Police, fire crews deliver special birthday surprise

by Caroline Lobsinger
Staff Writer | April 14, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — As they walked outside, Jackson Reynolds turned and gave his mom, Ashley Hawks, a quizzical look as she tied his birthday balloons to the mailbox.

Then with a “whirp, whirp,” the sirens hit full throttle and red-and-blue lights began flashing as more than two dozen police cars, EMS vehicle and fire trucks rounded the corner as part of a special birthday parade for the 8-year-old for his birthday Saturday.

“Neighbors were coming out and were wondering why there was a parade,” said Jackson of the big day. “All of the neighbors were saying happy birthday to me.”

To have a parade just for him, to have the officers and the firefighters wave and yell, “Happy Birthday,” made him happy, he said.

“It was the best birthday because it was all for me,” he said.

Initially, Jackson had a party at Triple Play all set up — a fun day with friends and siblings. But then the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down, and everyone was under stay-at-home orders, so the birthday party was canceled. So a special day of coloring Easter eggs was planned and everyone was OK with the new plan, Hawks said.

However, unbeknownst to them, Angie Reynolds, Jackson’s grandmother had other plans. She quickly posted on Sandpoint Local Forum, a local Facebook group, asking if anyone would be willing to join a parade to drive by Jackson’s home to make the day special. Soon, Bonner Dispatch reached out to her and the Sandpoint Subaru Club as well. Plans were well underway to make this a day Jackson wouldn’t forget.

“It was the best,” Hawks said. “I never would have thought of something like that and to see him so excited and so happy and everything. All the worries, nothing mattered. It was great. It meant everything to me as his mom.”

Hawks wasn’t told until a few hours before the event and Jackson wasn’t told until the parade began passing by his home.

“This community is amazing, the way that they came together so quickly, last minute. It was the best quarantine party that we could think of,” Hawks said, then chuckled. “He was so excited. He was so happy. He said it was the best birthday ever.”

At first, Jackson wasn’t sure of what was going on, he’d been told by his mom that they were going outside to enjoy some sunshine while it was around. Then, as the police cars and fire trucks began parading by the house, sirens blaring and lights flashing, it took a moment for him to realize what was happening.

“He started jumping up and down as he realized this was for him,” Hawks said.

Bonner County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Police, Sandpoint Police, Ponderay Police, Bonner County EMS, Selkirk Fire, Rescue and EMS, Northside Fire and the Sandpoint Subaru Club all took part in the parade.

In addition to the parade, ISP troopers came by after the end of the parade and presented Jackson with a card naming him a junior trooper for the day and presented him with his own trooper “covers” and a small coloring book and crayons as a gift.

The fact that so many people took the time to make her son feel special means more than she can express, Hawks said.

“It means everything,” she added, her voice breaking. “I really wanted to give him a good birthday party this year. I had it all planned out this year and then everything just came down like this and he had come to terms that we weren’t going to have a party. And then to have this happen.”

She wants all those involved to know how much what they did means to her, to Jackson and the rest of the family.

“I just want to say thank you,” she said. “Thank you so much, not just for this but for everything they do every day. They took time out of their day, of putting their life on the line, every single minute that they’re on shift, to be able to come and make my son’s day special. That was like, wow, OK, yes, they really do care. “

It validates how good the people are in the community, of how much the people in Sandpoint and Bonner County really do care about each other and the community.

“I’m proud, I’m so thankful for all of them,” she said. “I can’t even really put it into words, I’m just in awe of it.”

Bonner County Sheriff’s Office and Sandpoint Police Department officials said they were happy to be a part of the event and loved taking part in the parade.

“We led the parade,” Sandpoint Police Chief Corey Coon said. “To quote Jackson, ‘this is awesome.’”

It’s moments like the parade that remind him why he got into law enforcement, Coon said. “Our mission is to serve and protect our community — this just shows in the middle of chaos we have not forgotten what truly is important in our community.”

Several BCSO deputies also took part and everyone was happy to help make Jackson’s day special, Capt. Tim Hemphill, Bonner County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, said.

“It’s the difference between working for a community and being a part of the community,” Hemphill said. “We are fortunate to be a part of the community.”

Angie Reynolds, Jackson’s grandmother, said the family wants to show their gratitude to everyone who made this day so amazing for Jackson.

“ALL of us are still on Cloud 9,” she wrote the Daily Bee on Saturday. “He just went to bed, yelling down the hallway “best birthday EVER!!!”

Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at clobsinger@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.

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An Idaho State Police trooper gives Jackson Reynold his own “covers” as after a special parade to wish the now-8-year-old a happy birthday. His original birthday party had to be canceled because of the stay-at-home order issued in Idaho as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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(Courtesy photo) Jackson Reynold looks on in surprise as several dozen police cars, fire trucks, Sandpoint Subaru Club members and others make their way past his home Saturday in a special parade to wish the now-8-year-old a happy birthday.

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(Courtesy photo) Jackson Reynold looks on in surprise as several dozen police cars, fire trucks, Sandpoint Subaru Club members and others make their way past his home Saturday in a special parade to wish the now-8-year-old a happy birthday.