By Steve Overmyer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NFL is honoring workers on the front lines of the pandemic with trips to Super Bowl LV.

One of the honorees is a local hospital chaplain, CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported Friday.

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All across the county, front line workers are being rewarded with tickets to the Super Bowl. One of them is Rocky Walker, Mount Sinai’s chaplain.

“It’s unbelievable. After my entire life of struggling and being so close and just frustrating, it’s still surreal,” Walker said.

For the past year, his days have been busy.

“I start my day in the ICUs and actually spend most of my time in the ICU,” he said.

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While Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes will be the stars on the field, the real heroes will be in the stands.

Chaplain Walker is one of 80 health care workers flying to the game on New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s personal jet.

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“This 80 represents millions of health care workers who have put their lives on the line daily to fight this virus. That’s who they are and that’s what we do,” Walker said.

Walker was born and raised in Kansas City, so his allegiance is no mystery.

“I’m a Chiefs fan on a Patriots plane. I might need to bring a parachute,” he said with a laugh.

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While going to the Super Bowl is a well deserved respite, it cannot outweigh the losses health care workers have endured.

“Even in the middle of that, there was so much of humanity that has come together and has united to fight this virus,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten to see firsthand what happens when human beings come together.”

All health care workers going to the game have been vaccinated and tested for COVID.

Super Bowl LV is available live on CBS, streaming via CBS All Access, and streaming free on CBSSports.com, and on the CBS Sports app on your phone, tablet, and connected TV devices.

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Steve Overmyer