On the morning of Saturday, May 9, 10-year-old Alba Iacobazzi and her 5-year-old brother, Giacomo, waited outside their home in Dobbs Ferry, less than 24 hours before Alba turned 11.
To celebrate, her parents arranged for a parade to pass by. Soon after 10 a.m., a procession of emergency vehicles arrived with lights flashing, sirens blaring, and someone in a Dalmatian costume waving atop a fire engine.
The Iacobazzi’s home was the second of nine stops that morning for the weekly birthday drive-by, which the Village of Dobbs Ferry’s emergency responders started last month to spread cheer to their neighbors.
Last Saturday afternoon, a similar scenario unfolded in Hastings, starting at 2 p.m. That parade passed 21 locations, including the home of Amy Tilipko, an EMT with the Hastings Fire Department Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Tilipko joined the ambulance corps in 2011. For each of the last three years, she has responded to more calls than any other member of the corps. In 2018, she was honored as the Westchester Regional EMS Council’s Volunteer of the Year.
Tilipko, who is in her 60s, was as enthusiastic about the celebration, if not more so, than her 10-year-old counterpart in Dobbs Ferry. Though Tilipko wore a mask, her smile was evident, especially as she accepted a bouquet of flowers from a fellow volunteer in a passing vehicle.
The Hastings parade ended at the Foodtown on Main Street (pictured above). That stop was not to celebrate a birthday, but to show respect for the supermarket’s staff, about a dozen of whom gathered outside, as pictured above. The two groups applauded each other.
The drive-bys continue in Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, and Irvington until demand wanes. To sign up, call the Dobbs Ferry Fire Department at (914) 693-0310, email the Hastings Fire Department at email@example.com, or call the Irvington Fire Department at (914) 591-9867.