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INDEPENDENCE – Hallei Gerken turned 18 on Saturday, May 9, and had a unique celebration. About 20 of her friends had a social distancing parade right by Hallei’s house.

They had balloons tied to their car mirrors and signs or gifts to give to her. Each car drove past slowly and got to wish Hallei a happy birthday in person.

This plan was orchestrated by Hallei’s boyfriend, Drew Evans. He saw some similar ideas on social media and decided it would be a fun, if unorthodox way to celebrate her birthday. The parade was a surprise to Hallei, who said, “It was great to see all my friends!”

This is another occasion of Independence residents celebrating each other and spreading kindness while staying safe.