Firefighter helps celebrate local kids’ birthday with special parade (with video) |

Firefighter helps celebrate local kids’ birthday with special parade (with video)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Celebrating birthdays is yet another tradition that has been forced to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For now, the days of gathering with friends and family are over — unless it’s done virtually, of course — so parents have been left to find alternatives to making memories on these special days.

One event now growing in popularity around the nation is a birthday parade.

Local parent Alethea Stone saw a friend had recently organized a drive-by birthday parade for her young daughter, with the leader of the parade being a local fire truck with lights flashing and horns blaring.

So Stone, who works as a labor and delivery nurse in Steamboat Springs, reached out to a firefighter she knew, Marnie Smith with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, and pitched her the idea to see if it was possible for her twin boys, who were turning 5 years old.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Smith drove one of the station’s firetrucks through Stone’s neighborhood much to the surprise of the birthday boys who watched from their home’s front lawn.

“The boys were really excited about the ‘ginormous and super loud firetruck’ that came to the party and have been telling all our family about it over Zoom calls,” Stone said.

Following behind the truck was a procession of friends and family members, safely in their vehicles. They waved signs, honked horns and sang “Happy Birthday.”

Having the firetruck lead the procession was extra special, made possible by Smith, who used her day off from work and took time away from her own family to help with the surprise. Stone learned there were plans for Smith to do the same for other children’s birthdays later that day, too.

“We are all really blessed to live in such a tight knit and giving community where people want to lift each other up in these uncertain and strange times for our kids,” Stone said. “I think more parents could use ideas about how to make celebrations feel less isolating right now.”

Stone said with the success of this year’s birthday celebration, she’s a bit worried that she won’t be able to top it in future years.

To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email

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