Red Deer firefighters and RCMP officers helped Will Holstein celebrate his third birthday Tuesday afternoon. Contributed photo

Red Deer first responders thank health care workers, wish 3-year-old boy happy birthday

First responders made a Red Deer boy’s birthday wish come true, and then said thank you to health-care workers.

Firefighters, RCMP officers and municipal enforcement officers drove by the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Tuesday evening to salute staff for their efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were taking a moment to thank our health-care workers for going to work every day in the midst of everything,” said Tyler Pelke, deputy chief of operations with Red Deer Emergency Services.

“We did a little tour all the way around the hospital, kind of taking the lead from other municipalities out there that are doing it as well.”

Earlier in the day, first responders turned on their sirens and drove by the home of Will Holstein to help celebrate his third birthday.

“Will was over the moon. At first, he was really into playing with his cars and we kept saying, ‘Will, come look,’” said Sinead Holstein, Will’s mother.

“Finally, we told him it was police cars and firefighters, and he was like, ‘I love police cars’ and ran to the door.”

Holstein took a pair of videos of the police cars passing by the family’s home.

“Will kept asking to watch the video. He’d sit on my lap and ask, ‘Can we watch it again?’ So we watched it a ton of times, and every time, I started crying, because it was such an amazing gesture for him,” she said.

The videos have received thousands of views on Facebook. Holstein praised Red Deer Emergency Services, the RCMP and municipal enforcement officers for making her son’s birthday memorable.

“They’re all working so hard right now with everything going on. They’re all putting in long hours, and to take the time to do this for a little boy – I don’t even have words,” she said.

Pelke said they receive birthday requests often, but it’s too hard to get to every one.

“This one just happened to line up and we were able to get some people together,” said Pelke.

“It was great to give the little guy a birthday to remember. It was a cul-de-sac they live in, so a bunch of people got to see it.”

It was a great opportunity to bring first responders together as well, Pelke added.

“They’re still going out the door to calls, and as much as we’re in the community lots, with everything shutting down, we’re not out and about with everybody and able to interact,” he said.

“It’s exciting to do that in a way that we can protect everybody and be distant, while putting some smiles on people’s facing, including our members.”

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