SIDNEY – Healthcare professionals, first responders and businesses in Sidney got a boost last week, thanks to Mayor Andy Matviak, owner of VEP Waldron’s at 89 Main Street, Sidney.
Using nearly $2,000, Matviak purchased gift certificates from Sidney businesses for distribution among the village’s front-line workers. Matviak delivered the gift certificates on the morning of Friday, May 8.
“What I wanted to do was honor our first responders and, in the same instance, I wanted to help our restaurants and small business owners in town,” he said. “I bought 77 $25 gift certificates that I handed out to hospital staff, our emergency squad, our police department and I also handed some out to SECO Physical Therapy.”
The impact, Matviak said, will hopefully prove twofold.
“I wanted to help the first responders that have been a great help to our community during these tough times,” he said, “and also help the business people, so I bought the gift certificates to different (Sidney) businesses.”
Matviak noted that the gift cards “came from VEP Waldron’s” and said, as a fellow Sidney business owner during the pandemic caused by the spread of the new coronavirus, he felt the need.
“My company bought all the gift cards,” he said. “I’m not looking for fame; I’m doing this because I wanted to and I’m doing it as a businessman.
“Sidney is doing OK,” he continued. “The businesses that can be open, are. Everybody’s getting by and we’re doing the best we can. We’re hoping the governor says we can open up some of our other businesses on the 15th, but safely; we’re very cognizant of that. But it’s a tough time.”
Matviak said roughly half of the gift certificates went to the hospital’s staff.
“I gave them to Peter (Burghardt, senior director of operations at the Fox Hospital Tri-Town Campus), and the head of the police department and the head of the emergency squad,” he said. “They were very appreciative.”
Burghardt, who distributed the gift certificates to hospital workers, said the surprise lifted staff spirits. Burghardt noted that Matviak consulted with him beforehand to determine how many gift cards to supply, ensuring all members of the hospital’s 36-person staff received a card.
“They, and myself, were super appreciative,” Burghardt said. “What a nice gesture, to be able to do that during these times of high stress and anxiety. It really meant a lot and it brings a smile and a moment of peace to the staff.
Burghardt extolled the gesture’s ripple effect.
“He went to local restaurants,” he said, “so it has a bigger impact, not only on the emotional wellness of my staff, but it really positively impacted the neighborhood.”