Cuyahoga Falls Sanitation Department stages parade for boy, 3

City workers help youngster celebrate birthday

Phil Keren
Akron Beacon Journal
Andrew Warther, 3, left, his mother Rosemary Warther and his sister Laura Warther, 5, watch as five City of Cuyahoga Falls garbage trucks parade past their home as a belated birthday present for Andrew Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Andrew, whose birthday was Sunday, loves the trash man and even dressed up as one for Halloween.
Andrew Warther, 3, yells as he sees a parade of five City of Cuyahoga Falls garbage trucks approach his home as a belated birthday parade present Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  Andrew, whose birthday was Sunday, loves the trash man and even dressed up as one for Halloween.
Andrew Warther, 3, holds his toy garbage truck as he waits for five City of Cuyahoga Falls garbage trucks to parade past his home as a belated birthday present Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Andrew, whose birthday was Sunday, loves the trash man and even dressed up as one for Halloween.
Andrew Warther, 3, front, and his sister Laura Warther, 5, blow noise makers as they wait for five City of Cuyahoga Falls garbage trucks as they parade past his home as a belated birthday present Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  Andrew, whose birthday was Sunday, loves the trash man and even dressed up as one for Halloween.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Three-year-old Andrew Warther is a big fan of the city's sanitation department.

Each Wednesday, when a city sanitation truck travels down Van Buren Avenue, Andrew watches as his family's trash container is emptied into the back of the vehicle. His mother, Rosemary, said Andrew will imitate the action of the loading mechanism grabbing the trash container and dropping the contents into the back of the truck.

"I don't know what brought it on this year," said Rosemary about her son's interest in the sanitation trucks, noting he was fascinated with flags last year.

Rosemary added her son dressed as a sanitation worker for Halloween, donning a colorful vest. His grandparents, Larry and Mary Lou Haller, said Andrew likes watching videos of sanitation trucks operating

"You don't dare change the channel," said Larry Haller, laughing. 

Andrew just celebrated his third birthday last Saturday, and Rosemary said she contacted the sanitation department to see if the employees would consider making a special visit. The workers obliged with a parade of five sanitation collection trucks on Tuesday morning. Andrew and Rosemary were joined by about 10 other family members and friends who gathered on the front lawn of the Warthers' Van Buren Avenue home. Employees waved out their windows and honked their horns as they slowly passed by Andrew who waved and smiled as he sat on a chair, while some other children ran around and blew on noisemakers. Some neighbors also stood outside of their homes to watch the drive-through celebration.

At the end of the parade, Jerry Crawford, the assistant superintendent for the city's sanitation and street departments, pulled up in his truck and got out to wish Andrew a "Happy Birthday." Crawford led family members and friends in a singing of "Happy Birthday" to Andrew. As a thank you, Rosemary gave a bag of snacks and gift certificates to Crawford and his employees.

Andrew said his favorite part of the parade was watching one of the truck drivers operate the front-loader which typically picks up trash and dumps it into the back of the vehicle.

"Our sanitation crews are great employees and were thrilled to learn that they have such an awesome supporter and friend in Andrew,” stated Cuyahoga Falls street commissioner Charles Novak. “We know that Andrew’s third birthday is not the celebration he expected given the COVID-19 pandemic, but we hope our team and our trucks showed him that the employees in the Cuyahoga Falls Sanitation Department are some of his biggest fans.”

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.