Coronavirus Heroes

In our May/June issue, we wanted to remind ourselves of the importance of appreciating the people and events that give definition and shape to our world. Writer Heather Hayes talked to folks who were in the thick of Utah’s coronavirus response in many ways: some big and some small. These everyday heroes made Utah a better place to live during a challenging year. All photos by Adam Finkle

Coronavirus heroes comic book cover
Design by Jeanine Miller and Scott Peterson

Dr. Angela Dunn

Utah’s State Epidemiologist

Dr. Angela Dunn, Utah's State Epidemiologist

“I’ve always had the luxury of a singular goal: to keep people safe.”

Dr. Angela Dunn

Dr. Angela Dunn says she certainly never expected to be a household name in Utah, but her straight-talking, no-nonsense briefings have bannered our news feeds for over a year. Read more here.

Louis Donovan

Store Director, Harmons, Roy

Louis Donovan, Store Director, Harmons, Roy

 “The best part of my job is talking to people and helping them feel taken care of. I honestly love it.” 

Louis Donovan

With non-essential businesses forced to close during the early days of the pandemic, grocery stores became a lifeline for customers, ensuring families remained fed and supplied while hunkering down and giving folks a moment to interact with other humans. Read more here.

Christy Mulder

Nurse, University of Utah Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit

Christy Mulder, Nurse, University of Utah Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit

“The vaccine gave me and my colleagues new reasons to go forward … I felt as if they’d asked me to be an ambassador for hope.” 

Christy Mulder

When, in December 2020, after what felt like an eternity of dark days, Christy Mulder was asked if she would like to be the first person in Utah to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, she was honored. Read more here.

Brooke Jones

Donor of hundreds of homemade masks

Brooke Jones, Seventh-grader and donor of hundreds of homemade coronavirus masks

 “It’s amazing that pouring 10 minutes into making a mask could change someone’s life, or at least make a difference in their life.”

Brooke Jones

The act of tracing, cutting and sewing has become Brooke’s happy place. “Everyone has life and that’s something we should treasure,” she says. Read more here.

Kayla Williams

Fourth-grade teacher
Cottonwood Elementary

“I like the challenge of helping kids find the fun … I love it when I see that spark and I know I’ve reached them.”


Kayla Williams is one of 40,000 Utah teachers who taught students in-person as well as online during an uncertain 2020–2021 school year. Read more here.

E.R. Dr. Mark Shah

Director, Disaster Preparedness for Intermountain Healthcare
Consultant, Utah Hospital Association

Dr. Mark Shah, Director, Disaster Preparedness for Intermountain Healthcare and Consultant, Utah Hospital Association

“Responding to a disaster really clears away all of that cynicism and doubt that we have toward our fellow humans.”

Dr. Mark Shah

Dr. Shah knows he can’t fix every social issue, but in his appointed role to create and advise in Crisis Standards of Care, he made it his mission to ensure no one was sidelined as our hospitals shifted into crisis mode and demand for care outstripped supply. Read more here.

Since the publication of this article in our print issue, Dr. Dunn has announced she will step down as the State Epidemiologist to become executive health director of Salt Lake County.

Heather Hayes
Heather Hayes
A Salt Lake native, Heather has been a voice for Utah’s arts and culture scene for well over a decade, covering music, dance and theater for the Deseret News. But Heather loves a good yarn, no matter the genre. From seatmates on ski lifts to line-dwellers in a grocery store, no one is safe as she chats up strangers for story ideas. When she’s not badgering her teenagers to pick up their dirty socks or spending quality time with her laptop, you can find Heather worshiping the Wasatch range on her bike, skis or in a pair of running shoes.

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