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Community celebrates Columbia woman on her 98th birthday with party parade

Mary Small, who has lived in her Columbia home for more than 60 years, turned 98 on Tuesday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Columbia woman is celebrating a very special birthday in an extra special way, despite social distancing and a "stay at home" order amid coronavirus concerns.

Mary Small, who has lived in her Rosewood-area home for more than 60 years, turned 98 on Tuesday. While Small has outlived all her children and her ten siblings, her granddaughter, Tia Pettygrue, says Small has 3 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Due to social distancing and a commitment to keep small isolated and healthy, Pettygrue knew they could not celebrate with her the way they had hoped to and desperately wanted her grandmother to feel loved and special on her birthday.

Disappointed that the family could not celebrate as they planned, Pettygrue reached out ... and the community answered! The Columbia Police Department and Rosewood neighbors organized a birthday party parade for Small.

Police cars, and fire trucks drove by Small's house, with sirens flashing and sounding as officers wished Small happy birthday from their vehicles. But that wasn't all. An investigator played "Happy Birthday" on his trombone and officers gave her balloons and a cake.

Neighbors and community members dropped off gifts, flowers, cards and many joined the parade, too!

Sgt. Christopher Morris with the Columbia Police Department happily organized the birthday festivities. "I would want someone to do the same thing for my grandmother, too," he said.

 Morris documented the festivities on Facebook. Check it out below.

Posted by Christopher Morris on Tuesday, April 21, 2020