Salute to Service: Broncos stars thank veterans now working in healthcare

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DENVER (KDVR) — About a dozen healthcare workers at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital got to take a short break from the stress of the pandemic to participate in a special call with Broncos stars Shelby Harris and Brandon McManus. 

“We get to be carefree and play the game that we love because you guys are on the front line taking care of us,” Harris said. 

While they are on the front lines of the fight against COVID, all of the health care workers are also veterans.

“I appreciate all you guys, your service and what you did for our country,” McManus said. 

The call was part of the NFL’s Salute to Service each November. 

“When I was deployed in Bosnia one of the best things we could do that kind of brought some normalcy to things was being able to watch you guys,” Clinton Andersen told Harris and McManus. 

Andersen spent seven years in the Air Force. He now is the Manager of Safety & Environment of Care at UCHealth, which means he is responsible for getting the hospital ready for potential disaster situations, including a pandemic. 

“The biggest stress is dealing with people’s fears,” he said. 

Andersen says Tuesday’s call meant the world and provided a sense of normalcy. 

“They weren’t playing to an interview. They weren’t doing anything like that. They were just themselves. You know? Brandon laying back on the couch and Shelby with the light going in and out with his screen. Just normal human beings and I think that’s what was really refreshing,” he said. 

As a group, they discussed everything from Harris’ past as a high school basketball player to McManus’ hopes of hitting a 70 yard field goal. The players answered questions for about 30 minutes and nothing was off the table. 

“I hear you have COVID. How’s that treating you?” Andersen asked Harris. 

“Yeah, your boy has COVID right now,” Harris said. “I feel normal so far but my wife is really the one who is taking the brunt of it because she’s pregnant right now.”

Andersen said the call is a reminder that connecting with each other is more important than ever before. 

“COVID numbers are going up. They’re still going up. We see them every day. Even when things are crazy, even when Shelby has COVID, even when everybody is dealing with their own personal issues, that we can take the time out and just have frank conversations and just enjoy either,” he said. “That’s kind of like a once in a lifetime thing so it was super great to be part of it.”

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