May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Residents circle Santa Ana neighborhood to make 15th birthday a special one

The Arellano family including parents Raul and Elizabeth and children Daniel and Katia and family pet Lulu celebrate the birthday of 15-year-old Daniel Arellano Sunday. (Photos courtesy Mark Bausman, For OC Sports Zone)

The celebration had to be held from a distance because of required social distancing rules but neighbors still came by Sunday afternoon in vehicles in a Santa Ana neighorhood to celebrate the 15th birthday of Daniel Arellano, a freshman at Fountain Valley High School.

Because of current state regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic, public gatherings aren’t allowed and social distancing is required so the Arellano family had to find a way for a different kind of birthday party.

It turned out to be very special for Daniel Arellano.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

About 20 vehicles circled the neighborhood along with the fire truck from the local station to wish the 15-year-old a happy birthday, according to freelance photographer Mark Bausman, who maintained proper social distancing by photographing the party with a telephoto lens. Daniel Arellano sat on the porch and waved as birthday guests sent their messages through signs in their cars and on megaphones. Some were on bicycles.

“I had read a story online about teachers driving down their students streets to bring smiles to their faces,” Daniel’s mother, Elizabeth, said in an Email to OC Sports Zone. “I thought this idea would be perfect for a birthday celebration during our ‘safer at home’ orders.”

So she put the idea on the Next Door app and received a great response.

“We have the most amazing neighbors,” said Elizabeth Arellano, who teaches in Fountain Valley not far from the high school her son attends.

Daniel Arellano enjoys skateboarding and playing videos. He is now on crutches because of a skateboard accident, she said.

“He was super excited that so many neighbors and even the fire trucks came out for him,” Elizabeth Arellano said.

“I called the fire department and explained that because we were social distancing we weren’t able to have a birthday party,” the mother said. “I explained that I had arranged for a drive by birthday celebration and that it would be super cool if they could send a truck out. They were happy to participate.”

Daniel Arellano said by Email he was very appreciative of those who came by.

“I was happy and a little embarrassed to be honest, but it felt good to be celebrated by all the neighbors and especially the fire department,” he said. “I was not expecting the response that we received. I am truly grateful that we live in such an amazing community and have wonderful neighbors that are willing to take time out of their day to celebrate a neighbor boy and give him a birthday that he will never forget.” 

Freelance photographer Mark Bausman contributed to this story

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com