By Clark Judge.
Few children remember their fourth birthdays, but one Killingworth boy should have no trouble.
And if he forgets? No problem. His parents will be there to remind him.
Introducing James and Amanda Brackett, Killingworth residents fostering a child they’re trying to adopt. His name is Zion, and – thanks to James and Amanda — he celebrated his fourth birthday Wednesday morning in a brief and extraordinary manner.
With a parade.
Zion was the guest of honor as a caravan of trucks, police cars, unmarked vehicles and one ambulance drove by his Chittenden Road home. Lights flashed. Sirens blared. And Zion, cradled in the arms of Amanda Brackett, waved.
“It was awesome,” Amanda said. “He likes lights and sirens. And big trucks.”
The display is the latest in a string of community exercises demonstrating that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no shortage of kindness in Killingworth. For the past two months numerous persons within the town donated money, food, masks, protective equipment and, most important, their time to help others.
On this occasion it was the Killingworth Volunteer Fire Company that provided three vehicles, including a rescue truck; the Connecticut State Police that drove two cars and the Killingworth Ambulance Association that sent – what else? — its ambulance. Together they gave a child and his family a birthday present neither will forget.
“It was important for them,” said the KAA’s Lisa Anderson, who drove the association’s vehicle and was joined by EMT and board member Mary Robbenhaar-Fretz, “because it’s been a long year of growth for him, and they (his adoptive parents) wanted to do something special.”
So they did.
The idea began with Amanda Brackett, who heard of drive-by celebrations and wondered if she could get something similar for Zion. So she contacted Anderson, who is a friend, and asked her if an ambulance could be driven past her home. She not only agreed but reached out to the Fire Company to gauge its interest … and the next thing you know there’s a parade of vehicles on Chittenden.
And one happy child.
It’s the second time this month the KAA has done something like this. Two weeks ago it joined the KVFC for a neighborhood parade of vehicles that included drive-by thanks to the Rustic Barn and LaForesta, as well as another child’s birthday celebration.
“I would like to thank Chief (Richard) Bauer at the Fire Company and his crew for helping make the day special for Zion,” said Anderson. “These are a new type of requests we’re seeing, due to not being able to have ‘normal’ birthday celebrations. A lot of towns are doing it, and, yes, I would say it’s COVID- related. Parents are trying to make a special day special in these times.”
The Bracketts just succeeded.