TAMPA, Fla. -- Rustic Steel is used to striking while the iron is hot and right now, their workshop is fired up for those first responders and workers on the front lines who have kept Tampa Bay going during this pandemic.
They are in the process of making 19 awards that will be presented to those who have gone above and beyond.
“To have the first responders being recognized is really really important, giving them something that we made with our own hands means a great deal to us,” said owner Dominique Martinez.
Throughout the country, one of Rustic Steel’s signature pieces is their heart, so they thought it was the perfect symbol for the COVID-19 Hero Award.
“Having our heart being sent out there is something that is very meaningful to us because we have been making this heart design since 2004. That’s what it’s all about, show your heart in times like this,” said Martinez.
Rustic Steel is asking the community to submit nominations, then with the help of the city of Tampa, they will narrow it down to 50 people on the front lines and the community will vote for the top 19.
"Many of them are not recognized and don’t receive awards for what they do,” said Jessica Philips with Rustic Steel.
The award spans across many different industries and demographics. They want to hear every story, from the doctor in the ER to the food delivery driver.
“Right now, our heroes are completely different. They are nurses, they are doctors, people on the front lines in restaurants, in the hospitality industry,” said Martinez.
They plan to honor the 19 finalists during a ceremony later this summer, where Mayor Jane Castor will hand out the awards.
“It's very endearing, its very real, and I think its pretty cool,” said Martinez.
To nominate your hero go to bit.ly/covid-19heroes.