Posted by Steven Boe and Christie Scheffer on May 11, 2020
Click on Read more... below for the heartwarming back story!
A very special military family, the Coopers came to our attention through Facebook! The Cooper family relocated here from Hawaii, when Dad Toney Cooper was transferred to this area with the Navy. Sons Rhydian and Gabriel were soon to celebrate their 5th and 11th birthdays, and Mom Samantha hoped friends would come by for a drive-by birthday parade past their bus stop on May 9th.
The Rotary Club of Silverdale contacted the Mom and asked if they could participate and perhaps send Lucky, our Duck Race mascot. Well, once we announced this opportunity to help make a special memory for an awesome family to the Rotary Club, the event took on a life of its own!
So many folks wanted to participate that we relocated the parade to the Seabeck Conference Grounds in order to have space to line up and travel safely while respecting social distancing. Chuck Kraining, Executive Director of the Conference grounds said, “Our goal was to provide a safe space for people to celebrate these little boys’ birthdays, while respecting COVID-19 guidelines.”  It all came together perfectly on a bright sunny Saturday morning.  Members of the Silverdale Rotary Club helped organize folks as they began to arrive at 9:15 am to line up for the parade to begin at 10:30 am.
Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue sent three engines (as Rhydian loved fire engines and was dressed as a fire fighter himself that morning)!
The Kitsap Mustang Club and Olympic Vintage Auto Club brought a large number of celebrators, and members from the Silverdale and East Bremerton Rotary Club joined in along with community members and friends of the family. There was even a small group of inflated dinosaurs and unicorns!
Thank you to Chuck Kraining for hosting and providing a safe space, members of Rotary Club of Silverdale:
Matej Kunák and Áron Skultéty for wearing the mascot outfits, Nancy Whitaker (who forwarded the idea!) and watched over the family, Bob Cassis for directing traffic, Peggy Templeton, Jennifer Strong, Erin Shannon, Elayne Burton, CKFR Chief John Oliver for recruiting the CKFR support, Rich Arper and East Bremerton Rotary member Ron Muhleman for organizing the car clubs, Rick Soper and Steven Boe for their media expertise, Kids of Action Reyce Scheffer-Losey for decorating, and President Christie Scheffer for organizing. And, all the wonderful friends and community members who came out in support!
We received a heart felt thank you from the family and even the grandparents in the UK sent along a thank you! Grandpa Steve Street said. “Just a real big Thank you from the boys’ grandparents here in the UK. We miss the Cooper family so much, to see them having such a great birthday made us smile. Such an amazing thing to have arranged, you are wonderful. ❤”
Silverdale Rotary President Christie Scheffer said “We set out to make a wonderful memory and celebration for a special family and ended up with everyone being blessed with the joy of giving instead! We all went home with a smile and full hearts!” Happy Birthday Rhydian and Gabriel!