Good Neighbors

Neighbors Hold Parade For Woman's 98th Birthday

Social distancing didn't stop one woman from getting the celebration she deserved, as family and neighbors joined to make it a day to remember!

Every birthday is special, but turning 98 certainly calls for celebration. So when social distancing threatened to interfere with the festivities for Hilary House, one social media post changed everything!

Hilary's daughter Claudia House took to Facebook with an idea to give her mother an extra special celebration, even thought she can't leave her home in Moon Township, west of Pittsburgh.

Claudia and Hilary stand outside their home as the parade passes by.

"It actually came about from a friend of hers," said Claudia. "She usually plays cards on Friday afternoon and her friend Agnus said 'what if we get the card players to drive by and wave to her for her birthday.' And I thought why don't I put it on Facebook and some of her former students would see it and they would join the parade. And it blew up!"

Word of the birthday parade spread fast! Claudia received messages from neighbors nearby and even strangers from as far as the West Coast. The turn out was more than she could have imagined.

Kids decorated their bikes in honor of Hilary!

Friends and neighbors lined the streets in their cars. They decorated their vehicles with balloons, streamers, and signs illustrating well wishes for Hilary.

"We've been friends for so long and I wouldn't miss it for anything. It was really wonderful to be here and see all the people come. Really it makes me cry when I think about because everybody loved her," said Hillary's close friend Rosemarie Lavelle

Hilary is a pillar in her community having served over 40 years as an educator, 20 of them in Moon Township.

"She taught forever at the Allard school. [She] taught third grade and I think that's the thing she misses most the kids. She still sees some of them on Halloween. They've grown up now. But that was her favorite thing, the kids," said Claudia.

Hilary poses with her neighbor Brooke!

The bonds built with people in the community was evident in the outpouring of love Hilary received. Many left behind beautiful artwork, cards, signs, and little gifts. No one was more touched than Hilary herself.

"I love you all and thank you so much much. It's more than I ever expected!"

"I could never thank anybody enough. I hope I called most people out by name but some of them I may not have recognized and some I may have been trying to explain to her and I apologize if I missed anybody. But it was just wow!" said Claudia.

Cars pass by with Happy Birthday signage for Hilary!Claudia House Facebook page.

At a time when all our spirits could use a little lifting, this community showed that even from a distance, unity and love is always an option!

How can you start something good?

Now is the time to get creative when it comes to helping others celebrate big life milestones during a time of social distancing.

What about using Facetime or another video conferencing service to allow family and friends sing Happy Birthday to someone and share a virtual blowing out of candles, even a virtual gift opening?

Or take a page from the friends who held a social-distancing wedding shower for the bride-to-be -- in a parking lot (click here to read our story).

With Mother's Day, graduations and Father's Day coming up, be thinking about what you can do to make the day extra special. It won't be what they expected it would be, but it will definitely be a day to remember!

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