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#GivingTuesday: A Parent’s Reflection on a Special Birthday

Published by Kassi Soulard on

This post was contributed by Dan Cherney, the father of Triangle Day Program participant and a resident in one of Triangle’s homes. Click here to make your #GivingTuesday donation to support our residential program!

It was in the heart of COVID and the quarantine when Anthony’s 30th birthday came around in the summer of 2020. We spoke with Gam, a longtime Triangle staff member who manages the team at Anthony’s home, about how to handle this “big” event. Together, we came up with a plan.

The party would be held in Anthony and his roommates’ backyard. Everyone in their wonderful neighborhood knows the four Triangle clients that live in the home. Dennis, Brian, Anthony, and Bobby are part of the local scene. They are supported as great neighbors and friends.

We got in touch with the Melrose Police and they graciously arranged for a car parade with local students from the high school and family members – a birthday drive-by caravan with a formal police escort! We were so surprised when we arrived at a local church about one mile from Anthony’s home where literally dozens of vehicles had gathered with balloons and handmade signs that read “Happy Birthday, Anthony.” It was truly an amazing demonstration of community spirit.

The caravan parade left the church and drove toward the house with horns honking and police lights flashing. Anthony was seated in his front lawn surrounded by Triangle staff members and his roommates. Anthony dressed for the occasion in his full police uniform. The police officer in charge pulled up to the front of the house and got out to salute the birthday man and fellow officer.

The students and community members, joined by Triangle employees from other programs, drove past the house a few times with everyone waving and yelling “Happy 30th Birthday” to a beaming Anthony. The celebratory feelings abounded! It was an emotional experience for my wife Marcy and me. We were so thankful for the warm and loving support from all these amazing people.

I knew in that moment that my son was living in a wonderful place surrounded by amazing people with the incredible support of not only the Triangle organization, but his fellow local mankind.

The party continued in the yard with cards, a large cake, and phone calls from family members both near and far who wanted to be a part of this great occasion that Anthony would cherish forever. He keeps pictures and cards from that party close to his heart.

How lucky we were that day to see humanity at its finest. 

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