By Jim Newell
Around 100 million people across the world are expected to watch Super Bowl LV this Sunday, most from their home, or at parties with family and friends.
But Lake Orion resident Carol St. Henry won’t be watching from the cheap seats – because she’s Super Bowl-bound and is ready for some football.
“I am Super Bowl-bound and I am super excited. I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it,” said St. Henry.
St. Henry is a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) with Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor and works at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Oakland in Pontiac. She’s been a nurse for 31 years.
She was watching the World News one evening and saw that the National Football League (NFL) wanted to thank healthcare workers for their service during the pandemic and planned to invite 7,500 healthcare workers to be guests at Super Bowl LV.
“So, I just sat down one Sunday morning and literally wrote four paragraphs,” St. Henry said, adding that she did not even tell her husband, Joe, that she was writing a letter to the NFL. “I never thought they would get it, and I never thought anyone would read it when they got it. I just did it and, you know, let’s see what happens.”
In her letter, St. Henry wrote that COVID-19 “is the scariest thing I’ve ever dealt with. I received the first vaccine of hope in December. I’m receiving the second one Jan. 8,” she said, adding that after getting the first vaccine shot “I immediately felt like there was hope.”
St. Henry describes herself as an avid football fan. Besides the Lions, she also roots for the University of Michigan Wolverines, and as a Lake Orion graduate, she of course roots for the Dragons.
She also roots for the Rochester Adams Highlanders – her daughter, Morgan, also a Lake Orion graduate, is an athletic trainer for the school.
About a week after sending the letter, she received an email from the NFL that they had received her letter and were working out the details with the health department.
“That’s when I sent them a copy of my vaccine card and said, ‘Even if you don’t pick me, thank you for honoring healthcare workers.’ About a week later I got notification that I was indeed going.
“A guy at work always calls me Friday Night Lights because he knows I love football,” St. Henry said. “So, at work the other day I said, ‘You can call me Super Bowl Sunday now.”
St. Henry said there isn’t any one aspect that she is most excited about – it’s the entire experience, including sharing it with so many of her colleagues from across the nation, that she’s going to treasure.
“I think just taking in the whole atmosphere. Seeing other healthcare workers sitting alongside of me knowing that we are there representing so many others, that we are the few representing hundreds of thousands healthcare workers.
“And it’s not just the nurses and doctors. It’s the scrub techs, it’s the transporters, it’s the x-ray (techs), it’s the housekeepers. Healthcare is a team and I feel like I represent all of them, not just the CRNA’s, because I know how hard everyone I work with works as well.”
St. Henry said she will root for the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs over the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Super Bowl LV begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
“I’m rooting for (Chiefs defensive end) Frank Clark, number 55. Clark’s a Michigan guy – I know (Tampa Bay quarterback Tom) Brady’s a Michigan guy, but quarterbacks get all of the credit when it’s the guys in the trenches doing all of the work.
“I’m looking forward to the game. I hope it’s a close game, I hope it’s an exciting game. Next year it will be the Lions. One pride, one pride.”