Salute to frontline workers and unsung heroes of the pandemic

Among the unsung heroes in the fight against COVID-19 are the doctors and nurses who risked their lives to save others and prevent the spread of the virus. Now, they’re helping with a massive vaccination effort.

Restaurant workers in San Jose got the long-awaited first dose of the vaccine last month.

"It’s overwhelming," said Sushi Confidential owner Randy Musterer. "I’m so looking forward to this. I can't wait."

They were filled with such relief and joy. They brought with them their own dose of appreciation, bento boxes. The boxes were comfort food for the volunteer nurses and staff.

"We want them to know the community cares about them and wants to support them any way we can," said Musterer.

It has been a challenging year full of ups and downs and a lot of unknowns for the first responders, police, fire, restaurant and grocery store workers as well as the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and staff.

"It’s stressful and it’s scary," said Catheryn Wiggins, San Francisco nurse. "The isolation."

One year later, people are filled with gratitude.

"I don’t think I could do them justice at all," said Tom Martin of Palo Alto.

"I have a lot of friends who are doctors," said Sam Far of Fremont. "My fiancé is a doctor herself so I know how much they’ve had to sacrifice."

Moveable Feast delivered thousands of meals to Bay Area hospitals.

"When times are tough, when something bad happens, we rely on these people to help us, to get through difficult times," said Moveable Feast Owner Ryan Sebastian.

"It’s certainly been a long year," said Liz Thurstone, San Jose nurse. "There are many adjectives to describe this year."

Thurstone is a charge nurse of a Coronavirus unit in San Jose. She sacrificed not seeing her mother in person for a year. She said her darkest moments were when ICU beds filled up.

"It became a surge upon a surge and it left one with the feeling is this ever going to end?" said Thurstone.

She’s not letting her guard down. She said hope is on the horizon and what has kept her strong are her peers and the community.

"I do not consider myself a hero at all," said Thurstone. "I consider myself a nurse who was doing her job in the best way she knew how during a pandemic. I think everybody is a hero."