800+ entries, 2 winners in TTAND’s Essential Workers contest
From l-r: Carli Summers, Alan Hardwick

800+ entries, 2 winners in TTAND’s Essential Workers contest

TORONTO — The Travel Agent Next Door agents Barbara Durley and Lori Oschanney were instrumental in connecting two essential workers with prize trips as part of TTAND’s Essential Workers contest.

Launched this summer, the contest generated more than 800 entries via the websites of 470 TTAND agents.

The contest invited anyone to nominate an essential worker who went “above and beyond” during the COVID-19 crisis and awarded two trips: one to a frontline worker and the other to a first responder.

The prize included roundtrip economy airfare on WestJet for up to two adults and seven nights at any all-inclusive Palace Resort. The prize also included all resort transfers and taxes.

For the purposes of the contest, frontline workers were defined as anyone working in an industry which was deemed essential during lockdown – from grocery store workers to bus drivers. First responders included those working in roles such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors & hospital personnel.

“All three of my daughters are essential workers,” said TTAND CEO Flemming Friisdahl. “I wanted to do something to show our appreciation for all of these workers – for their dedication, skills and abilities which have been very much appreciated during these troubling times, in order to keep our Canadian families safe.”

However, he joked, “my kids could not understand why they could not be entered in the contest!”

TTAND is “extremely grateful to WestJet and Palace Resorts for donating to this worthy cause,” he added.

With almost 800 nominations coming in over the 7-week contest period, a committee of 60 TTAND agents reviewed all entries and narrowed the nominations down to the final eight, comprised of four frontline workers and four first responders. Then all 900 of TTAND’s travel agent partners had a chance to vote for their favourite story in each of the two categories.

Here are the winners:



Name: Carli Summers

Occupation: Nurse

Organization: Niagara Health

Nomination Story: “I would like to nominate my girlfriend. She works in the COVID hot zone of our local ICU. She has picked up multiple overtime shifts to help when needed. She has donated blood on her break at work! Like what?! She has sewn over 400 scrubs caps for nurses and doctors to keep them protected. She has made sure her patients get to video chat their loved ones, even using her own cell phone so they can stay and feel connected and loved. She is so, so, so deserving, there is no better choice.”

(Nomination provided on website of TTAND Agent Barbara Durley)




Name: Alan Hardwick

Occupation: Transportation

Organization: Midland Transport

Nomination Story: “Alan transports French fries and mussels to New York, returns with auto parts and sometimes juice. He ensures both USA and Canada have supplies. He crosses violent demonstration lines and isolates himself on return to PEI. He has to limit his contact with his family. He is a single dad of five. He lives a lonely life in his attempt to ensure we all have some of the necessities of our life. His truck is his home. He is cheerful but careful in his encounters to ensure best practice for COVID.”

(Nomination provided on website of TTAND Agent Lori Oschanney)

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