MCSO drives away birthday blues
Many things have changed for children both locally and throughout the nation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and birthday celebrations are not untouched. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has recently worked with local parents to help drive away birthday blues.
More than five children in Morgan County were able to celebrate their birthdays with drive-by parades featuring the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. Mike Swafford, public information officer with MCSO, said the birthday parades were inspired by what other law enforcement agencies are doing throughout the nation.
“Other places have done them; they have been on the internet and things like that,” Swafford said. “Right now COVID-19 is affecting a lot, but to put a damper on somebody’s birthday is pretty sad. So we were happy to jump in and share some excitement and bring some smiles where we could.”
Swafford said the MCSO tried to send out three or four deputies with lights and sirens for each child to enjoy in a mini birthday parade. Although a lot of variables can play into deputy availability, Swafford said the MCSO wants to make each child’s birthday memorable, if possible.
“It depends on the shift that’s working and what’s happening – whether there are a lot of calls going on across the county,” Swafford said. When the deputies are able to parade, “we have anywhere from three to four cars. We do a mini parade with lights and sirens. We just try to bring some excitement and let the kid know that, hey, we know this is probably not the party you wanted, but someone is thinking of you.”
By using proper sanitizing and practicing social distancing, some children even got to sit in the driver seat of a patrol car and take pictures.
Although it is not a typical birthday party, Swafford said the children have been excited and made lasting memories.
Although birthday parades are not typically included in the MCSO’s regular duties, Swafford said the drive-by parades are just another way the office is trying to step up and serve the community during the pandemic.
“It’s not something we are seeking out, but we will continue to do what we can where we can. That has kind of been our philosophy throughout this all,” Swafford said. “As things have changed, and as we are adjusting to new developments, we continue to look at ways to fill gaps. Whether it’s delivering meals to seniors or doing parades, that is something we are able to do, and it allows us different ways to serve.”