SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WHSM) -- During these trying times, front line workers are receiving much-deserved credit for their handwork and sacrifice.
The Western Mass News Rocky's Ace Surprise Squad also wanted to honor some unsung heroes -- the community members and volunteers who are stepping up to take care of the place they call home.
Kim Rivera of Springfield dedicates her time to the Springfield community, all year long.
“I work part-time for Mass Parents United, which is an advocacy organization that works for parents. I deal with parents, the pros and cons they deal with, in life on a daily basis. I also do C3 Forest Park in the Forest Park area, and that's a police community and businesses together because I’m always in the community. I can see the need and the support they are looking for,” Rivera said.
Lately, Rivera has been doing even more.
Once she found out the Springfield schools were giving out free meals to students, she knew she had to be involved.
“I decided to take it because there’s a lot of parents, you know -- I’m a single mom. My kids happen to be older, but there are a lot of parents that don’t have transportation even though it's a great thing. And if people can’t utilize it, it defeats the purpose. And that’s where I come in,” she said.
Just like clockwork, every day Rivera picks up meals and drops them off at the students’ homes.
“Not everybody I’m doing it for I know, so it makes me feel good people are reaching out, and I feel like a superhero because they could reach out to anybody. It doesn’t necessarily have to be me. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. I’m doing something good,” she said.
When the Western Mass News Rocky's Ace Surprise Squad asked Rivera why she’s doing this, the answer was simple: she understands.
“A couple of things inspired me because I was a single mom, and I struggled. I was on welfare, and they didn’t have this, so a lack of support, and I just want people to know I'm one person out here, and I want to put on Facebook. Sometimes people don't know who to go to,” she said.
After getting to know Rivera and her generous heart, the Western Mass News Rocky's Ace Surprise Squad also learned she had a serious health scare just a couple of months ago.
“I went to Colorado because my daughter has twin girls, and on the 18th and the 27th, I found myself in the hospital. I had a stroke, and I’m diabetic. I had high blood pressure,” she said.
Rivera spent two months in Colorado trying to recover, and finally made her way back to Springfield in February.
“My son said, ‘My mom is going to get out of this. She’s a strong woman,’” Rivera said.
Back on her feet and helping out the community, the Western Mass News Rocky's Ace Surprise Squad knew it needed to give Rivera the recognition she deserved.
“I know today we told you we were doing a story on you, but we are actually here to surprise you. We are the Western Mass News Surprise Squad with Rocky's Ace Hardware, so here you go open up this box,” the surprise squad told Rivera.
“Oh wow, oh my God. I see this on TV all the time. We have $250 to Walmart and $200 to Rocky's Ace Hardware -- wow I go there too,” Rivera said.
This unsung hero told the Western Mass News Rocky's Ace Surprise Squad she's going to continue to serve her community during this pandemic, and she’s thankful for all the other volunteers and front line workers doing their part.