ABERDEEN – Upon learning that children’s birthday parties are being cancelled during the coronavirus outbreak, members of the Aberdeen Township Police Department have responded in a way that brings a smile to a youngster’s face.
Sgt. Craig Hausmann, who coordinates the Aberdeen Township Neighborhood Watch, said Adrea Geniton, the resident liaison to the group, noticed that parents were posting messages on social media about their children’s missed birthday parties during this time of social distancing.
“[Geniton] presented the idea of having the police drive by a child’s house to see if we would be willing and able to assist these families,” Hausmann said.
“As a department, we have always been community oriented, so we were more than happy to help children have a little bit of normalcy and know their birthday was not forgotten.
“We all have families and these are unprecedented times for children, so if there is something we can do to help them celebrate their special day, we are more than happy to do so,” the sergeant said.
“When a member of the police department arrives at the home, we will turn on the vehicle’s siren to alert the family we have arrived,” he said. “When the birthday child walks outside, we will play ‘Happy Birthday’ over the vehicle’s public address system.
“Keeping in mind the importance of social distancing, we will not walk into the residence during these visits. We will do our best to come to wish a child happy birthday on the day requested, but calls for service take precedence.
“Families may want to reserve telling their child about the plan for us to drive by and allow for the event to be a surprise, just in case we are called for an emergent matter and are not able to come as planned.
“As a department, we are going to do everything we can to accommodate the families in our community and help their children have something to smile about during a very tough period of time,” Hausmann said.
Resident Joelyn Rios said she asked the police department to make a drive-by visit to wish her daughter, Madison, who was turning 10 on April 2, a happy birthday.
“I was speaking with Madison’s teacher … about how sad Madison was about being quarantined on her birthday. Her teacher told me about how the (police department) was doing a drive-by to the homes of kids who had birthdays during this time.
“This was on April 1, Madison’s birthday is April 2. I thought, ‘I know it’s short timing, but let me give it a try.’ Well, Sgt. Hausmann made it happen. I could never thank him enough for arranging this.