NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some frontline workers got a big surprise Friday as a thank you for their work.

As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reports, they got to drive brand new vehicles out of a dealership in Jackson Heights, Queens.

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Healy Chait got the keys to a special edition Mazda MX5 Miata. At the peak of the pandemic, she co-founded the charity Invisible Hands to deliver groceries and medication to the city’s most vulnerable, and it grew to include 10,000 volunteers.

“Imagine a bunch of essential items here,” she said.

She and two other New Yorkers were recognized for going above and beyond for people impacted by COVID-19.

Their communities noticed, and these three were among 1,000 people from across the country nominated for Mazda’s heroes program. It was whittled down to 50 cars for 50 winners.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Jennifer Mark is an emergency room nurse who never stopped working right up until she delivered her baby girl, Aubrey Sue, just over a week ago.

“I found out I was pregnant in late March, early April when the pandemic actually started peaking,” she said. “So I worked through my whole pregnancy, I didn’t call out sick or anything once.”

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But her car kept breaking down. That’s why a friend nominated her.

Koeppel Mazda let her swap to a CX5 with enough room to fit a car seat.

“All of it just sort of seems surreal,” she said. “I’m just overwhelmed, I’m super thankful.”

The 3rd winner Ian Shermain was nominated for her work volunteering as an ICU nurse and founding a group to keep his Hasidic Jewish community informed.

“I feel the love, and I appreciate it. I just wish I could share this car with all the people I work with,” he said.

Each winner said this only drives them to do even more good in their communities.

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Natalie Duddridge