In the face of furloughs and layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt Keene, a manager at Applebee's, worked diligently to put food on the table for his employees and those in the University Heights community fed. Matt led his team, kept a positive attitude and was instrumental in bringing back his staff as soon as possible. He also put together meals for local police officers, firefighters and paramedics, free of charge. As his co-worker, Joe, wrote in his nomination essay, Matt has "a heart big enough to hold the entire empire of the world."
As a winner of the Browns' Hats Off To Our Heroes Gameday Experience, Keene received two custom jerseys and a number of other Browns merchandise items to create a festive, in-home experience for Sunday's game against the Washington Football Team. Sugardale also provided a hot dog themed prize pack.
In April, the Browns proudly launched the "Hats Off to Our Heroes" Fund — an extension of the team's celebration of national heroes during all Browns home games — to support those who are valiantly serving as role models in the face of significant adversity due to COVID-19. The "Hats off to Our Heroes" Fund has focused on aiding health care professionals, first responders, educational professionals and other groups who are pivotal in our community year-round and are valiantly persisting as role models in the face of significant adversity. The "Hats Off toOur Heroes" Honor Row program, which will continue in 2020 and beyond, was created following the 9/11 tragedy to salute service members and first responders in the local community.