Friends drove in front of Cooper’s home on Sitka Street in Courtenay to wish him a happy birthday - from a safe distance. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Friends give Vancouver Island veteran a drive-by 99th birthday greeting

Jim Cooper of Courtenay is one of a couple of Second World War veterans in the community

You could call it a drive-by party.

Friends gathered in the parking lot of the Chances Casino in Courtenay Friday afternoon, with at least 50 vehicles in the motorcade, some adorned in balloons, signs or flags wishing Jim Cooper a happy 99th birthday. Then they made their way toward his house where he was sitting well back in his driveway, waving back to those that drove by.

“Happy birthday, young fella,” one of them said while passing by.

As one of only a couple of Second World War veterans left in the community, Cooper was celebrating the milestone birthday in a way that still took current physical distancing guidelines into account. He thought it was going to be a quiet day, especially in light of distancing measures, so he was not expecting the long line of admirers driving past the house on Sitka Street.

“That was awesome,” he said. “I couldn’t have wished for a better 99th birthday.”

All he was told by daughter Sharon Johnston, a member of the ladies’ auxiliary for the Comox Legion Branch 160, was that he might want to be outside as there might be something happening.

Johnston credits past president of the Comox Legion John Paulin and his wife for coming up with the idea and putting out the word on social media to get friends to come send birthday greetings to her dad from a safe distance.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley organizations and individuals giving back to the community

For several minutes, the line of vehicles drove up and down the block, while other people in the Courtenay neighbourhood were out on their lines to applaud and cheer. One neighbour even made a cut-out “99” sign to wave at passersby.

It was short and sweet, and Cooper said he was looking forward to a birthday dinner that evening cooked by his daughter, starting with the shrimp cocktail, his choice for a first course.

This feel-good story is part of the #WereInThisTogether campaign by Black Press Media. Have an uplifting story that you think would bring joy to readers? Email your story, photos and videos to wereinthistogether@blackpress.ca.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

#wereinthistogetherCoronavirusMilitary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Many vehicles were dressed up with signs or other paraphernalia. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Courtenay RCAF veteran Jim Cooper and his daughter, Sharon Johnston, wave to friends during a birthday motorcade celebrating Cooper’s 99th birthday. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t party in a pandemic

Why are people holding parties when they know it is a health risk, asks letter writer

Stilwell begins election race in Parksville-Qualicum

B.C. Liberals incumbent up for re-election as MLA

Best of the City: Breathe easy

Modo Yoga wins Best Yoga Studio category during challenging time for health and wellness businesses

Best of the City: How sweet it is

Burnt Honey Dessert Company serves up city’s favourite desserts

Best of the City: How sweet it is

Burnt Honey Dessert Company serves up city’s favourite desserts

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Best of the City: Greek taverna takes top spot

Asteras in the Old City Quarter chosen Nanaimo’s Best Restaurant Overall

Nanaimo parents say elementary schools aren’t appropriate voting stations in a pandemic

Elections B.C. says site of polling stations not yet determined, working with Dr. Henry’s office

MLA in a pandemic, Nanaimo’s Malcolmson looking to be part of B.C.’s recovery

Sheila Malcolmson running for re-election in Nanaimo riding

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read