Red Sox Nurse Night: Nurse Throws the First Pitch!

14 Min Read Published May 17, 2024
Red Sox Nurse Night: Nurse Throws the First Pitch!

Event Recap

The 7th annual Red Sox Nurse Appreciation Night 2024 was a BLAST! once again had the privilege to honor 10 remarkable nurses on the field. Nurse David Denneno threw the first pitch. Nurse Carol Townsend sang the National Anthem. It was a great night and we look forward to next year!

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Nurses Honored On The Field! 

10 nominated local nurses had the honor to be recognized on the field during the pregame ceremony! One special nurse got to throw the first pitch while a talented nurse-singer sang the National Anthem in front of thousands of roaring fans! Each of these nurses received 2 game tickets, Clove shoes, Jaanuu scrubs, a prize bundle from Nuwest, and other prizes! 

Here are the ten nurses who were chosen by an online vote: 

First Pitch Winner, David Denneno: A Hero is someone who has given his life to something bigger than himself. 

Truer words have never been spoken about a very special man in my life. My dad, David Denneno, has been a nurse for the past 30+ years. He started off in the 1980s as a high school biology teacher who worked a second job as an EMT for Bay State Ambulance Service, located in Quincy. It was there that he not only developed his passion for medicine, but also met a very special nurse. My dad would drop patients off at Quincy City Hospital and attempt to speak with Mary, a charge nurse with a tough personality. At the time there were about five different “Marys” working in the Emergency Room so like any resourceful man David did what he thought was best to learn her name. He had a police officer buddy run Mary’s license plate. Their first meeting went like this:

“Hi there! Would you like to go to breakfast with me? By the way your license is expired.” 

By some miracle she said yes, and in 1989 David and Mary got married. It was my mum who convinced my dad to pursue nursing. She had been in the field of nursing since she was 16 years old and knew that his empathy, calm demeanor, and passion for helping others would be best used in the ER. She supported him through nursing school and before they knew it, they were working as a team in the Emergency Room of Quincy City Hospital. 

According to my mum, my dad has always been a compassionate and confident nurse. He always treats people with respect, knowing that he is seeing them on what could be their worst day. My dad has an infectious smile and a soothing voice that makes him a fan favorite of patients young and old. Pediatric patients love him because he is playful and comfortable, and the shots he gives never hurt. Parents love him because he is professional and reassuring. Elderly patients love him because he treats them as if they are his own parents. 

While David was an EMT he was dispatched to an elderly woman’s home for an unknown medical. Upon arrival he and his partner found that their patient, a frequent flyer in the EMS system, simply wanted help figuring out which dress to wear the next day. My dad, who is the most patient and understanding man in the universe, helped her pick out an outfit. He then made her a cup of tea and left this woman in a better place than he found her. 

After some time, David returned to school and received a master’s degree in nursing. This is my dad’s second master’s degree. He had previously obtained a master’s degree in Education while he was teaching biology. For the second time my mum supported and pushed my dad to succeed in advancing his career through education. This time they were both working full time while raising two young kids. My sister and I were born in 1995 and 1993, respectively, and my dad graduated as a Nurse Practitioner in 2001 after spending three years at Regis College. 

My dad left Quincy City Hospital, and after a brief stint at Norwood Hospital, he landed at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro. It was there that my dad flourished. He began working in the Emergency Room as a Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Educator and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. In his spare time he is the secretary of the Massachusetts chapter of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) as well as the treasurer of Sigma Theta Tau. Through his involvement with the ENA he has participated in ENA Day on the Hill in order to better the profession. Needless to say my dad is a busy man. Despite all this responsibility resting on his shoulders my dad is the BEST dad ever. He rarely missed spectating one of my basketball or softball games in high school. In the summer he coached my softball teams and never missed a practice or a game. The Red Sox are our passion so he had no issues skipping out of work early to take me to the games, something we still do as season ticket holders. He always has made time for our family no matter how busy he is. My dad is the rock of our family and his strength was put to the maximum test in 2010 when my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.

My dad, the healer, was helpless when my mum was diagnosed. But we banded together and my dad kept our routines and schedules normal. He supported my mum through her treatments all while continuing to care for patients. My dad’s positive energy kept us all going through the most difficult time in our lives. We are happy to say that my mum has been in remission for close to fifteen years now. 

Since 2016 my dad has taken on a new role at Sturdy. He became the Director of the Emergency Department and despite his administrative role he is always aware of what is occurring behind those double doors. When it is busy David will not hesitate to dive right into the fray. He has been known to run IVs, push stretchers, and suture wounds. He will do whatever it takes to support the emergency department staff. There are some days where you will find him in scrubs and you would not even know he is the boss. At his roots and in his heart, he is a nurse.

My dad’s passion is serving the public as a nurse but also instilling the same passion in the next generation. Annually he speaks at Sturdy’s Future Nurse Day to groups of high school students. He also never misses an opportunity to educate the emergency department staff. When he hears that a trauma or a code is coming into the emergency department, he will gather up the new nursing school graduates and have them observe and participate. I have learned a myriad of skills from my dad my entire life and when he is teaching he is calm, patient, and an expert communicator. His demeanor during high stress situations fosters an environment conducive to learning and without a doubt raises the confidence of the new nurses.  

My dad has always gone above and beyond to serve his community. Growing up watching both him and my mum make an impact on the world around them has influenced my sister and I to pursue a life of service. My sister is a hospital social worker and I am a police officer. The service of my dad has touched countless lives and the world is a better place because of it. 

At this point my dad is reaching the end of his professional journey. As the Emergency Department director and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator during the COVID-19 pandemic my dad was pushed to his limit, often coming home exhausted and falling asleep in his chair in the living room minutes later. He and his team were on the frontlines dealing with death, sickness, stress, and an influx of behavioral health patients. The emergency department team pushed through and for my dad it was a 24/7 venture between reporting the COVID numbers to the state, to fielding calls from the charge nurses, to navigating staffing issues when a member of his team got sick. It was undoubtedly the most difficult time in my dad’s nursing career, and as the pandemic was winding down he was quoted in the Sun Chronicle saying “I’m also hopeful I’ll be able to see people’s faces”. As a people person, I know he really missed connecting with his staff and patients without a mask and six feet separating them.

Finally in December of 2022, my dad passed on the torch to his second in command and became semi-retired. These days David is still working for Sturdy Health as the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at the hospital. However, spends more time in the mountains of New Hampshire hiking and traveling with my mum, playing the slots at Foxwoods with my sister, and chasing birdies on the golf course with me. After over three decades of healing, leading, and teaching, my dad gets to enjoy life knowing that he did everything he can for people. He is incredibly humble, soft-spoken, deserves more recognition than he’ll ever get, and without a doubt the best nurse you could ask for.

Meghan Christine DiMaggio: My sister Meghan DiMaggio is my best friend and role model all in one. She is a strong independent woman and I see her as a hero. Everything in her life she has created for herself. She is a night nurse at south shore hospital and worked front line of covid. She has been the most wonderful sister to me my entire life and I am so beyond thankful for her. She is very loved by everyone around her and is the life of the party. She lights up every room she walks into. She deserves this more than anyone I know. She is basically my second mother and helped raise me. She has worked so hard her entire life and never treats herself to anything or gets credit where credit is due.

Ashley Ackerman: She is a pediatric ICU nurse at UMASS Worcester. She loves her job, and shares wonderful stories about being able to help children off all ages. Ashley loves to show off the coloring that she gets to keep from patients, which are hung all over her house. Before becoming a PICU nurse, she was a nurse on a post-op floor in Manchester NH. Ashley always dreamed of being a nurse, and was a resource nurse for 3 years before leaving Manchester to go to Worcester.

Diane (Donna) Spencer: Diane is an excellent recipient for the first pitch at the nurse's night game. We would love to see her throw the first pitch representing our unit. She has been working at Lahey longer than I have been alive, and dedicated her life to our patients.

Stephanie DeLeo: Stephanie DeLeo is an amazing nurse and takes on so much extra responsibility around the hospital. She helps everyone even when she probably should eat dinner and sacrifices so much to make sure the patients and fellow staff are taken care of before herself. Her selflessness as a nurse carries over to her personal life as she is one of the kindest and most generous spirits I know! Lifelong Red Sox fan too as I’m sure you’ll appreciate.  

Sharon Bourassa: Nominating Sharon Bourassa who is an incredible stroke nurse coordinator making a difference and saving lives of stroke patients everyday and providing education and resources to the surrounding local committees.
Prior to this position she worked as a critical care nurse in ICU and then took a position as a quality nurse. Sharon went above and beyond during Covid to volunteer working back in ICU and putting her position in quality on hold.
Sharon is also an incredible  coworker who always has a smile and makes people laugh. She has shown courage standing up for what is right and fair, risking her own position to do so. She is loyal friend and a people advocate!
Sharon has been a forever Red Sox fan and has named her 2 adorable dogs Fenway and Caroline!❤️ being part of this would make her so happy and be a check of her buck list!

Katie Wickman: The essence of exemplary nursing professional practice and the essence of what a nurse should be can be seen by watching Katie Wickman. Katie delivers exemplary nursing care to both her patients and to her coworkers. Everyone needs a nurse, not only patients and families, but other nurses, nursing assistants, unit coordinators, unit assistants, and every person on the 14CD care team. Katie is their nurse. Katie is OUR nurse. She is the reason many staff stay on our heavy medical unit, 14CD. She is who we aspire to be and who we want by our side in a crisis, and on the slow days when there are moments to share. 
One way Katie exemplifies the Magnet Model, which is the model we use to guide our practice, is by exhibiting exemplary professional practice with her participation in nursing retention activities that improve the organization’s and 14CD’s unit nurse turnover rates and the health of the environment. Katie has been a member of the Unit-Based Practice Council (UBPC) for more than 5 years. During her tenure on this committee and in her role as a Nurse In Charge, she has made numerous contributions to the health of our work environment. One notable contribution of Katie’s began in November 2022 when she recognized that many of our nurses never left the 14th floor to take a lunch break or get a refreshment. She came up with the “Kitty Kat’s Snack Snack.” This snack shack is located on the unit to provide healthy and delicious treats for the hard-working staff to help them maintain energy needed to provide patient care. Each snack can be purchased for one dollar, thus creating a fund for both replenishing snacks and for our Sunshine Fund, which is money 14CD uses to buy gifts, flowers, and other forms of recognition for staff (e.g. grief, illness, baby shower).
Data supports that Katie’s innovative contributions are making a difference on 14CD. 14CD currently meets all benchmarks for nurse turnover, 90 day turnover 0%, 13.3% First Year Turnover (Benchmark 30.6%), and 14.1% Annual Turnover (Benchmark 20.7%). In October 2023, 14CD completed the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Healthy Work Environment Assessment Tool. This tool can be used as a metric for gauging success in improving the overall health of the environment and enculturation of the AACN Healthy Work Environment Standards. This survey served as surveillance monitoring to gauge the health of the work environment on 14CD. It was given after the challenging COVID years, when morale had suffered and turnover was high. The survey results for three standards, Effective Decision Making, Appropriate Staffing, and Authentic Leadership, all scored in the Moderately Healthy range. Specific individual Items that can be reflective of Katie’s leadership include a 4.87 score on Authentic Leadership Individual Item, “In my work unit, the team members accountable for leading us inspire others to help achieve a healthy work environment.” A score of 4.00-4.99 is the Moderately Healthy score, where a 5.00 or higher is considered Very Healthy. 
While no data point is able to measure the influence of one nurse on a unit of 60 nurses, the only question that needs to be asked of any member of the 14CD team is, “which nurse do you turn to if you need help?” Most nurses will point to Katie Wickman because she is always there to lend a hand, give advice, give medication, give a shower, give support, or give you a snack. In fact, if you need help, she likely has already helped out without you needing to ask. Nursing is more than taking care of individual patients and families, it is taking care of a unit and our unit is healthier because of Katie. 

Katie is part of a nursing family and she has even been featured on a mother's day edition on the Today's Show.

Danielle Desrochers: Danielle has been a Registered Nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA for twenty years, working on CWN 8North, a gynecology oncology surgical unit. Danielle exemplifies the finest qualities a nurse could and should have - kind, empathetic, and an ability to listen to your needs and concerns, making you feel comfortable in the most challenging and difficult circumstances. Our unit takes care of our specialty population GYN oncology and breast reconstruction DIEP patients, which are much more challenging patients beyond straight forward surgical care, and Danielle works hard to provide them with exceptional care and cater to their unique needs. She has precepted countless new nurses and students on our unit and is always there to help her co-workers by sharing her knowledge and experiences. This has helped our new team members feel welcomed and many have voiced their appreciation of her warm embrace as they start their nursing journey. She also is a leader for our staff when assuming the nurse in charge role.  Danielle has been nominated for countless Daisy Awards, due to her exceptional compassion, empathy, and selflessness. In addition to being an amazing nurse and working long hours, Danielle is a mother to four young boys. She is adored by her family, coworkers, and most importantly her patients- who time and time again have expressed their love and gratitude for her compassionate care. The 8 North staff and Brigham community all thank Danielle for her outstanding care of our patients and support of her colleagues.

Matthew Thomas Galvin: Matthew has worked at Lahey for over ten years as a nurses aide and nurse in the Medical ICU, the cardiac PCU, and now the cardiac cath lab where he works on a team to save people having heart attacks much like Pedro Martinez worked to save the Red Sox playoff hopes for so many years.  He is a patient-first kind of nurse, where everything he does is with the patient in mind.  He is a passionate Boston sports fan, a natural athlete, and an amateur golfer.  It would mean the world to him, to have the opportunity to throw the first pitch for his Boston Red Sox.  Not only is his character worthy of being selected, he has an absolute rocket of an arm that would be sure not to embarrass the entire profession of nursing.  Guys throwing a strike, guaranteed.

Jessica Hicks: Jess is the nurse educator in the Surgical Trauma ICU at Baystate Medical Center, a very busy level one trauma center in Western Massachusetts. We see a high volume of trauma patients due to having a large catchment area and being the only level one trauma center in the area. Jess presented "Healing Hands, Resilient Hearts: A Nurse's Experience and a Survivor's Triumph in the Trauma ICU" in Nursing Grand Rounds to tell the story of a trauma survivor who we cared for. 

Awards and Prizes

  • Nurses with the most votes were recognized on the field!

  • The nurse winners each received 2 game tickets, courtesy of, a pair of Clove shoes, Jaanuu scrubs, and a prize bundle from NuWest!

Nurse Sang The National Anthem

Carol Townsend, the nurse singer with the most votes had the honor of singing the National Anthem on the field. She also received 2 game tickets, Clove shoes, Jaanuu scrubs, a prize bundle from NuWest, and other prizes! 

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Angelina Walker
Angelina Walker
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Angelina has her finger on the pulse of everything nursing. Whether it's a trending news topic, valuable resource or, heartfelt story, Angelina is an expert at producing content that nurses love to read. She specializes in warmly engaging with the nursing community and exponentially growing our social presence.

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