Volunteers celebrate Camas boy’s eighth birthday with drive-by parade

Timothy Hergenroether's family recently moved to Camas and say they're 'blown away' by the volunteers' act of kindness

Timothy Hergenroether and his mother, Jessica, stand on a balcony outside their Camas home on Sunday, May 3, and wave to drivers passing by the home in a parade celebrating Timothy's eighth birthday.

Even the dogs got in on the "drive-by happy birthday parade," held Sunday, May 3, to honor the eighth birthday of Timothy Hergenroether.

Former Camas City Councilwoman Deanna Rusch leads a volunteer "drive-by parade" past the home of Timothy Hergenroether on Sunday, May 3. Timothy, who is new to Camas, turned 8 on Sunday. Volunteers agreed to drive by Timothy's home to help celebrate his boy's birthday during the "stay at home" quarantine to stem the spread of COVID-19.

A "Honk, it's my birthday" sign sits outside the Hergenroether home in Camas on Sunday, May 3.

Timothy Hergenroether and his parents, Thomas and Jessica, stand on a balcony outside their Camas home on Sunday, May 3, as a parade of volunteers drive their vehicles -- decked out with balloons and happy birthday signs -- around the street to help celebrate Timothy's eighth birthday.

Vehicles drive by the Hergenroether home to celebrate Timothy Hergenroether's eighth birthday on Sunday, May 3.

Vehicles drive by the Hergenroether home to celebrate Timothy Hergenroether's eighth birthday on Sunday, May 3.

A group of Camas volunteers helped bring some sunshine to a local boy’s very rainy eighth birthday today. 

Driving vehicles decked out in balloons and “happy birthday” signs, the volunteers — led by former Camas City Councilwoman Deanna Rusch — cheered and honked as they drove about a dozen vehicles past Timothy Hergenroether’s Camas home this afternoon. 

Timothy and his parents, Jessica and Thomas Hergenroether, stood in raincoats on the family’s front deck, waving to the parade participants. 

“We were blown away when we found out,” Thomas Hergenroether said of the parade plans. “Our family is new to Camas. We moved here from the (San Francisco) Bay Area last January.”

Timothy’s grandmother, who lives in Texas, called the city’s help line, run by Camas Public Library staff, in April to see if volunteers might be able to help Timothy celebrate his birthday on May 3. 

Being new to Camas, the family, which also includes Timothy’s sister, 11-year-old Madelyn, hadn’t yet formed too many close relationships, the grandmother told Camas library staff, and had planned to take Timothy to Disneyland to celebrate his birthday. When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled those plans, Timothy’s grandmother thought maybe city volunteers could help. 

“She was able to send her love from thousands of miles away,” Thomas said of his mother.

Thomas called Camas City Hall to make sure the parade wasn’t taking volunteers away from more critical tasks, but was told not to worry about that. 

A library staffer who took the call from Timothy’s grandmother reached out to Rusch, a resource line volunteer, and asked if she’d be interested in helping with the birthday parade. 

“Absolutely!” Rusch responded. “I live right around the corner from that address …  I can also help arrange or lead the parade if necessary.”

The volunteers met in a nearby parking lot and began their birthday parade around 1 p.m. 

Thomas said his family was impressed by the volunteers’ willingness to help Timothy celebrate his special day. 

“It’s fantastic,” he said, “especially when we’re just becoming accustomed to living in Camas. We feel very lucky.” 

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