KUTTAWA, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky woman celebrated her 109th birthday Wednesday by watching fire trucks, community leaders and loved ones drive by her home as part of a parade.
Ruth Evelyn Harrington, a Kuttawa resident, has lived through two world wars, 17 American presidents, Prohibition and the 1918 Spanish Flu but was still looking forward to her birthday all week, employees at the River’s Bend Retirement Community said.
On Wednesday afternoon, dozens of vehicles drove by River’s Bend carrying signs wishing Harrington a happy birthday and telling her to “stay positive.” Electronic traffic signs with her name also drove by while Harrington sat outside with a protective face mask, news outlets reported.
River’s Bend administrator Stacey Bullock said the idea for the parade started with Harrington’s family. But it grew as more people in the community learned of the event.
“It was great,” Harrington told employees after the parade. “I didn’t really deserve it.”
Harrington was born on a Tennessee farm on May 6, 1911.
In 1927, she married Paul Harrington, who has since died, and later moved to Kentucky. They opened up Calvert Drive-In in 1953, a drive-in movie theater in Marshall County that still operates today.
Harrington’s grandson John Harrington, who now runs the drive-in, said his grandmother ran operations for 60 years, selling tickets well into her 80s.
John Harrington said he was impressed with the turnout and thanked the community, The Paducah Sun reported.
As for plans for a 110th birthday party, “she’s probably in there making them right now,” John Harrington said.