STEVENSVILLE — You know how you feel stuck inside during the COVID quarantine, away from friends and unable to socialize.
Now imagine what it's like for a seven-year old who can't celebrate their birthday with friends or relatives. That's where firefighters are coming to the rescue.
If you've seen the firefighters gathering outside the Stevensville fire station the past few nights, you might get the impression it's wildfire season again. The reason isn't that scary, but nonetheless just as important to a community in quarantine.
"We saw a Facebook post from a mutual friend, whose daughter had a birthday. And she wanted all of her friends to drive by and honk their horn. So, we saw that and just brought bigger horns,” said Melissa Henderson with the Stevensville Fire Department.
"And then it just escalated from there. I put it on the school website just thinking that all the kids need a smile out there who are having a quarantine birthday,” Henderson continued.
Families get youngsters like 10-year old Reed out in the yard on some pretext for the "invasion" by Stevi and Three Mile firefighters.
"We asked them, and they jumped on board instantaneously,” Henderson told MTN News. “We have a lot of Stevensville District kids that live out in Three Mile. So, it's been great. I think we have 17-engines tonight."
Even way out into the country, winding across the Bitterroot's dusty roads. A double birthday at a house on the Illinois Bench brought wide eyes from JC at four years old.
"Just seeing the smile on the kids' faces and the tears in the parents' eyes has been amazing,” Henderson said.
It's a rescue mission of a different type, and even though with this equipment they could easily blow out birthday candles, leaving that to others to honor social distancing, from the big hearts of firefighters.
And you never know, one of those kids out there might want to be in the fire service someday. "Absolutely! We're always taking volunteers,” Henderson concluded.