St. John Valley

Madawaska boy celebrates birthday with private parade

MADAWASKA, Maine — Sirens heard blaring down Riverview Street in Madawaska signaled the beginning of a special birthday parade for 6-year-old Blake Berube on Thursday. 

 

Community members and emergency response personnel drove by the boy’s house to give a birthday wave and blast of their horns and sirens.

While northern Maine continues to stay in during Gov. Janet Mills’ “Stay Healthy at Home” mandate, children continue to age and potentially miss important milestones in their childhoods. Birthdays are one of these milestones that children are missing out on, as they are unable to spend time with their friends.

To combat this sadness, Blake’s mother Shannon Berube and her friend thought up an idea to help brighten the spirits of the young boy. 

“I’ve never done a party for his friends,” Shannon said. “Always did just family. This year was going to be a first for his friends.” 

However, COVID-19 had other plans. With social distancing in place, police, fire and the Madawaska Ambulance Service were notified of the birthday and agreed to put on a parade down the child’s street. 

“It’s super emotional,” Madawaska Police Chief Ross DuBois said. “It’s sort of a silver lining of what we are dealing with in that people really do come together and support each other. It’s a privilege to be able to do this for our community.” 

The parade was led by the Madawaska Police Department, then more than a dozen community residents’ vehicles decorated with balloons and signs that read “Happy Birthday Blake!” The ambulance and fire trucks and tankers followed up at the end of the parade. 

As the cars with community residents went by, many had children in them from his school class. Some even handed a gift out the window to the birthday boy. 

“That was cool,” Blake said at the end of the parade. 

Shannon said she was very pleased with the parade and thankful to all who attended.

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