As if the past year could not be full of more surprises, one BSU alumni got the surprise of a lifetime. Casey Florence, who graduated BSU in 2010, was working his shift at the Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital when his boss asked to speak to him privately. After being offered the opportunity to be flown down to Tampa Bay for the Superbowl LV, he could not believe what he had just heard.
Back in April during the early stages of the pandemic, Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, donated the team’s plane to the United States government and its undercarriage was not storing helmets and shoulder pads but over one million N-95 frontline face masks. The masks were sent to doctors and healthcare workers in need around the local area where they were in high demand. Along with the mask donation, Kraft has allowed for Gillette Stadium to follow the lead of Fenway Park in becoming a vaccination site for Massachusetts.
Kraft continued this generosity to frontline workers by sending 76 medical staff down to Tampa for the big game though Kraft. One of these medical heroes was our alumni Casey Florence.
Florence, once a standout linebacker for the BSU Bears for two seasons, is now a part time firefighter on top of working at Brockton Hospital. Being on a team prior to working on the frontlines has helped him in so many ways including the skill of remaining calm through stressful situations and thriving in a team setting. The unease of the past 12 months had taken its toll on Florence and his wife, also a frontline worker, so it felt good for the former Bear to have a weekend of football and fun.
“We were treated like celebrities from the moment we arrived at Gillette for the sendoff,” Florence shared. After landing in Florida with the “6x Champions” shining off the side of the plane, the group of heroic health care workers was introduced to Mr. Kraft before heading for Raymond James Stadium. As they made their way to their seats, they were met with fans showing their appreciation with a standing ovation and loud cheers and “thank you” chanted all through the night.
Sitting on the 20-yard line, Florence truly could not believe this opportunity. As a lifelong Patriots fan, watching Brady win his 7th ring after a few “Gronk spikes” was icing on the cake for an already surreal experience.
“In a year where COVID came through and life came to a halt…I was randomly selected to go on a jet to the Super Bowl,” Florence said. “There are so many workers out there that are deserving, I wish I could have shared it with all of them because so many are putting in the work,” he said.
We are so proud of our alumni as they are helping to make the world a better place and getting rewarded in the process. To front line workers everywhere, thank you and know what you do everyday is not going unnoticed.