in the United States to get a COVID-19 vaccine, will today lead a parade in New York City to honour essential and other workers for their contributions to help fight the pandemic.
Lindsay was selected to be the Grand Marshall for the New York City Parade of Heroes.
The parade kicks off at 11:00 a.m. New York time and will make its way along Manhattan’s iconic Canyon of Heroes to City Hall where a formal ceremony will take place.
Lindsay was honoured over the 4th of July Independence holiday weekend by US President Joe Biden at a naturalisation ceremony at the White House to recognise “outstanding Americans by choice.
She was selected by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) as an honouree and she received her certificate from Biden.
“This is a country of possibilities and opportunities. It is a country where one can immerse oneself to achieve your dreams and aspirations. Don’t waste the opportunity and possibilities. Life is not easy but use the opportunities as a springboard to get where you want to be,” she told The Gleaner.
Lindsay recalled that when she arrived in the US she worked as a babysitter and in supermarkets but never lost sight of her goal of becoming a nurse.
She recently obtained her Ph.D. in clinical health services.
She and her brother received their doctorates on the same day from the same university.
Speaking on being recognised as an outstanding American by choice, Lindsay said she was honoured to have been chosen to receive the recognition.
She noted that she represents two very important groups, immigrants who have come to the US and contributed and achieve and healthcare workers who do so much.
“Immigrants are part of the fabric of the United States and I was honoured to be recognised by the highest authority. We recognise the values of the country and we are proud to be citizens of the United States,” she said.
“Take advantage of the opportunities. Always give of yourself and know that you have a civic responsibility to the country,” she continued.
Today’s parade is the first ticker-tape event to be held in New York City in nearly two years.
“Everyone who kept it together in New York City for all of us and brought us back — it’s a day to celebrate and appreciate the heroes who often go unsung,” said New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio.
“We’re going to sing about them this day,” he added.