A little boy who was among the Oroville Dam evacuees almost didn’t get to celebrate his third birthday this year — but the California Highway Patrol made sure he did.
A group of officers showed up at the Chico shelter on Monday evening, with a Baskin-Robbins chocolate ice-cream cake, a balloon, a Captain America action figure from Toys"R"Us, and sang “Happy Birthday” to Junior.
Mike Wrobel was there to capture the whole thing on Facebook Live. Wrobel had gotten permission from Red Cross to stream “Finding Nemo” at the shelter, and was wrapping up the viewing, when he saw four CHP officers getting out of their patrol car around 8:30 p.m. “I saw them getting out with a cake. I knew what they were up to,” he said in a telephone interview.
The Oroville community has been living out of shelters since Sunday evening, when officials ordered evacuations to prepare in case the emergency concrete spillway at the nation's largest dam collapsed. Law enforcement officers have been present at all shelters, making sure everybody had everything they need.
CHP Officer Logan Callahan was handing out junior officer stickers to all the children at the Chico shelter when Junior’s dad told him about his son’s birthday. “They wanted to bake him a cake but didn’t have the ability," he said.
Callahan, who has a son the same age, felt he had to do something, “Here’s a kid, he’s in a scary situation, how do I make it better for him?”
CHP officers chipped in for the cake, Captain America and a pack of Hot Wheels. “We need to band together during times like this. I thought, ‘What would I like my son to have if he’s in that situation? We all become police officers to help people — and this was an opportunity to help someone,” Callahan said.
Wrobel said the birthday celebration got the evacuees at the shelter excited.
“The community has been absolutely phenomenal,” he said. "And this was a great gesture."