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When longtime Foley, Ala., resident Charlene Anderson was turning 100, the group naturally needed to have fun. Her daughter, Vicki Roberson, together with members of the Foley United Methodist Church, the place Anderson has been a member for 25 years, started planning an elaborate celebration for the soon-to-be-centenarian.
Sadly, with the coronavirus outbreak, plans have been dashed and the celebration was placed on maintain… till Vicki’s son Terry and his spouse Miriam got here up with an concept.
“My two sons couldn’t stand for her birthday to go by without anything,” Vicki mentioned in an interview with Fox Information. “Terry said, ‘Hey, let’s see if we can organize a car parade.’”
With solely 4 days earlier than Anderson’s birthday on April 2, Vicki and her boys bought began organizing a special sort of celebration – all whereas preserving it a secret from Anderson.
“I think she thought I had the virus with how many times I had to leave the room to take phone calls or send messages,” Vicki mentioned with fun.
“We sent out emails to people. I had three other ladies at church help send text messages out to let people know what Terry came up with,” Vicki mentioned.
Pals rapidly bought on board, together with resident and household buddy Ed Allison, who informed Fox Information how the occasion got here collectively.
“We have been blown away. I don’t know what number of vehicles, however somebody mentioned they counted 50.”
“All people met at this huge car parking zone. Everybody adorned vehicles and only a few of us who have been directing visitors have been allowed to get out of our vehicles,” he mentioned.
“The Foley Police were contacted to help, and they put out rules that no one can get out of their cars. The Fire Department also helped block off roads,” Allison mentioned of the group’s involvement for the parade, which round 100 individuals ended up taking part in.
Vicki mentioned Anderson did not suspect a factor, both — at the least till a police cruiser drove by, main the best way for the parade.
“We’ve been going outside and sitting for 30 minutes around 5:30 or 6 p.m.. So the day of the parade, I told her the kids are going to come by and sing happy birthday — let’s get dressed up this time,” Vicki explained. “So we were outside and sat there and visited, and the ladies from church showed up ahead of time to set up their lawn chairs — six feet away,” she mentioned.
Then got here the police cruiser.
“She had no clue,” Vici said. “She was like, ‘What’s happening?’ Big surprise. She was totally shocked.”
And the way was the shock acquired?
“It was terrific,” Anderson informed Fox Information in a cellphone interview.
“It was so special, and gives her something to remember,” Vicki added.
“That’s for positive,” Anderson confirmed.
Anderson admitted “the lighting wasn’t so good,” making it exhausting to see a few of the individuals of their vehicles, however she was nonetheless in a position to “recognize the voices” from these wishing her a contented birthday as they drove by.
Vicki was shocked herself by the sheer quantity of people that turned out.
“We were blown away. I don’t know how many cars, but someone said they counted 50,” Vicki informed Fox Information.
“[My mom] kept saying, ‘Where are they all coming from?’” Vicki laughed. “She’s well-liked in the community.”
However the automobile parade was not the one approach Anderson was feted throughout quarantine.
“The whole day yesterday was phone calls. And we must have gotten 100 cards this week,” Vicki mentioned.
Neighbors, in addition to family and friends members, have been clearly completely satisfied to be a part of the celebration, too.
“I think the thing from the community – which is just a pretty small, traditional town – is that everyone was supportive. The police were supportive. The fire department was supportive. The church that she attends [was supportive],” Ed Allison mentioned. “She’s a fairly particular girl.”