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story.lead_photo.caption Liv Paggiarino/News TribuneElyse and Joe Wyckoff wave Friday to their grandmother, Lois Bess, during her surprise birthday caravan celebrating her 90th birthday at the Tebbetts Community Center.
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Tebbetts resident Lois Bess couldn't have a traditional party for her 90th birthday due to social distancing — but that didn't stop the celebration.

After Lois's party was canceled, her daughter and son-in-law, Belinda and Gary Heimericks, planned a surprise birthday parade for Lois.

They told Lois they were going to meet her at the gazebo at Tebbetts Community Hall on Friday so her grandchildren could say hi to her.

Little did she know, 57 cars of people would drive by to wave and wish her a happy birthday.

"Mom has given a lot to her family, and we felt like this was the way we could give back to her," Belinda said.

Lois, a lifelong Tebbetts resident, is well known in the community. When Belinda and Gary called community members to invite them to the parade, everyone quickly jumped on board. One person even offered to invite six families herself.

"We've had a lot of support for it, and we're excited for her," Belinda said.

Lois said she was overwhelmed with happiness when she saw all the people who came to wish her a happy birthday.

"I really appreciated it, and I have love for every one of those people that went by," she said. "They're all very special to me."

Most community events have been canceled, but the birthday parade brought the community together again, Gary said.

"Anytime we can get our community back together, even if we're distancing like this, it's good for us," he said.

About 100 people attended Belinda's father's birthday celebration before he died at age 91, Belinda said, so she and Gary wanted to honor Lois in the same way.

"They have just been pillars of our little rural community down here, so it was important for us," Belinda said.

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