Niles veteran treated to drive-by parade to celebrate 97th birthday

NOW: Niles veteran treated to drive-by parade to celebrate 97th birthday

NILES, Mich.—A Niles veteran who turned 97 on Tuesday was treated to a drive-by birthday parade complete with a police escort.

Chet Jones, 97, served in World War II and is a longtime Niles resident.

Since the pandemic began, Chet and his wife, Delta, have been staying home and social distancing.

For his birthday, his niece, Denise Clayton, thought it would be nice to show them a little love to keep their spirits up.

“I thought okay, we’ll have a couple of vehicles or whatever and the next thing I know, we pull into the parking lot and I’m like ‘wow, this is unbelievable,’” Clayton said.

The Niles City Police Department and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the River Bend Motorcycle Club to make the parade happen.

“Especially in this time of COVID, and people being shut in and away from other folks and just that general interaction, we want to be able to give something back. Unfortunately, it was too cold and too icy for us to be able to ride the bikes tonight but we figured why not bring out the vehicles and make it happen anyway,” said Lisa Hunt, one of the parade’s organizers.

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