Laguna Beach paramedic David Lopez gifted a plastic firefighter helmet emblazoned with “junior firefighter” to 95-year-old Helen Yzabal during a car parade held to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday.
Before getting back in his fire engine, Lopez told Yzabal he hoped to only have to see her under these celebratory circumstances.
The parade organized by Yzabal’s daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca and John Barber, brought about 50 people to the Laguna College of Art + Design parking lot at 2825 Canyon Road. A master glassblower, Barber established his glass design shop on Laguna Canyon Road in 1978.
A Laguna Beach fire engine, Doctor’s ambulance, Bentley convertible, and Chevy Bel Air were among the vehicles that paraded in front Yzabal, sitting in her wheelchair and wearing a black sash inscribed with “It’s My Birthday.”
“I think it’s fabulous,” Yzabal said. “I always knew I had a lot of friends but this has awakened me.”
Yzabal added that she felt fortunate to have so many friends with adult sons who call her “Aunt Helen,” even though she’s not related to them.
John Barber said his mother-in-law forgets about the ongoing pandemic while she’s self-isolating at home. Typically, she goes to the hair and nail salons to get pampered once a week. Rebecca Barber has temporarily stepped in to provide her mom with these self-care treatments.
Laguna Canyon resident Ann Quilter showed up in a party hart, purple rubber gloves, a heart-themed face mask, and festooned in colorful strands of stars to spread some joy to her long-time neighbor.
“In the time that we live in, it’s extremely important to band together as a community, with our friends and loved ones, and show that they’re cared about,” Quilter said. “This is Laguna. This is what we do.”
The birthday parade was also a six-foot-wide reunion for Yzabal’s friends, neighbors, and family members—one visitor came from as far away as La Quinta—amid the governor’s stay-at-home order prompted by the coronavirus. About 20 minutes into the parade, an LCAD campus safety officer drove by to usher Yzabal’s visitors out of the parking lot.Firebrand Media LLC wants comments that advance the discussion, and we need your help to accomplish this mission. Debate and disagreement are welcomed on our platforms but do it with respect. We won't censor comments we disagree with. Viewpoints from across the political spectrum are welcome here. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, our community is not obliged to host all comments shared on its website or social media pages, including:
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