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

Creekside Apartments gets utility charge relief from Port Hardy council

The apartment building is undergoing restoration from a fire that happened back in 2017.

LETTER: It’s a labour of love keeping the Port Alice golf course running

‘We North Islanders are indeed fortunate to have two gorgeous golf club’

Mowi’s B.C. salmon farms achieve environmental certification from independent watchdog

Aquaculture Steward Council certification complies with 500 sustainability and social measures

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants north of the Malahat

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Author chronicles churches built by pioneers in the Salish Sea

B.C. author Liz Bryan preserving a little bit of pioneer history in her latest book

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Minivan driver’s speed a factor in fatal 2018 Malahat crash

Driver was travelling at 110 km/h in a construction zone

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read