Local police department brings joy to children

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WEST PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A typical children’s birthday party is filled with plenty of kids, family and friends. But celebrations like that are on hold because of the coronavirus crisis. Some local first responders are trying to help fill the void.

In front of her family’s West Pittston home, Hailey Goodlavage couldn’t believe what she was hearing and seeing.

“Happy birthday, from the West Pittston Police Department.”

For her seventh birthday, a police car, firetrucks and an ambulance made for a sort of birthday parade. And that made her feel…

“Good,” Hailey said.

During these days of social distancing and stay at home orders, good isn’t what many of us may be feeling.

“Everybody is cooped up in their house with the COVID-19 and Chief Turner decided we do something nice for the children and do a little drive by their house you know just to lift their spirits up,” Officer Robert Shupp said.

Police posted about their party patrol on their Facebook page and several families immediately sent messages. 7-year-old Nora Gilligan got the birthday brigade treatment in front of her home. And how did it make her feel? Just look at her expression. Priceless.

Some of the parties originally scheduled included a skating party, a glow party and for Nora, an emoji-themed party. But even though those parties ended up being scrapped, having responders come out like this makes it special in an extra special way.

Back at Hailey’s home, Joseph and Samantha Goodlavage tried to put it into words.

“It’s amazing. That they would go out of their way for these kids,” Joseph Goodlavage, Hailey’s father, said.

“Go above and beyond to make anybody feel special just with everything that’s happening,” Samantha Goodlavage, Hailey’s mother, said.

It’s the same sentiment at 3-year-old birthday girl Aubrianna Holena’s house.

“She actually woke me up with her outfit on and she was like where are we going today because she doesn’t understand about the coronavirus that we can’t leave. So this means a lot to me,” Nicole Holena, Aubrianna’s mother, said.

And a lot to the people who make up this party patrol.

“It means the world to me. It means the world to me. I have kids. I have grandkids so it hits me home here,” Officer Shupp said.

West Pittston Police Department is taking birthday patrol requests for any borough child celebrating their special day during the coronavirus. Click here for more information.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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