US Prez declares Jamaican an ‘Outstanding American by Choice’

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden recognizes Sandra Lindsay as an “Outstanding American by Choice,” a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services program that recognizes citizens who have been naturalized in the East Room of the White House, Friday, July 2, 2021, in Washington. Lindsay is believed to be the first American to be vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial. She works as director of nursing for critical care at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York.
Associated Press/Patrick Semansky

Americans vigorously celebrated the 245th anniversary of independence with belated fervor and zeal absent since Covid-19 restricted crowding at beaches, parks and barbecues last year and two Jamaican women embraced the July 4 holiday paying homage to their immigrant status.

Both essential to the medical profession, nurse Sandra Lindsay and doctor Millicent Comrie welcomed the fireworks that marked the holiday and also lauded their second citizenry.

Lindsay was invited to the White House over the Independence Day weekend to accept a special honor from President Joe Biden who declared her an Outstanding American by Choice.

He presented the New York resident with an award saying: “She’s pursued her dream of becoming a nurse to allow her to do what she wanted to do most — give back to her new country,” the president said.

First in the nation to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, on Dec. 14, 2020, the director of nursing for critical care at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, the largest health-care provider in New York — made history when she volunteered to be jabbed with the newly approved emergency Pfizer drug.

In the presence of Mayor Bill deBlasio, media representatives, drug specialists, her colleagues, willing and apprehensive citizens, Lindsay bravely offered her upper, left arm encouraging others to follow her lead.

Throughout the pandemic, particularly when the city was described as the epicenter of the virus Lindsay also faced her fears to provide care to critically ill patients — some of whom she watched die from the virus.

President Biden explained: “During the height of the pandemic she poured her heart and soul into the work to help patients fight for their lives, to keep her fellow nurses safe.”

“With a grandson at home, prematurely, she did what she had to do. She kept her distance and kept him safe. He is safe, but she lost an aunt and an uncle to the virus. But in her pain she didn’t lose hope,” Biden explained.

“When the time came, she was the first person in America to get fully vaccinated outside of clinical trials. She can now hug her grandson; she’s out there making sure her patients, folks in her community are getting vaccinated so they could get back to their lives and their loved ones.”

Reportedly Lindsay’s celebration started last week when she completed her PhD in health sciences.

Her brother Garfield Lindsay received the same degree during the same ceremony.

Three decades ago the 18-year-old emigrated from Jamaica to Queens. She became a US citizen in 1997.

“More than 24 years after becoming a naturalized citizen, I could never have imagined where I am today — at the White House receiving high honors from the president,” Lindsay said.

“It’s truly a privilege to be a part of this great nation and I will continue to lead and help those in need.”

In addition to accepting the honor presented to naturalized Americans by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for significant contribution to both their community and adopted country Lindsay also received accolades from the mayor who announced that the poster nurse would serve as the grand marshal of next week’s ‘Hometown Heroes’ ticker tape parade.

To further regale the actions of the nurse, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History previously announced that Lindsay’s vaccination card, hospital scrubs, and badge will be included as part of its Exhibit on COVID-19.

“Thank you for representing the best in America,” Biden added.

“I came to this country for the opportunities — not only for myself but to be able to help others,’’ Lindsay said.

“As a nurse, I do everything to care for the sickest patients and lead by example.”


On the Fourth of July, similar accolades were bestowed on Comrie, Lindsay’s fellow compatriot.

Renowned by Caribbean nationals and all her patients, the specialist in obstetrics — gynecology and director and founder of Brooklyn Heights Women’s Health Center, Maimonides Medical Center the doctor was regaled by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for her contribution to American life.

Honored as a Distinguished Immigrant Dr. Comrie is one of 34 outstanding naturalized citizens from 30 countries to receive the 2021 honor. One of only three from the Caribbean and the only Jamaican, she has received widespread recognition for her stellar work and service.

The annual Independence Day distinction “represents more than 30 countries of origin and emphasizes service to society, including honorees who are recognized for helping others as medical providers and researchers; as advocates for the disadvantaged, disabled, and disenfranchised; and as change makers in politics, voting rights, climate change, and teaching.”

Dr. Comrie speaks German and Spanish in addition to English and is revered for treating uterine fibroids.

Reportedly, she has helped many women avoid hysterectomies and has been referred to as a “preserver of fertility in Black women.”

Some of her other awards include the Marcus Garvey Award for Community Service, the Leader in Medicine Award from the Society of Foreign Consuls, and the Order of Distinction from the government of Jamaica.

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