Arlington first responders join huge birthday parade for 6-year-old boy

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Jessiah Lee smiled and watched the parade. His parade.

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A fire truck blared its sirens. Police cruisers flashed their lights. Dozens of families in cars decorated with balloons honked horns, raised handmade signs and yelled: “Happy Birthday, Jessiah!”

None of them knew this 6-year-old boy, but they were all there for him on his special day. The surprise drive-by birthday party in an Arlington, Virginia, neighborhood was organized on social media by Ashley Johnson, an accountant who met him while volunteering at a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C., four years ago.

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The relationship did not end after the shelter closed, and Jessiah’s family found a home. Johnson took Jessiah to museums, parks and on a trip to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. This year, she wanted to throw him a Lego-themed party — but then, COVID-19 intervene

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