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'Chainsaw nun' who helped cleanup after Hurricane Irma honored by Miami Heat

Sister Margaret Ann, who doggedly dismantled trees left in the wake of Hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida, got a surprise visit by the NBA team and a big reward.
/ Source: TODAY

Florida resident Sister Margaret Ann, who became a viral sensation when she used a chainsaw to clear debris after Hurricane Irma, received an unforgettable surprise during a high school pep rally this week. She was honored by none other than members of her favorite team, the Miami Heat.

It was the actual west Miami heat that led to her internet fame, after a Miami-Dade Police officer saw the nun, who is the principal of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School, taking apart trees that had fallen and were blocking roadways in the school's neighborhood. She was doing so dressed in her full black habit, in roughly 100-degree weather.

On Friday, Sister Margaret was surprised at the pep rally held at her school, which was set up for the honoring ceremony.

Though she became a source of inspiration across social media just in September, she was rewarded with real-life prizes for acts of service that more directly served her neighbors and surrounding community.

“Sister Margaret Ann and her staff preach to their students the value of giving back and she showed it," the Miami Heat wrote in a news release.

The NBA team, along with watchmaker Tissot, thanked her for her good deeds with a $5,000 check and a timepiece as a gift, along with tickets to a Heat game.

"All I wanted to do is clear the road and make it safer for other people. I had no idea - I still don't understand why it went so viral," she told NBC Miami on Friday.

Retired NBA player Shane Battier, who works in analytics for the Heat, said the pep rally was staged as a ruse to honor her work after Irma.

"It was awesome, how could you not be inspired by seeing a sister with a chainsaw clearing the street!" Battier said.

For her part, the principal said she was totally caught off guard. "I knew something was up but I had no idea the Miami Heat was going to do this for us."

It's a special bonus for her, a self-confessed basketball junkie. "I love basketball, I love it with a passion. So to be able to see a Miami Heat game? I'll be there," she said.