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San Diegans are sending the love amid the coronavirus pandemic

"Show a simple 'thank you' or 'we're thinking of you,' 'we are proud of you' because everyone needs their cup refilled,” said an El Cajon mother.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — This is a challenging time for all of us, but we want you to remember we’re in this together.

From patriotic parades for World War II veterans to chalk art, to church bells for first responders, San Diegans are sharing their love.

In Serra Mesa, a surprise birthday parade for WW II veteran Ruth Gallivan who turned 104 years old.

“It was a surprise! A big surprise and it was fun,” said Gallivan.

She is believed to be the oldest living female U.S. Marine west of the Mississippi.

“I don't have any secret, I just ignore getting older," she said.

Once COVID-19 hit the community, her family scrambled to celebrate her milestone.

“We didn't know what to do for her birthday because we had big plans and with family and friends joining us. All those plans got canceled,” said Ruth’s son, Dan Gallivan.

Honor Flight San Diego, a non-profit that sends WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit their memorials, rallied to celebrate Ruth. What started with sending birthday cards to the veteran turned into a patriotic birthday parade.

Today is a special day. It is the 104th birthday of WWII US Marine Corps Veteran Ruth Gallivan. She is believed to be the oldest living female Marine West of the Mississippi. Maintaining social distancing, we are doing a drive by surprise birthday party for her. We heard that she was so disappointed that her birthday parties (yes plural) had to be canceled. A family friend reached out and asked us for help to get birthday cards sent to her. If you'd like to send cards, please send them to: WMA San Diego Chapter Attn: Ruth Gallivan PO Box 87089 San Diego, CA 92138 We'd like to give a big shout out to our trumpeter, Corey Wickline who made time on short notice to be part of this. And of course to all Ruth's sisters from the San Diego County CA-2 Chapter Women Marines Association Thank you for your support! 🇺🇸

Posted by Honor Flight San Diego on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Gallivan remembers the ringing of church bells during the war, and in Lakeside the Lakeside Historical Society rings church bells seven times at noon every Wednesday to pay tribute to workers on the frontlines.

“Ring the bell seven times in honor of all those who are working hard, tirelessly,” said Billy Ortiz.

Children are also sending their love, too. 

A.J. Pond, 2, from El Cajon donned a firefighter hat next to a message written in chalk that said “thank you” to first responders.

“It was a way to open up the door to explain what is going on because he doesn't understand. He doesn't understand why he can’t see his teachers or friends,” said his mother Sarah Pond.

Credit: Sarah Pond, El Cajon
A.J. Pond, El Cajon, sits next to a message written in chalk that reads, "thank you" to first responders.

His mother owns the dog walking company Ponds Tails and Trails and had to halt business during the pandemic.

She instead started a Facebook page called “San Diego First Responders.” 

It’s a page that is open to anyone who wants to send a message to workers on the frontlines and for first responders to join and read.

"Show a simple 'thank you' or 'we're thinking of you,' 'we are proud of you' because everyone needs their cup refilled,” said Pond.

If you would like to send the love to a family member, friend or give a shout out to our first responders on the front lines, text the word "LOVE" to KFMB at 858-571-8888, we'll send you a link to fill out and upload your picture or video because remember we are all in this together.

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