Richwood man celebrates 91st birthday with drive-by parade

RICHWOOD, WV (WOAY) – For William Hacker, he wanted his 91st birthday celebration to be simple. 

“When they said they were gonna have a big party for me, the only thing I wanted was a big, juicy hamburger like my mom cooked, a bowl of potato salad, and that’s what I got in there, and I got ramps with it,” he said. 

But his family had more than just a nice meal in mind as they surprised him with a drive-by birthday parade. 

His daughters had to cancel his party in light of the outbreak, but that did not stop this celebration where friends, family and community members gathered in their cars near his house in Richwood and then drove by, honked their horns and wished him well.

Hacker, a Richwood native and Korean War Veteran, says he has experienced a lot of hardship and scary experiences in 91 years but he says he has never gone through anything in comparison to today’s time.

However, on his special day, it was not about that as he still found ways to create joy and laughter joking about how the “good ol’ days” were much better than what is happening now.

“By jeebers, we had toilet paper. I forgot about that. We did have toilet paper,” he laughed.  

A feel good story coming at a much-needed time and a once-in-a-lifetime birthday celebration as Hacker hopes to have a bigger party next year with everyone able to gather together again.

But as a strong man of faith, he says that is not up to him. 

“I’m just going to let the Lord take over now. If He gets ready to take me home, He’s going to take me. I’m in His hands. He says, ‘Come home.’ I’m going home. I don’t worry about a thing. I got a good family and they take care of me,” he said. “The Good Lord’s been good to me and gives me day-by-day, and I’ve got everything I need.” 

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.