(WIVB) — The U.B. Bulls had a great night to kick off their football season. A lot of fans and students turned out to root on their team. And the Bulls paused to salute the frontline healthcare workers, leading the charge against the pandemic.
About a dozen healthcare and frontline workers were honored during Thursday’s season opener. The healthcare workers say it was a moment they won’t forget.
“It was awesome to be recognized. I’m glad that I was chosen to be here,” said Michelle Moore, who works at ECMC.
During the UB Bulls season opener, a special moment was given to these healthcare and frontline workers.
“Really excited. When they asked me I was like, yeah sure!” Moore added.
“I’m being honored at the UB game, so this is fantastic. It’s the highlight of my day — the highlight of my month,” said Patrick McGuiness.
For Patrick and Loris McGuiness, this moment was extra special because they lost their daughter to COVID.
“It’s nice to be thanked, but you know, you’re not expecting it and that. It was the biggest honor when the football team recognized when my daughter passed away. That was a major nice event,” added Loris McGuiness.
And because fans could be in the stands during the UB Bulls season opener, they could witness it.
“Obviously everyone appreciates what they’re doing especially in recent times. So, that’s great and I think that’s a great decision by the school to do so,” Kyle Mattern said.
If the goal for fans was to make up for missing out on last year’s season opener because of the pandemic, they certainly accomplished that by bringing all their energy.
Mark Alnutt, VP & Director of Athletics told us, “Leading up to this point there’s a lot of people that are excited, a lot of people that are anxious to get back and to be able to watch the Bulls in person, so for us to be able to open the doors and for us to be able to provide pregame opportunity and activity prior to the game is something that we’re appreciative of.”
More than 4,500 students attended, which officials say is a near-record attendance.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.