HOUSTON -- With the big game just around the corner, everyone is looking for their ticket to see the unforgettable matchup in Houston. To help honor those that make our city one of the best medical centers in the world, Direct Energy gifted five Texas Children’s Hospital nurses and a guest tickets to the big event.

“This is a lot of money in my hands,” gushed Evelyn Barren as she held her pair of Super Bowl 51 tickets. “I need a little lockbox right now. It’s just the icing on the cake.”

The nurses were selected by Texas Children’s Hospital to be the recipients of the hospital’s 2016 Nursing Excellence Awards. Direct Energy took the commendation one step further by tracking down tickets to Super Bowl 51.

“These guys are truly excellent,” said Manu Asthana. The President of Direct Energy’s Home Business Department handed out 10 tickets to the five nurses during a pep rally at Texas Children’s Hospital. “We wanted to say thank you. It was the best part of my week.”

Barren says the pediatric patients she cares for in TCH’s Intensive Care Unit are tougher than the strongest NFL athletes. “I mean, to be honest, a kid has nothing in them but to fight. The things that some of these kids have gone through and came out of, these big, hefty dudes, they would be crying every day.”

• Staff Nurse of the Year – Leah Garza BSN, RN, CPHON (Staff Nurse, Texas Children’s Cancer Center)

• Rookie of the Year – Amy Aaronson BSN, RN, CCRN (Staff Nurse, Texas Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit)

• Preceptor of the Year – Evelyn Barren BSN, RN (Staff Nurse, Texas Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit)

• Certified Nurse of the Year – Christopher Sturrock BSN, RN, CPN (Staff Nurse, Texas Children’s Heart Center – Cardiology)

• Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year – Colleen Brand PhD, APRN, NNP-BC