Contributed photo.Three-alarm birthday parade for Mountain boy posted on 06/01/2020
When Welches resident Gideon Kasier joined his mother in
their front yard on his seventh birthday on May 1, he expected the somewhat
disappointing chore of pulling weeds to await him.
With the community under strict stay-at-home orders to
prevent the spread of Covid-19, Gideon’s birthday was shaping up to be a quiet
day, without the excitement of friends or a festive party.
The Kasier’s were tending to their yard when their task was
interrupted by a rush of sirens and flashing lights as local emergency response
vehicles from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), the Hoodland Fire
Department and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) began parading down the family’s
Gideon watched with excitement as the procession, led by a
patrol car with a sign in the passenger window that stated, “Happy Birthday,”
slowly passed his home. Members of all three departments waved and a Hoodland
Fire Department truck stopped to lower the boy a gift bag. Gideon was excited
to see the parade included the CCSO’s K9 officer, Grimm, his personal favorite.
“I got my son pretty good. He was not expecting it,” his
mother, Hannah Korpela, said about the surprise parade.
“Gideon’s been pretty isolated because he hasn’t been able
to see his classmates,” she said, explaining the difficulty of celebrating a
young child’s birthday while social distancing.
Korpela contacted the CCSO to inquire about arranging a
parade to make Gideon’s birthday special despite the restrictions of the
quarantine after seeing the department post a similar surprise birthday parade
on their Instagram page.
“I got an overwhelming response from the sheriff’s office
almost immediately,” Korpela said.
CCSO representative Sergeant Marcus Mendoza stated the
department was approached the first weekend of the stay-at-home order to
participate in a socially distanced celebration for another child’s birthday in
the county who was isolated due to the restrictions on group gatherings.
“It hit home. It made me think how (the quarantine) impacts
kids. At a young age a birthday is one of the biggest days of their year,”
Mendoza said. “We’ve been really trying to get out there and help them
The Clackamas sheriff’s office has participated in more than
20 similar surprise parades for county children during the stay-at-home
restrictions. They have been joined by other county service providers,
including local fire and police departments, the USFS and American Medical
Response (AMR) representatives.
“We were all jazzed about doing it,” said Hoodland Fire
Department’s temporary Deputy Chief Scott Kline about being part of Gideon’s
birthday celebration. “Everyone working the shift (the birthday) was on was
excited to participate.”
Mendoza explained that all participating departments first
priority continues to be responding to calls and emergencies, but that the
departments have been able to make at least an appearance close to the date and
time of most parade requests. He added the CCSO is limiting the appearances to
celebrations for children only.
“It’s a way to show some support for the community and the
kids… to show them that their birthday is important,” said Mendoza.
“We’ve been trying to help with public outreach while keeping
the department safe,” Klein added.
Korpela stated that Gideon was so impressed by the
unexpected visit that he is working on a surprise of his own – thank you cards
for those that participated.
“Gideon still talks about it. He thinks it was the best birthday.”
Korpela said. “Now my youngest is like, ‘What’s going to happen for my
All departments that participated in the surprise parades
emphasized that their first priority continues to be responding to calls.
Further information or inquiries are requested to be addressed only by email to
the CCSO at email@example.com.
By Ben Simpson/MT