On Saturday afternoon, about 50 motorcycles, trucks, and military vehicles lined Bittersweet Road in Bristol Township’s Levittown section to honor a true American hero.
Richard Sprow, of Levittown, was celebrating his 94 th birthday with the help of local VFW groups, Warrior Watch groups, and other veterans, and politicians.
Sprow, who grew up in Altoona in western Pennsylvania, served in the military in World War II and moved to Levittown after the war.
And on Saturday afternoon, with big letters spelling out “Happy Birthday” behind him, Sprow was greeted with a parade of friends and family.
Sprow’s grandson Matt was sitting right by his side as his grandfather enjoyed the festivities.
Matt and his wife and kids live in the Baltimore area, but they knew that they wanted to be there on Saturday to see the wonderful event unfold.
“It was important for us to come here. Everybody did what they needed to do to follow COVID protocol, and it was a really nice gesture from the VFW and all of their friends,” said Strow. “For a man like him, he deserves it and he was excited – it’s wonderful.”
Strow originally grew up in Fairless Hills and would spend many summers bonding with his grandfather, listening to stories from the war.
“If you sit down next to him you’re going to need a lot of time on your hands because he’ll tell you the stories as well,” Sprow joked.
One of the groups that took part in the birthday parade was the Southeastern Pennsylvania Warriors Watch, a group that travels the area to celebrate veterans’ birthdays as well as returns from service and funerals.
Fred Cope II, a member of Warriors Watch, said they were invited by the family and were excited to celebrate Richard Sprow’s 94 th birthday.
“It made me feel good that we have a lot of people in the neighborhood that were able to show up. There are a lot of people that are afraid to come out [due to COVID-19 protocols], but the fact that this celebration was for a military vet, I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate his birthday than show our support and gratitude,” said Cope II, of Levittown.
According to Forbes.com, approximately 325,000 of the 16 million Americans who served during the Second World War are still alive in 2020.
Over 50 people gathered in the Blue Ridge neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, and guests included State Rep. Tina Davis and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, who gifted Sprow with an American flag that was flown in Sprow’s honor.
“This man was on a PT boat in the South Pacific, he was part of the first army to arrive right after the bombing of Japan. This is the last of a great generation and we are so thankful and we appreciate your service,” Fitzpatrick said to the crowd.
Finally, after receiving gifts and well wishes, the crowd sang happy birthday to Sprow and began to motor on their way.
Left standing with the family was Sprow’s neighbor Jackie Wynkoop. She had bought her home when she was 20 years old and knew Sprow as a neighbor ever since. So for his birthday, Wynkoop contacted the local VFW and made plans with the Warriors Watch to attend.
To see a crowd of this size come out and honor a veteran made Wynkoop’s day.
“We had such a good time and having the state representatives here was very nice. I’ve known them for a very long time – what a lovely family and a lovely man,” Wynkoop said.