SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. — There have been many COVID-19 car parades, but there are not many like the one seen Sunday afternoon in southern Hillsborough County. A neighborhood in Sun City Center created a Facebook page specifically for their car parades.
They performed their second car parade of the day, welcoming a soldier home.
Shannon Bridges is a member of the Florida Army National Guard. He made his way home Sunday after spending nearly two months deployed for COVID-19 relief in South Florida.
“It’s great actually having soldiers going out there to support the local community,” said Bridges.
Friends, neighbors and the community at large participated in the parade to support him and his family.
“It was very unexpected. I’ve seen it happen numerous times on Facebook, but to actually have it happen to me is unbelievable,” said Bridges.
The Belmont neighborhood in Sun City Center ensures even the smallest event goes celebrated.
“We put together this parades page where people can post their kids birthdays or anniversary or anything like that, and whoever’s available, we’ll get together and come out and ride around,” said Ash Galvin, one of the organizers of the car parades.
The Bridges family was just surprised to find themselves at the center of this evening’s celebration.
“It was so exciting and so thankful because of all the people that supported us,” said Traysen Bridges, Shannon’s son.
They have gone through deployments before, but never been through anything quite like this one.
“We weren’t sure how long he was gonna be gone, what that activation would entail, if he would come home sick,” said Amanda Bridges, Shannon's wife.
They are just happy to have their soldier back home.
“It’s amazing because I finally have a chance to talk with my dad face-to-face, and he’s been gone for so long, I just was overwhelmed,” said Shayden Bridges, Shannon’s son.
The car parade crew says each time there’s an event, it gets posted to their car parade Facebook page, and the neighborhood really shows up!