Friends drove in front of Cooper’s home on Sitka Street in Courtenay to wish him a happy birthday - from a safe distance. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Friends drove in front of Cooper’s home on Sitka Street in Courtenay to wish him a happy birthday - from a safe distance. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Friends give Vancouver Island veteran a drive-by 99th birthday greeting

Jim Cooper of Courtenay is one of a couple of Second World War veterans in the community

You could call it a drive-by party.

Friends gathered in the parking lot of the Chances Casino in Courtenay Friday afternoon, with at least 50 vehicles in the motorcade, some adorned in balloons, signs or flags wishing Jim Cooper a happy 99th birthday. Then they made their way toward his house where he was sitting well back in his driveway, waving back to those that drove by.

“Happy birthday, young fella,” one of them said while passing by.

As one of only a couple of Second World War veterans left in the community, Cooper was celebrating the milestone birthday in a way that still took current physical distancing guidelines into account. He thought it was going to be a quiet day, especially in light of distancing measures, so he was not expecting the long line of admirers driving past the house on Sitka Street.

“That was awesome,” he said. “I couldn’t have wished for a better 99th birthday.”

All he was told by daughter Sharon Johnston, a member of the ladies’ auxiliary for the Comox Legion Branch 160, was that he might want to be outside as there might be something happening.

Johnston credits past president of the Comox Legion John Paulin and his wife for coming up with the idea and putting out the word on social media to get friends to come send birthday greetings to her dad from a safe distance.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley organizations and individuals giving back to the community

For several minutes, the line of vehicles drove up and down the block, while other people in the Courtenay neighbourhood were out on their lines to applaud and cheer. One neighbour even made a cut-out “99” sign to wave at passersby.

It was short and sweet, and Cooper said he was looking forward to a birthday dinner that evening cooked by his daughter, starting with the shrimp cocktail, his choice for a first course.

This feel-good story is part of the #WereInThisTogether campaign by Black Press Media. Have an uplifting story that you think would bring joy to readers? Email your story, photos and videos to wereinthistogether@blackpress.ca.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

#wereinthistogetherCoronavirusMilitary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Many vehicles were dressed up with signs or other paraphernalia. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Many vehicles were dressed up with signs or other paraphernalia. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Courtenay RCAF veteran Jim Cooper and his daughter, Sharon Johnston, wave to friends during a birthday motorcade celebrating Cooper’s 99th birthday. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Courtenay RCAF veteran Jim Cooper and his daughter, Sharon Johnston, wave to friends during a birthday motorcade celebrating Cooper’s 99th birthday. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Just Posted

Dan Law is Tofino’s new mayor. (Westerly file photo)
Dan Law elected mayor of Tofino

Cathy Thicke and Jacky Challenger earn council seats.

District of Tofino election official Jayson Towers and election deputy chief Cass Spence welcome Tofitians to the polls. (Nora O’Malley photo)
TOFINO BY-ELECTION 2021: General voting day is today

Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tofino Community Hall

Nelly and Jens Heyduck hold samples of their Ahoy Bags made from discarded sails. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet’s Ahoy Bags up for two Small Business BC Awards

German-Canadian wife and husband team transform old sails into one-of-a-kind beach bags

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht man by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht on Feb. 27. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘Police have killed more TFN members than COVID has,’ First Nation demands transparency in Tofino RCMP shooting investigation

Julian Jones, a 28 year-old Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation man was shot and killed by police on Feb. 27.

Blue Crush Concierge co-owners Ashley Wells and Erika Greenland, pictured here following COVID-19 social distancing alongside their dogs Hank and Lady Bird, are up for two SBBC awards. (Photo courtesy of Erika Greenland)
Three Tofino companies up for Small Business BC Awards

Tofino Kombucha, Blue Crush Concierge and Surf Sister all received nomination honours.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read