7 fire departments bringing birthday joy to kids stuck at home
With birthday parties canceled due to COVID-19, firefighters across the country have stepped up to help families celebrate
By Laura French
With schools closed, gatherings banned and millions of Americans ordered to stay at home, many children are spending their birthdays in isolation as families do their part to help flatten the curve.
But thanks to fire departments across the country, kids don’t have to miss out on celebrating their special day in a big way. Here are seven examples of fire departments bringing birthday joy to their communities during the pandemic.
1. Phoenix (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department
The Phoenix Volunteer Fire Department in Hollidaysburg, Pa. is making up for canceled birthday parties by lighting up the street with sirens. On Friday, the department surprised 7-year-old Presley with a parade of apparatus and a “Happy Birthday” banner.
2. Coyne Center (Ill.) Fire Protection and EMS District
The Coyne Center Fire Protection and EMS District in Milan, Ill. brought both their ambulances and fire trucks to help Harper celebrate her 4th birthday. The district says personnel will be singing “Happy Birthday” and letting kids take pictures with their apparatus “to brighten their day a little in this time of isolation.”
3. LeClaire (Iowa) Fire Department
The LeClaire Fire Department in Iowa has thrown several birthday parties over the last week, with some help from Sparky the Fire Dog. After Iowa’s governor extended the state’s social distancing order to April 30, the department has promised to keep the celebrations going for as long as it is safe to do so.
4. Chelsea Area (Mich.) Fire Authority
The Chelsea Area Fire Authority had a three-in-one celebration with triplets Nic, Felipe and Mateus, who turned 9. The boys received fire helmets and stuffed bears as a birthday gift from the firefighters.
5. North Las Vegas (Nev.) Fire Department
The City of North Las Vegas Fire Department in Nevada and other first responder agencies threw a drive-by birthday party for 6-year-old Aprilyon, who is a cancer survivor. About 15 to 20 emergency vehicles participated, including a vintage fire truck, according to KSNV.
6. Cranford (N.J.) Fire Department
The Cranford Fire Department and Cranford Police Department teamed up to cheer up 5-year-old Finnegan after his birthday party was canceled. Finnegan’s mother said he loves police officers and that his brother, J.P., loves firefighters, according to TapIntoCranford. Both boys were dressed up like their respective heroes as they watched the parade of emergency vehicles drive by.
7. Clinton (Ark.) Fire Department
The Clinton Fire Department in Arkansas made 20-year-old Christian’s day by driving by his home in a fire truck to wish him a happy birthday. Christian, who has autism, loves fire trucks and was overjoyed by the surprise visit, according to THV11.
Bonus: Falfurrias Fire Department (Texas)
The Falfurrias Fire Department in Texas had a drive-by birthday celebration for retired Firefighter Noe “Chito” Rodriguez, who turned 90 last week.
“Unfortunately, due to the circumstances we weren’t able to get close to him, but we still found a way to make the best of his special day!” the department posted on Facebook. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIR! God bless!”