March 20 was a special day for Swansea resident Joseph Bucko as he watched a parade of people drive by his house in honor of his 101st birthday. His daughter JoAnne Bucko Frizado wanted to make his big day extra special since his 100th birthday was canceled due to the COVID-19 quarantine, and this WWII Veteran had the neighborhood coming out by the carload.

I got a chance to catch up with Frizado this morning to hear about the parade’s success.

Frizado was thrilled with the turnout for her father’s big day. She told me that Bucko is a socialite at heart and was eager for the parade to begin so he could be with his friends.

“It was the first time he actually went out socially since he had come out of the nursing home with COVID,” she said. Bucko had recently battled COVID-19 himself and was ready to celebrate any way he could. Little did he know, he would be celebrating with the entire town.

A couple of police cruisers with their sirens on came rolling down his street to begin the celebration, and from there, neighbors, friends, family, and kind strangers joined the caravan.

“I counted 49 cars and five motorcycles,” Frizado said proudly. She got a kick out of Chris Leduc and his notorious tractor, which also made an appearance in the parade.

The highlight of the afternoon was when Bucko was presented with a proclamation from the Town of Swansea naming March 20th “Joseph Bucko Day."

All Frizado wanted for her father was for him to have a birthday to celebrate. When they were unable to host his 100th birthday, she and her dad were devastated. Frizado managed to pull off such a memorable day for his 101st, it gets her emotional thinking about it.

“He was so looking forward to his birthday party last year, and then the whole year he kept saying, ‘I wonder when we can do something.’ This was the next best thing I could think of and he was very happy with it," she said.

I am so happy that this longtime SouthCoaster, war veteran, and social butterfly got his shining moment, and I look forward to Joseph Bucko Day in the years to come.

LOOK: 100 years of American military history

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