ENFIELD, CT (WFSB) - The Liberty Bank Surprise Squad stopped in Enfield to thank a local educator who made miracles every day during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the height of the pandemic, town leaders realized teachers and government workers had no one to watch their kids.
"Employees need care. They need to have their kids somewhere, doing their remote learning, while teachers were trying to teach remotely," Claire Hall, the executive director of Educational Resources for Children, or ERFC, tells us.
Claire was tasked with coming up with a solution to this massive challenge, but her staff says she never wavered.
"There was no time questioning, 'Could we do it?'. It’s what did she need to get for us to get it done," Ricardo Lawrence of ERFC stated.
Hall, who the kids call Ms. Claire, created a distance learning center inside the old Enfield High School, which had sat virtually vacant.
"Parents just want to make sure they were in a safe environment, that they were getting their work done, and that they could get to work on time," says Hall.
And incredibly, the program has been a smashing success.
More than thirty staffers teach up to 100 kids every week day.
Moms and dads say it's been a life saver.
"It was definitely a blessing that they came up with something like this to help the parents," local parent Danielle Ragion said.
And just as importantly, the kids we spoke with seem to love the program too for all kinds of reasons.
"I think they did great and they give us very a lot of support on our work and it helps us," local student Storm Carrillo explained.
"I love going to school, because I love the recess," local student Logan Jones says.
Recess is tough to top, but students seem to love Ms. Claire just as much.
"She’s really nice," stated local student Haley Page.
"She’s the best," local student Triton Torres stated.
And because she's the best, someone tipped off the Liberty Bank Surprise Squad.
Ms. Claire thought the Liberty Bank Surprise Squad was there to do a story about the distance learning center, but they called some of the kids over to help surprise her with $500 worth of Visa gift cards as a way to say thank you for everything she does and continues to do every day.
Of course, Ms. Claire, who is set to retire in the Fall, refused to take any credit.
"Without the incredible staff, you could never have all of this and that’s really where the thank you has to come from for sure," said Hall.
But her team insists Ms. Claire is not just a leader.
After what she pulled off, she's a legend.
"She’s a big part of this program. She’ll never be forgotten and she’s built it to where it is," Tony Romano of ERFC added.