PETERSBURG, Va. -- Turning five is a big deal. For Richard Lee Harris III, better known as Trey, turning five was also loud.
A parade of police officers, firefighters, and ambulance drivers drove by Trey's Petersburg home to celebrate the young man's milestone.
"I liked when they turned the sirens and the horn on," Trey said.
Trey dressed the part and wore his police uniform to the birthday parade.
"He looked just the part, and he was so proud and just to see him standing there with a smile because he was so proud wearing that uniform," Petersburg Police Officer Jackie Hernandez said.
The parade took the place of a traditional birthday party.
Not only has the pandemic forced families to rethink celebrations, but Trey is a Type 1 Diabetic.
"He knows he can't have everything that the other kids have," Trey's mom Carol Harris said. "No mother thinks of having to stick their child three times a day and do constant finger pricks and wake up at 2 a.m. to make sure his sugar is under control."
Needless to say, the parade meant a lot to the Harris family. The simple request for a police car to "drive-by" swelled and grew, turning into memories for the entire family.
"It just made me feel so proud as a mom, because I know what my son likes, he plays with ambulances, fire trucks all day long, so just to see the sheer excitement on his face meant a lot," Carol Harris said. "I was just so proud to be a resident of Petersburg and see them come out to do that."
Officer Hernandez said requests to do drive-by parades have increased during the pandemic.
"It's usually birthdays, retirements, recently a big spike in baby showers as well," Hernandez said. "Anything we can do to support the community and let them know we're here during this rough time."
"Things like this teach these kids and show parents that not every officer is a bad officer," Petersburg Police Lt. James Frye said. "Most of us are out here doing the right thing."
Photos of Trey's birthday parade were taken by Image Everlasting.
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