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

Gratitude is a great thing, what are you grateful for?

‘I want to say a heartfelt thanks to Steven Cahill for all his hard work over the years’

UPDATE: North Island Green Party nomination still to be determined

Moen says all issues should be viewed through environmental lens

COVID-19 has caused many changes for Port Hardy Fire Rescue so far this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s first and second quarterly reports for 2020 were reviewed by council.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

NDP candidate Babchuk a fixture in local politics since 2005

School trustee, city councillor and regional district chair sets sights on being North Island MLA

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

Immigration, the top population driver, decreased due to the pandemic

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Most Read