Having a 6th birthday party during the COVID-19 pandemic has some pretty extreme limits.
There’s no BBQs in the park, or friends coming over for a big party, but mostly it’s a quiet celebration at home with only a few people.
It’s not exactly what most 6-year-olds have in mind.
That’s where the Everett Fire Department came in on Saturday afternoon, April 11, brightening up the day of Anthony Fernandes on his 6th birthday.
“Everything happened so fast,” said Anthony’s mother, Nayara Fernandes. “My sister-in-law told me she was going to do some kind of surprise for Anthony on his birthday. She told me Saturday she was going to call the Fire Department and ask if they could come over and drive by in the fire trucks for his birthday because he loves fire trucks. She called and I sent a message and they called back and said they would be over in 30 minutes. I was getting ready and then I heard that and told him we had to go out by the door for a surprise. He kept asking me what was going to happen.”
A few minutes later, Everett Fire came rolling down the street under the direction of Capt. Steve Shembri, with Firefighter Adam Ragucci and Private Kevin Devanna – along with the rest of the crew.
It was magical for the little boy.
“They came down the street and put on the lights and sirens and everything,” said Fernandes. “One of the firefighters come over and gave him a hat and Everett Fire patch. Anthony loves to go to school, and he always asks if we are going to have to stay home forever. I always tell him we won’t be here forever, but I don’t know how long either. Saturday was his birthday and I didn’t know what we could do. We couldn’t go anywhere. So my sister-in-law had this idea.”
Chief Tony Carli said he got the message on Facebook from the family on Saturday asking if the fire trucks could swing by the street for Anthony’s birthday because they were in the house and wanted something special.
“I contacted the guys at the Ferry Street Station and they were more than excited and happy to do it,” said the chief. “They guys didn’t miss a beat and they brought him a hat and a fire patch too. They brought both pieces of apparatus. Capt. Shembri really went above and beyond.
“We’re happy to accommodate because it means so much to a little boy’s life on his birthday,” continued the chief. “We appreciate doing it because we’re part of the community.”
Little Anthony now has his hat and patch placed carefully on the dresser in his room, his mother said, and it has become very special to him.
In unprecedented times, birthdays aren’t the same, but last Saturday, Anthony Fernandes had one of the best birthdays of his six long years despite the lockdown.
“My husband and I and our family just want to say thank you very much because Anthony was so happy,” she said. “It was the best birthday he ever had I think.”