Marion Cardoza turned 99 on Tuesday, May 12, and all her family, friends, and even first responders were there to help her celebrate.
At around 1 pm, dozens of cars filled the parking lot of the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs in anticipation of the parade.
Some folks held signs out their car windows reading “Happy Birthday,” while others prepared to wave and cheer. Right down the street from the club, Cardoza sat in her front yard with some of her closest family members standing six feet from her, on all sides.
When the cue was given, the entire cavalcade of cars started their engines and followed behind an Oak Bluffs ambulance and fire engine. The two emergency vehicles led the procession down the road, trailed by more than 20 cars, with some police officer friends in the mix as well.
Sirens wailed and folks shouted their well wishes from inside their vehicles, as Cardoza sat comfortably in a lawn chair while donning a golden crown.
As Oak Bluffs Police Lt. Tim Williamson drove by in his cruiser, he shouted “99 years young!”
Bob Anderson was part of the procession, and held a big sign out the window of his car as he drove by.
Anderson is Marion’s partner’s stepson. He said he is thankful for all the people who showed up, especially the first responders.“I think it’s really great they could come out here today; hopefully we can do something again next year,” Anderson said.
Oak Bluffs fireman and EMT David Smith said he has enjoyed doing the birthday parades, and called this event “a pretty special occasion.”
“I wish we could do this for everyone. It’s not something we do all the time, but it’s a lot of fun,” Smith said.
Marion’s partner, Lillian Anderson, was also present at the parade. Anderson’s daughter, Dolores Borza, said she helped organize most of the event, and was incredibly excited to see the turnout.
“Right from the start, right when I called Timmy [Lt. Williamson], he got back to me immediately. He was the one who suggested that I call Manny Rose, who is an old friend of Marion’s,” Borza said. “The community, my goodness, they always have such an amazing response. They pulled all the way through this time.”