For nearly 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of Zion, Illinois were looking for access to a free and convenient COVID testing location. Complaints surrounding the length of time that the community needed to travel to receive a test began circulating among community members, making its way to 7-Eleven Franchise Owner Saeed Rahman.
Saeed took action by arranging for a free COVID testing center for all local residents, including those without insurance.
Saeed’s idea was simple, yet it required coordination with many parties throughout the city, such as City of Zion representatives and the Zion Police Department. Together, they selected a local park and set up a heated tent facility. O’Hare Clinical Laboratory Services, a licensed and registered clinical laboratory, would oversee administering the tests, and local community group Our Shining Stars Foundation would provide additional execution support.
On Dec. 7, 2020, Saeed’s idea came to life, and residents of Zion could finally receive a local COVID test at no cost.
In the months since Zion’s COVID testing center opened, more than 5,000 residents have been tested – all of whom received a free bottle of hand sanitizer and a mask, courtesy of Saeed and his 7-Eleven store in Zion. Residents often stop by or call the store just to say thank you, while others share their experience and gratitude on social media. Saeed’s idea became a true community initiative developed by residents for residents.
“Saeed’s efforts gave the community a sense of self-sufficiency to have their own program that is easy, convenient and free,” said 7-Eleven Field Consultant Brent Schultz.
This display of leadership and perseverance speaks volumes about who Saeed is as a person and Franchise Owner. Thank you to Saeed for taking action and providing a much-needed service to the Zion community. For that reason, and many others, we are proud to recognize Saeed as a 7-Eleven Hero.