Rachel Elliott had shared her COVID-19 pandemic stories with longtime close friend Eric Griffin.
One story stuck with him. Elliott, an intensive care unit and emergency room nurse at IU Health, and the hospital chaplain arranged a FaceTime call for a dying COVID-19 patient so her daughter, who was in another hospital with COVID-19, could say goodbye. Elliott then stayed with her patient so she wouldn’t be alone when she died at IU Health North in Carmel. The Noblesville resident rotates among several IU Health hospitals but was primarily at IU Health North during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
Griffin, a Mazda owner from Chicago, learned about the “Mazda Heroes: Honoring the Human Spirit” program that recognizes individuals across the U.S. who dedicate themselves to their community. He nominated Elliott with a one-minute video, sharing her act of kindness with the dying patient.
Elliott was selected by Mazda North American Operations as one of 50 winners of the national honor. She took home a 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Dec. 4 at Tom Roush Mazda in Westfield. Elliott was joined at the celebration by Griffin, along with her parents, sister and boyfriend.
“It’s really cool, because it’s their 100th anniversary edition,” Elliott said of the car.
After she was nominated, Mazda officials called seeking more information.
“When they called to say I won, I was so surprised,” she said. “It’s definitely been something bright in kind of a dark year. It’s definitely been a blessing and a fun surprise.”
Elliott, 37, has been a nurse for 10 years.
“As a Mazda dealer, we couldn’t be more excited to be part of the program,” Tom Roush Automotive Sales Manager Jeff Duncan said. “Honoring our front-line workers is first and foremost. Being able to give her a brand new car was awesome to be part of it. It was awesome to talk with her and hear her story. There couldn’t be more of a deserving individual. She is constantly serving others, going on mission trips. We’re ecstatic to give this away and give something back to someone who has done so much to our community.”
Elliott, a Heritage Christian High School graduate who grew up in the Geist area, attended the IU School of Nursing at IUPUI.