Jailinn Fortin of Jay, at right, was surprised with a birthday parade Sunday, May 3rd, that included horseback riders, decorated cars and emergency vehicles. From Andover, Mary Thacker and her daughter, Hannah aboard Minnie Mouse, participated and stopped for a hello afterwards. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Jailinn Fortin was surprised with a parade extravaganza on Sunday evening, May 3, for her birthday.

Decorated vehicles, horseback riders, the Jay Fire and Police Departments and even the Squad-51 replica from the television show Emergency participated. They made their way along Old Jay Hill Road to wish the young lady ‘Happy Birthday’ and pass cards and gifts to her mom.

The newly turned nine-year-old had been saddened by the potential of not having a party this year when Gov. Janet Mills enacted the stay-at-home order in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in March. On top of that, her grandmother, Kathi Kyes, passed away unexpectedly on April 6.

Jailinn Fortin, of Jay was surprised with a birthday parade Sunday, May 3. Members of the Ellis River Riders seen participating from left are Hannah Thacker, Mary Thacker, Emma-Leigha Sweester, Emilir Tyler, Lexi Arsenault (in front) and Shaynah Seames. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Jailinn, her mom, Jessi Fortin, and sister, Rylie Fortin, lived at the family horse farm with Kyes. Kyes had been a former leader of the Mountain Viewers 4-H Horse Club. The family also belonged to Ellis River Riders in Andover.

Kyes was also a former member of the Jay Fire Dept. She was the first female firefighter to complete both Fire Fighter 1 and 2 training in Franklin County.

On April 20, Jessi Fortin posted on Facebook that Jailinn was beginning to realize her grandmother wouldn’t be there for her birthday this year so plans for a surprise birthday parade were underway. Within a short time confirmations and questions about getting horses there showed up on Facebook.

Mary Thacker and her daughter Hannah Thacker came from Andover, with Hannah’s pony.

“We’re members of Ellis River Riders,” Mary said. “When Hannah’s pony died, Kathi loaned us one. Hannah now has a new pony, Minnie Mouse, that Kathi never got to meet.”

Mary said Hannah got new show clothes for the upcoming season and then everything happened.

“She’s wearing them today,” Mary said.

Another Ellis River Riders member, Shaynah Seames of Bethel, said this was the second birthday parade she has participated in. During the parade Lexi Arsenault of Peru rode with Seames. Other riders were Emma-Leigha Sweester of Greenwood and Emilie Tyler of Woodstock.

Other Ellis River Riders members walked in the parade or rode in decorated vehicles, including Trevin and

Jailinn Fortin of Jay was surprised with a birthday parade Sunday, May 3. Ron and Becky Morin, of Wilton, brought their Squad 51 replica from the televsion show, Emergency. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Westin Thibeault and Austin Smith, all from the Peru area.

Ron Morin, of Wilton, was contacted about the parade Sunday morning. He and his wife, Becky Morin, came in the replica he created of Squad 51 from the popular television show Emergency.

“The body came from Los Angeles Fire,” he said. “I found it on Ebay. The chassis came from the Alna, Maine, Fire Department  New in 1972, it had 7,900 miles on it.”

Eleanor and Santika Hodgkins of Jay participated as did CJ Haskell and his family.

Haskell was like an adopted son of Kyes and had borrowed the farm tractor. A large “Happy 9th Birthday” sign was affixed to the tractor.

The parade was led by Jay Fire Department trucks driven by firefighter Carl Beaudette and Capt. Darren Roundy. Officer Demers, Jay Police Department, drove his cruiser at the end.

Jessi Fortin said after the parade, “This got huge really fast, This is a once in a lifetime.”

Jailinn Fortin said, “My birthday wasn’t much, but then the parade made this the best birthday ever! I’m never going to forget this.”

Members of the Ellis River Riders participated in a birthday parade in Jay Sunday, May 3. Pictured from left are Trevin Thibeault, Lexi Arsenault, Westin Thibeault and Austin Smith, all from the Peru area, prior to the parade. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

A surprise birthday party in Jay was held Sunday, May 3, for Jailinn Fortin. CJ Haskell and son, Levi Haskell, sit in front of a tractor they decorated for the parade. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser



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