After battling the coronavirus for 14 days and seeing how hard health care professionals worked to care for him and others, Brownsville businessman Jim Tipton decided he wanted to do something to show gratitude to them.
Tipton, CEO of Tipton Auto Group, decided he would hold a contest in which all health care workers in Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties would have a chance to win a 2021 Hyundai Tuscon.
“It was a decision I made while I was in the hospital, Valley Regional Hospital, trying to figure out what I could do to repay these people for their hard work; working under combat conditions.”
Although the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals were dressed in full PPE or personal protective from head to toe and worked six days a week with 11 hour shifts at the hospital, “not one time while I was there in nine days did anybody lose their attitude and their desire and their will to make us all better, make me better, make me more comfortable and make me want to get up and get out of there,” Tipton said.
“I felt like that they had done everything that they could and they saved my life,” he said.
Tipton said he felt he had to do something to thank them for their work and decided to give away a car.
“I said wait a minute I’m in the car business and everybody here drives cars and that’s an easy way to thank somebody,” Tipton said.
Besides being diagnosed with COVID, Tipton spent nine days at the hospital fighting pneumonia. “I am one of the ones that was fortunate to come out of that. I never got on a respirator, but I was real close.”
Tipton tested positive for COVID-19 in June and when his oxygen level went below 70 percent, he was hospitalized at VRMC on July 3, which is around the time Valley experienced a surge in coronavirus cases. He was hospitalized for nine days before being released. He stayed on oxygen another three to four days at home before getting off of it.
Tipton said he knew there were people waiting to be hospitalized and because he was mobile enough to move around he was able to get released from the hospital and have his bed given to someone else.
He said he never imagined that he would get the coronavirus and is grateful he did not pass it onto his wife. “I’m 64 years-old and I am healthy and I just didn’t think that was going to happen.” He has no idea how he got it.
He again offered praise to the health care workers who continue to show up to work to help patients fight the virus.
“The conditions were unbelievable for everybody, literally Hazmat materials, masks and face guards, gloves, coverings on their feet, their legs and their hands, I can’t imagine working like that eleven hours a day, six days a week and still having a good attitude, I certainly would not,” Tipton said.
Health care workers can register for the contest at www.tiptonautogroup.com The deadline to register is Dec. 14 and the drawing is scheduled for Dec. 23.
Tipton said all entries will be placed inside a barrel and someone either from Tipton Auto Group or VRMC will draw the winning number from the barrel.
Besides winning a car, the chosen winner will also receive $1,000 worth of gasoline. Tipton is also trying to find an insurance company that will provide car insurance free of charge to the winner.
“This will truly be a Christmas present for somebody. Come get your car and drive it for free for a year,” he added.
Those registering for the contest must be 18 years or older, have a valid Texas driver’s license and must show proof they work as a health care provider.