STONE RIDGE - Ulster County police and fire officials made a caravan with the family of Betty Stokes to celebrate the 90-year-old’s birthday in quarantine on Saturday.
She sat in a lawn chair in front of the Marbletown Elementary School next to her great-granddaughter, Madison Decker, 3, as the two waved to drivers with signs and emergency personnel vehicles with their flashing lights.
“It’s nice to see all these people,” Stokes said.
Stokes lost her 60-year-old son, Jeffrey Stokes, to cancer on April 27. As her family grieves, she said the birthday parade allowed her to be surrounded by those she loves from a social distance.
A bus driver for 25 years and a stock car racer, Betty Stokes is a pillar of the community, her daughter, Susan Tillson, and her pastor, Frank Romanek Jr., said Saturday.
“You can see all these people showing up, it’s because she touched so many lives,” Romanek said.
In true Betty Stokes fashion, the cars and trucks drove by with Elvis Presley blaring in the background. She might be a big fan of the King of Rock and Roll - with a “huge” collection to prove it - but those who showed up Saturday seemed to be pretty big fans of hers.
Jim Sabastian contributed to this report.