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Local MLK Day of Service project is a ‘thank you’ for health care workers

Cards for health care workers to thank them for their work during COVID-19
Cards for health care workers to thank them for their work during COVID-19(ktuu)
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 6:46 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Martin Luther King Jr. Day is usually celebrated with a call to service, but COVID-19 has made helping people in person difficult this year. That didn’t stop Nicole Keenan from coming up with a project to simply say “thanks.”

Keenan is from Kentucky. She’s taking a year off from college to work as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Public Defender’s Agency in Anchorage. Keenan is interested in social justice but on this holiday, she focused on a different project. She wanted to say thanks to the people who were with her grandfather in the days before he passed from COVID-19.

“He passed away from COVID at the end of October of this year. So just being able to give back and help the group of people who really helped him, and made his last days as comfortable as they could be, was something really important to me,” Keenan said.

Keenan’s grandfather didn’t die in Alaska, but that didn’t matter. She wanted to pass on her gratitude to the medical professionals who are doing similar jobs in every state. So she reached out to Alaskans on Facebook and asked if anyone was interested in making thank you cards to distribute.

“There was a lot of interest,” she said. “People messaging me and saying, this sounds great, let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

Nicole Keenan delivers thank you cards to staff at Alaska Regional Hospital
Nicole Keenan delivers thank you cards to staff at Alaska Regional Hospital(ktuu)

Keenan picked up the cards over the weekend, she had a total of about 150. They ranged from humorous messages like “You deserve a raise!” to heartfelt appreciation including “Great work, we love you!”

On Monday, she took the cards to Alaska Regional Hospital and left them with a security officer there.

She said the fact that she didn’t know exactly who they were going to wasn’t really important. Only that the people who receive them will know that they’ve been thanked.

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