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Surprise Squad honors woman who helped others with vaccine rollout

Ashley Mourao, a mother of two, is the athletic trainer at Ludlow High School. This year was unlike any other she's experienced during her 10 years on the job.
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 3:23 PM EDT
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LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- For this month’s edition of the Western Mass News Surprise Squad, sponsored by the Hyundai Dealers of Western Massachusetts, we paid a visit to a local high school athletic trainer who went above and beyond during the early part of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Ashley Mourao, a mother of two, is the athletic trainer at Ludlow High School. This year was unlike any other she’s experienced during her 10 years on the job.

“It’s been crazy to say the least, but we have made it through,” Mourao said.

However, even with a hectic year at work, Ashley stayed busy outside of work. A family friend reached out to our Surprise Squad with her story.

“What she did with this pandemic and the amount of people she helped…She’d get up at night with a baby, settle the baby, and then she was booking appointments for people…There are 160 appointments in all that’s she’s booked, which is such a selfless thing, but she’s always been that way,” said Susan Gilbert, who nominated Mourao.

She booked 160 vaccine appointments for family, friends, and even people she didn’t know who needed help.

We wanted to show our appreciation and say thank you, so while stalled inside, the rest of the Squad set up the surprise outside.

The Hyundai Dealers of Western Massachusetts signed the check and gathered with Mourao’s family and friends in the parking lot.

“On behalf of the Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers, we just want to recognize you for the selfless act that you’ve done. We’ve heard so much about it and we just want to recognize that,” said Gary Rome with Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke.

The Hyundai dealers presented Mourao with a $500 check. The Surprise Squad also got her a gift card to Face to Nails Day Spa and tickets to local museums to enjoy with her family.

“A lot of people who were getting these vaccine appointments were older, elderly people who didn’t have the tools to sign up, so having someone here to be able to do that for them meant the world to them,” said Wahab Mohammed with Balise Hyundai in Springfield.

Rome added, “She was up in the middle of the night, one or two in the morning, just to capture a time for some folks. It’s amazing and I’m glad we have the opportunity to recognize her.”

Mourao noted, “People wanted help and I figured out the easy way to do it, so I didn’t mind helping people book them.”

“Her selflessness and what she gave to the community in so many people’s lives, so we are just happy to be here and celebrating her and everything she’s done for the community,” said Carla Cosenzi with Country Hyundai in Northampton.

Gilbert noted, “So thankful for Ashley… she’s always been a good girl…If there were more people like Ashley, we’d be a much better world.”

Mourao continues to help out in times of need. She recently helped people involved in a car accident right outside of the school.