ALTOONA, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – 99-year-old retired firefighter bob Anderson also known as ‘Smoky’ in his firefighter days, served the Eau Claire community for nearly 40 years.
Sunday, the Eau Claire and Altoona fire departments returned the favor with a birthday drive-by surprise. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray shares why 9-9 has never looked so good.
Four generations of family, ringing in retired firefighter Bob Anderson’s 99 years of life.
“Happy birthday,” shouts four-year-old granddaughter, Claira.
Lyn Moen says since grade school, some of her favorite memories come from seeing her dad on the job.
“We’d see him driving around Eau Claire on the back of the engine and we’d wave and honk the horn at him,” says Moen.
Inviting the Altoona and Eau Claire fire departments for a drive-by parade, Moen says makes celebrating a second birthday amidst the pandemic, a little sweeter.
“He’s this amazing dad, amazing grandpa, just loving, you know just really fortunate that we’ve had him all these years,” says Moen.
“He’s still alive and he’s 99,” says seven-year-old granddaughter Naiya.
Naiya and Claira say there’s plenty to love about their great grandpa, “I like his hugs and kisses,” says Claira.
Moen believes these visits have helped her dad make it this far.
“It’s been kind of a series of ups and downs over this past year and I know so many people deal with that, my heart just goes out to people that—I’m fortunate that my dad is pretty good,” says Moen. “He knows what’s going on, he’s a little forgetful but who wouldn’t be at 99,” she laughs.
Eau Claire firefighter/paramedic Ashley Bauer says it’s an honor to be part of the retired firefighter’s special day, and adds that things are a little different from when Anderson served.
“We’ve learned a lot over the years for safety so riding on the back of fire trucks is not something that still exists here,” Bauer laughs.
A small, yet meaningful gesture for a man who has served his community for thirty-six years.
In Altoona, Phoebe Murray, First News at Nine.