Trumbull man, 90, surprised by birthday parade of well-wishers

TRUMBULL — Long-time Trumbull resident and former state Rep. William Bevacqua said he felt like a kid again May 11, after a surprise birthday parade featuring emergency vehicles and dozens of family and friends highlighted his 90th birthday.

Drive-by parties, which allow people to wish happy birthday to family members and friends while social distancing, have become popular as a way to lift the spirits of local children...and Korean War veterans.

“Mom died 13 years ago, and since the quarantine started, it’s been just him in the house,” said his daughter Renee Bollier of the Partridge Lane home where Bevacqua, who served a term representing Trumbull in the state House of Representatives in the 1970s, has lived for more than 50 years.

The parade was nearly as much a surprise to Bollier as it was to her father, she said.

“He’s really the last member of that generation (in the family), so I had reached out to some cousins and asked them to drive by with a card or a sign,” she said. “It just sort of grew from there. Before I knew it, everyoner wanted to be involved.”

The subterfuge required the help of some neighbors to maintain the surprise. At 5:30 p.m. Monday, Bollier arrived at her father’s house and asked him to come outside to see some birthday signs that neighborhood children had made.

Moments later, sirens blaring, local police and EMS vehicles led a procession of about two dozen well-wishers. Bevacaqua, greeting the participants from his driveway, accepted his gifts like a child at Christmas, his bellowing laugh audible up and down the street.

The birthday parade was a welcome distraction for Bevacqua, who told his daughter he is looking forward to returning to his pre-coronavirus lockdown routine.

“He would go to the library every day to read the paper,” Bollier said. “He’s pretty upset that he can’t do that now.”

Bevacqua also has a network of long-time friends through his connections to the University of Bridgeport and Holy Name of Jesus Church in Stratford, she said.