Community rallies for birthday parade for child of hospitalized COVID patient

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BOURBON, Ind. - Large celebrations are becoming more and more dangerous as COVID-19 continues to spread, but one family who has been hit hard by the virus would not let that stop them from getting the community together to celebrate a birthday. Kruz Pfeiffer turned four years old Sunday. His mother is in the hospital in Indianapolis with COVID-19. She's been on a ventilator and is also 32 weeks pregnant. His father is there with her. Before they left, Kruz's family promised to make his fourth birthday the "most wonderful birthday ever." That promise culminated in a near mile long parade of trucks, fire trucks and tractors that drove by Kruz to wish him a happy birthday.

"I made a promise to (Kruz's mother) before she went under that I would make her son's birthday the most wonderful birthday because she wasn't going to be here," Kruz's aunt, Staci Jesuit said holding back tears. "So, we have a village of people that made this all possible for us today."

Kruz is passionate about big rigs. His uncle said Kruz gets "ecstatic" when a tractor pulls into the driveway. The family went all in on that passion Sunday, setting up a parade of tractors and trucks for the four-year-old big rig fan. Kruz's father was a truck driver for several years, and now works for the Elkhart County Highway Department. Those connections helped make getting the large trucks a little bit easier. The parade, for Kruz, was a dream come true.

"Well, this is a family that loves to celebrate special occasions," Beverly Culp, Kruz's great grandmother, said. "Kruz was no one to be left out. He loves noise. He loves machinery."

The parade blew away Kruz's family's expectations.

"Oh, it was amazing," Kruz's Uncle, Anthony Jesuit, said. "I have to take the time to thank everybody that came out and supported him. I mean, his mom and dad are obviously not able to be here."

Kruz is now four years old and away from his mother, something another one of his uncles, Josh George, said made Sunday even more special.

"Probably for Kruz, it's been a little stressful," George said. "I know being at any age without your mother is stressful for any child, especially at this point in time being four years old and knowing you're having a little sister coming along as well."

It all came together in three days of planning and coordination, mostly by Kruz's aunt Staci Jesuit. She said the community support was overwhelming.

"It just means the world to us to know that there are people out there that care more than we even know for the prayers and the encouragement just to celebrate a four-year-old," Jesuit said.

The parade was not the only surprise Kruz got this weekend. He found out late Saturday night that he is a big brother. His baby sister arrived Saturday afternoon at 2:45. The family still does not know her name, but said in a statement, "She is in isolation and waiting for a COVID-19 test. She has been able to see Dad but not Mom. Mom is still on a ventilator and we haven't heard when she will be getting off. Please keep all your prayers coming."

The family said Kruz cannot wait to play with his baby sister when she gets home.

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