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COVID-19 Relief Initiative

Readers’ Choice: Southside C.A.R.E.S.

Critic’s Choice: Southside C.A.R.E.S.

Megan Henderson, director of events and communications for Near Southside Inc., has seen bad times come for her little piece of Fort Worth. (Anyone remember the Near Southside Save a few years ago when a winter storm came early?) So when the Southside business community was crippled by COVID closures, Henderson obtained seed money from Marty and Marilyn Englander, the new owners of Kent & Co. Wines –– a business that also couldn’t do business for several months. The Southside Culinary Arts Retail Entertainment and Service Fund has offered mini-grants of $250 to real service industry workers and entertainment folks whose relief money got tied up in federal politics (or who may not have been eligible for any federal funds). Other local supporters who jumped onboard early in the effort include Amanda and Eric Behn of Vandervoorts Dairy, First Financial Bank, and the DuBose Family Foundation. You may have enjoyed the free streaming concert on April 30 featuring local hero Leon Bridges and local fave Abraham Alexander, which raised $60,000 (with a lot of $25-and-under donations) for the cause. More than 550 individuals have been helped with the C.A.R.E.S funds so far, and Henderson has another matching grant for $15K currently awaiting your donations.



Essential Worker

Readers’ Choice: Danny Williams, UPS Customer Center, 1300 E Northside Dr, 800-742-5877

Critic’s Choice: Support Our Fort

BJ and Amber Caldwell found a sustainable and innovative way to support local businesses and essential workers through their venture, Support Our Fort. The concept is as simple as it is effective. Purchase T-shits, whiskey tumblers, and other fun items, and 100% of the profits go toward purchasing gift cards from local businesses. Those cards are then given directly to local essential workers, including folks in the medical profession who are dealing with dangerous and burdensome working conditions. By giving back to our essential businesses and workers, BJ and Amber have shown how essential kindness can be during unprecedented times. Donations and purchases can be made at


First Responder

Readers’ Choice: Michael Newkirk, Fort Worth Fire Department, 505 W Felix St, 817-392-6800


Frontline Doctor

Readers’ Choice: Bryan Youree, MD, Texas Centers for Infectious Disease, 1025 College Av, 817-810-9810

Critic’s Choice: Dr. Kerim Razack, Texas Pulmonary and Critical Care Consultants

Caring for patients who are stricken with COVID-19 is deadly work. Among the estimated 1,000 deaths of U.S. health care workers caused by the novel coronavirus, 55% of those fatalities are physicians, according to a recent study by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

As a respiratory illness, COVID-19 attacks the lungs and leaves victims at risk of suffocating. Pulmonologist Kerim Razack has been on the front lines at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital since early March. Like many doctors, Dr. Razack began treating patients with little information on how infectious COVID-19 was. The staff at his hospital allocated resources to handle the type of surge that overwhelmed hospitals in New York City last April. Saving lives is all in a day’s work for doctors, but the realities of treating a highly infectious disease mean doctors like Dr. Razack make the decision to risk their lives and health every day as frontline doctors.

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Frontline Health Care Worker

Readers’ Choice: Beth Mueller, RN, Baylor Scott & White, 1800 Park Pl Av, 682-703-5600

Critic’s Choice: Vicki Cannon, Director of Clinical Services, UNT Health Science Center

Health care workers have become synonymous with heroes and for good reason. Every day across Tarrant County, doctors, nurses, lab techs, and other health care professionals rely on training, experience, and courage to face down a rampaging coronavirus that has taken nearly 200,000 American lives. Vicki Cannon was instrumental in coordinating COVID-19 testing for first responders early on in the pandemic. The UNT Health Science Center executive director of clinical studies used that experience to create an internal UNTHSC testing site for UNTHSC patients and students. More recently, Cannon, a clinical research nurse by training, helped launch a pediatric drive-up vaccine clinic for children whose pediatric offices had ceased in-person appointments due to COVID-19. Cannon is a resource for her colleagues and keeps her staff up to date on guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Medical Board.


Frontline Nurse

Readers’ Choice: Chelsea McBride, RN, John Peter Smith Hospital, ER, 1575 S Main St, 817-702-8828

Critic’s Choice: Paul Palermo, Texas Health Harris Southwest

Paul Palermo has worked in ERs since he was 19 years old. After graduating with degrees in biology and economics, he went back to school for nursing at UTA, graduating in 1999. Once the pandemic sparked, Palermo found himself surrounded by more sick patients at one time than he had ever seen. Though mask requirements and social distancing have helped, he said, now is not the time to become complacent. Due to the necessary safety measures, while the volume in the ER is actually lower, in-patient beds are still full. Palermo said the community has really come through for him and his fellow frontline health care workers, and for that, he is supremely grateful.

Click HERE to read Best Of 2020: Getting & Spending.