Homegrown Hero Tara

Meet Our Homegrown Hero, Tara Wagner

In the last months, Tara Wagner, our Homegrown Hero, has experienced the importance of teamwork, “being part of a team is so vital during this time, and I admire my colleagues so much,” she says. 

Wagner is a Labor and Delivery Nurse at Capital Health Medical Center - Hopewell, and she knew that she wanted to pursue this career since she was a little girl. 

“Being a Labor and Delivery Nurse is all I could picture myself doing,” said Wagner via email.  “I’ve known I wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl but doing my maternity rotation in Nursing School was such an incredible experience. Helping women bring their babies into the world is such a rewarding thing to go through with them. We are their advocates, and we help them stay strong when they think they can’t anymore. It’s such a gratifying feeling when they have their baby and have you to thank for helping them.”

The pandemic has changed her routine because nowadays she has to wear more protective gear and take on different steps when she treats patients. 

“Some things have stayed the same, but so much has also changed. We wear surgical masks and scrub caps for our entire shift now, and we are also required to wear N95 masks for certain procedures such as epidural placements and while our patient is pushing (which can take hours),” she said. “We have to do the COVID nasal swab on every admission we get, and if they test positive, they are moved to our COVID unit and we must go with them now that we are exposed. While back in the COVID unit, we do all of our normal duties as a labor nurse, but with our N95 constantly on along with gowns, face shields, and numerous other pieces of PPE. 

“We don’t do this anymore, but for a while when we came to work we had to have our temperatures taken, and if we had a fever, we were sent home to quarantine. We are required to wear our masks while entering and exiting the hospital. We have to use the masks we are given for days at a time before receiving new ones. We receive daily updates about our COVID numbers throughout the hospital, and while they have drastically decreased, this is far from over.”

Six years ago, her boyfriend, Matthew Brown, who’s a member of the Viking Army, took her to her first Red Bulls game. 

“I became a Red Bulls fan because of my boyfriend, Matthew Brown, who has been attending games with his father since he was little,” said Wagner. “He is a member of the Viking Army and sits front row directly behind the goal, so he took me to my first game early on in our relationship. I had never experienced anything like it, and I was instantly a soccer fan after watching Luis Robles defend our goal fearlessly. Now six years later we go to games together (when I’m not working) and scream our chants and support our boys in red.”

Wagner’s favorite player is Tim Parker, and she already had the opportunity to talk to him and get his autograph. 

“Once Tim Parker joined the team he instantly became my favorite player,” she said. “I now own three of his jerseys (one autographed) and consider myself a huge fan.”

But not only that, Wagner and her boyfriend adopted a kitten and decided to name him Parker. Wagner was able to tell the story to the Red Bulls’ no. 26. 

“Matt and I decided we wanted to adopt a kitten, and our boy actually came to us from other Red Bulls’ supporters, who had a stray have babies on their balcony. We picked out a little orange one: red fur just like Tim’s (and my own) red hair,” said Wagner. “We knew we had to name him Parker because of mommy’s favorite player. We took pictures of him with one of my Parker jerseys and brought them with us, so Tim could sign them, and he thought it was so awesome that we named our cat after him. He was such a down to earth, nice guy and it was a pleasure to get to finally meet him.”

For Wagner, the last months have taught her a lot, but now she looks forward to the day she can be back in the arena supporting our club. 

“[This time period we’re living] has taught me that no one is invincible. There are so many groups of people that this affects and no one is safe from it,” she concluded. “Our moms typically come in to labor without any symptoms, so we’d have no idea they were positive without testing them, therefore unknowingly being exposed and spreading exposure as well. It has also taught me that my coworkers are incredibly resilient and our teamwork is what is helping us survive. Being part of a team is so vital during this time, and I admire my colleagues so much.”