CORONAVIRUS: STRONGER TOGETHER
Small Town Celebrates 100th Birthday With Socially-Distanced Parade
JOSEPH, Utah — Birthdays just aren’t being celebrated the same way in the era of COVID-19 and social distancing, but that wasn’t going to stop the people of the tiny town of Joseph from missing a major milestone.
With Melba McCombs set to turn 100 on Sunday, residents on Saturday walked out to the edges of their properties and waved and cheered as the woman passed by in a parade that featured an escort from the fire department.
“I think this was fantastic, just fantastic,” McCombs beamed.
Sarah Turpin said a birthday celebration had been planned at the town’s community center for McCombs, but the pandemic forced organizers to come up with an alternative.
“A birthday party could’ve been fatal for some people, and we don’t want that,” McCombs said. “We want everybody to be safe.”
Turpin said McCombs, who moved to Joseph in 1971, has always been a well-liked member of the community.
“We love Melba! Everybody does!” said Bob Owen. “She’s got to be ‘queen’ of Joseph!”
Always one to volunteer her time to help others, McCombs is also known around the town for serving many years on the planning commission.
She also was well-known to bowlers.
“She probably bowled until she was 95-years-old!” Wanda Kelly said.
McCombs acknowledged her high game was a 257.
She was heartened to see the community step outside their homes for a few minutes to wish her a happy birthday.
“I was really surprised at how many fixed happy birthday signs,” McCombs said. “Even the children—even the children had birthday signs!”
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