Mashpee first responders are putting in off-duty hours to bring birthday cheer to children throughout Mashpee.
In a Facebook post, Mashpee Permanent Firefighters Local 2519 let the community know that the firefighters are available for more than just emergency help. They are also prepared for drive-by birthday parades.
In the post, the union wrote that the parades help to “keep the children in our community laughing,” even when they can’t have regular birthday celebrations with friends.
Mashpee firefighter Jared West said that because on-duty personnel must remain available for emergency calls, off-duty firefighters are often performing the parades.
“We understand that this is a really difficult time to be stuck at home,” Mr. West said, “and kids are missing their friends from school. We just want to do as much as we can to help people cope with this difficult time.”
Mr. West said that with the help of the Mashpee Police Department, the fire department is doing about one to two parades a day. He said that they have passed by the houses of Mashpee residents ranging from young children to an 81-year-old, but they are mainly focused on offering the celebratory service to children.
“It’s an important time to be considerate of everybody, be sympathetic, and do what we can to help each other,” Mr. West said.
Those interested in a drive-by parade should contact first responders through the Mashpee Permanent Firefighters Local 2519 Facebook page. Mr. West said the firefighters usually need 72 hours’ notice to make sure they can do the parade, adding they are prioritizing parades for children under age 15.
Mashpee Fire Chief Thomas C. Rullo said the enthusiasm to join the parades came from his staff, who wanted to take the opportunity to give back to the community. He said the staff is happy to do “anything they can to make it a special day.”
Chief Rullo said he has been amazed by the generosity of the Mashpee community during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, as individuals continue to donate cleaning supplies and food to the department.
“The generosity is overwhelming,” he said, “so we want to give back if we can.”