COVID-19 woes can’t stop family’s celebration


TAYLOR COUNTY—When Coronavirus came to town, everyone’s life was changed. Individuals were asked to not gather in large groups, and parents who have children with birthdays during the outbreak were left trying to figure out unique was to celebrate the special occasion, while adhering to the social distancing guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control.
For one local little girl, her family and friends rallied to show that no amount of distance would stop them from celebrating her special day.
“After the pandemic struck, we had to think something to do to make lemonade out of lemons,” said resident Jennifer Eskridge. “Our little girl, Arizona, was so upset her party had to be canceled, and she couldn’t see her grandparents from Philadelphia, PA, so we came up with the idea of a birthday parade to make things a little better.”
The seven-year-old was treated to a special parade of friends and family members, who did a drive-by complete with birthday wishes and presents. The celebration was also made a little more official, with a police escort from Taylor County Sheriff Terry Austin.
“I was invited to help a child celebrate her birthday in a unique way. Despite the current situation, and the stress of this virus, people were still able to safely come together to make this day special,” said Austin. “Alongside this happy little girl there were three things expressed and those things were faith, hope and love.”
During the celebration, Arizona’s friends and family practiced safe social distancing, while driving by in decorated vehicles, toting signs with birthday greetings, showing that even in uncertain times, the love of those near and dear is never too far away to be felt.
“I’m proud of our community and our continuous efforts to be safe! With time this will pass. Until then, we can still appreciate the kindness and joy that we can safely share,” Austin voiced.
To make the day even more special, Arizona’s grandparents, aunt and uncle held a mini parade in Philadelphia for her.
“It was truly a humbling experience to see everyone come out to help celebrate our daughter’s birthday. I had to hold back the emotions several times because it touched my heart so much that the sheriff, family and friends came together during a time of stress to help our little girl feel better about her birthday,” said Eskridge. “I have never felt so much love in one experience from so many people. Thank you!”
She, in addition to those who took part in the parade, she would like to thank Message of Freedom Church for allowing them to use their parking lot for the celebration.
Arizona said that it was a birthday that she will not soon forget.
““It was good, and it surprised me! I liked seeing my family and friends that I haven’t seen in a while,” she expressed. “I love my mommy, daddy and sisters for having it because it really did surprise me.”
The birthday girl isn’t the only one that had rave reviews about the special celebration.
The Jefferson family shared that they were so excited to be a part of making Arizona’s birthday special and putting a smile on her sweet face.
“I will never forget Arizona’s birthday, it was an awesome day,” said 7-year-old Gracie Jacobs.
Roseanne Jacob’s said that the day as the perfect way to teach a lesson in perseverance saying, “When things don’t seem possible, you have to put your head up and make dreams come true.”
Even though her party was cancelled, the Eskridge family did just that, and held an event that will forever be a reminder for Arizona that she is loved and celebrated.
“This little girl got a birthday she won’t forget, even though she couldn’t spend it with family and friends at her birthday party,” expressed Eskridge. Again, thank you all so, so much!”
From the staff here at the Mountain Statesman, happy belated birthday, Arizona!

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