Keyworkers have been honoured in an unusual way after putting themselves on the front line during the coronavirus pandemic.
A haulage truck company has decided to name a fleet of vehicles after key workers as a way of recognising community heroes.
On October 16, the namesakes had the chance to visit their trucks for the first time at BJS Haulage in Wednesbury.
One of the keyworkers who had a truck named after them is Molly Henriques-Dillon, Quality Nurse Team Leader at Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group.
The 62-year-old from Penkridge came out of retirement last year to lead a quality nurse team, and was recently awarded the British Empire Medal for her fantastic leadership and care to patients during the Covid pandemic.
She said: “I was shocked to be fair, as I didn’t think I’d done anything extraordinary.
“I think the credit has to go to my team as I couldn’t have done it without them; they have worked so hard to support our care homes through the pandemic.”
The late John Mallinson, a 111/999 Call Handler for West Midlands Ambulance Service, also had a truck named in his honour after responding to the recruitment appeal in March last year to support NHS efforts in dealing with the pandemic.
Tragically, John fell ill in September 2020 and later died aged just 31, leaving behind his wife and two stepchildren.
His widow, Kirsty Mallinson-Gethings, visited his truck along with several family members.
She said: “John would have loved this. He used to travel a lot and this means he can still travel, so it’s a fitting recognition for him. It’s heart-warming that his colleagues nominated him.”
Another keyworker recognised in the truck naming was David Dabbs, Distribution Lead at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.
Mr Dabbs is responsible for ensuring all consumables are sorted and allocated to the 30 wards at Walsall Manor Hospital, which includes various items from bed pans to medical items.
Last year this also meant a huge rise in PPE which had to be checked and dispatched to the correct department as soon as possible, a critical contribution during the pandemic.
“It’s been a horrendous year with the pandemic, working hard to keep the wards supplied to protect the staff. It’s the job, so you do what you have to do, but I’m honoured and humbled to get this recognition,” he said.
Amarat Gill, Operations Director at BJS Haulage added: “The logistics industry and the NHS kept the country moving during Covid, so it was great to honour local keyworkers by naming trucks after them. It was great for them to ‘meet’ their trucks on the weekend.”
Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A huge thank you to BJS Haulage for this heart-warming gesture.
“Our colleagues across the Black Country and West Birmingham have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, and we’re delighted that they have been recognised in such a unique way.
“I’m sure they’ve loved seeing their trucks in person for the first time, after all it’s not every day that you get a truck named after you. If you see the trucks on your travels, please give it a wave!”
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