Drive-by birthday celebrations shows unity between law enforcement and community

WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. – For 13-year-old Nyah Marshall, her birthday on Oct. 27 was supposed to be celebrated at an ice-skating rink with family and friends but like so many others, her life celebration was affected by the pandemic.

Despite not being able to have the party she hoped for, she still had a surprise she will cherish for years to come.

“My grandfather had called me a couple of hours earlier and said they were gonna take me to a parade, but I thought it was an actual parade,” Nyah said.

It turns out there was a parade right in front of her house and it was for her. A drive-by birthday celebration from family, friends and the Winter Springs Police Department.

“We recognize that she’s turning 13 at a very turbulent time,” Treva Marshall, Nyah’s mother said.

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The Marshall family said they hope their daughter’s special day will also shed serve as an example of what unity should look like, especially for communities and law enforcement agencies across the country currently struggling to work together.

“It’s a message that our country needs to hear right now-- that we can unify and that we can be different,” Treva said. “We can be different from the negativity; we can rise above that and be a great country and be a unified community.”

The Winter Springs police chief, Chris Deisler said those positive relations takes many years of hard work and dedication to forge.

“Law enforcement has a huge platform for change, and we recognize that, and these are the little things that we work on every day. We don’t take that relationship for granted,” Deisler said.

Deisler added his department regularly participates in drive-by celebrations, even before COVID-19 hit.

“To be honest with you, I think the officers enjoy it as much as I do,” Deisler said. “They feel as though it gives a little bit of a personal touch to what we do. It kind of humanizes the uniform a bit.”

The Marshall family said they’re grateful for the relationship their community has with their police department.

“it sounds like to me that Winter Springs understands, they get it and they want the same thing that we want for our community,” Scott Marshall said.

“It’s police departments like the Winter Springs police department that will help forge the change we need in this country today,” Treva Marshall said.

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