“Who needs a party when you can have a parade?” Elmore Avenue resident Susan Lombardo says.
That’s how she saw the birthday of World War II veteran Frank J. Uveges, who turned 100 on Monday.
A big party had been planned for the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal Veteran, who has lived in the same house on Elmore Avenue in Hamilton since 1952.
But with the country in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines firmly in place in New Jersey, friends and neighbors got creative.
“I called my neighbor Tina and said since the party’s cancelled why don’t we do something on the street? And then the VFW had the same idea. We didn’t want the day going by without him having something. He really is a great guy.”
So a parade it was.
And the town showed up.
Jeff Bock, from VFW Post 3525, which did the “boots on the ground” work of spreading the word, said Uveges is a “true staple around the post. We saw that they were doing other similar celebrations on social media so we wanted to support and celebrate his birthday.”
Starting at about 11 a.m. Monday, a stream of cars passed by with honking horns and people yelling out their birthday wishes.
Hamilton Mayor Jeffrey S. Martin, left, elbow bumps Uveges, even though Uveges was ready to shake hands.
The mayor told him, “I can’t shake hands God bless you. Keep going strong.”
The mayor also brought a proclamation.
Hamilton fire companies, township police officers and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office also paraded by to honor Uveges.
Dave Uveges gets a “six-foot selfie” with his uncle, right on porch, standing next to his brother Jim.
Dave Uveges’ family members are his wife, Laly and their two children Stephanie and Michael.
“We come from a family of 13, a very, very close family. There are 4 of us left. We have a brother, 92, a sister 90. I’m 87,” brother Jim said.
And, of course the birthday boy is 100.
Jim, who says he lives “just a mile down the road” continues speaking, about his brother: “He makes his own meals. My friend and I and his daughter and I do all the chores around the house, whatever we have to do for him but he does most of the things himself. He’s very agile and his mind is 99.9 % believe me.”
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