Spokane families celebrate Father’s Day with drive-by parade at Touchmark senior living facility

SPOKANE, Wash. — Today we celebrate fathers, grandpas, mothers who are father figures and anyone else who filled that role.

It’s different this year. The pandemic has forced us to get creative with the way we celebrate occasions like birthdays and holidays. However, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

One of the most popular ways people have chosen to show appreciation is with a drive-by parade. That’s what happened on Sunday at Touchmark senior living facility in the South Hill. One of the families who drove by was the Reimer family. They went to go visit their loved one, Robert, or also known as Grandpa Bob.

“Just trying to keep ourselves safe and worry about grandpa specifically because of his age,” said Keith ‘Casey’ Kriegh, grandson of Robert. “It’s one of those instances where you don’t know what you have until you lose it.”

The family would go and visit Robert at least once a week before the pandemic started.

“Had four, five or six people come into happy hour, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but then there wasn’t any happy hour,” Robert said. “We would’ve normally had it [Father’s Day] at my house — or my wife’s house too because she did all the work.”

When the family started to separate themselves because of COVID-19, they still saw Robert from a distance.

“I would be up on the third floor and they would be down on the basement floor and we’d talk for an half an hour, hour,” he said.

Though they couldn’t give him a hug for Father’s Day, they brought out some of their classic cars instead. Taped to them were signs showing their love for Grandpa Bob.

“Because of the pandemic, we don’t get to see dad very often anymore so we take every opportunity we can,” said Robert’s daughter-in-law, Karen. “It does his heart good. He’s such a loving man anyway.”

In the cars were several generations of the Reimer family. Some were as young as four months.

“Five generations here when you include grandpa when we drive through the circle, there will be five generations of us here today,” Kriegh said.

Families drove through the facility grounds, waving at everyone who sat outside. Front and center was Grandpa Bob.

“It’s very nice. We’re a very close family,” he said.

Rather than waving, the Air Force veteran decided to do something else.

“What can I do other than say hello and glad you’re here?” Robert said, “and I thought, well I’ll give out flags.”

He gave them out to his family and others he didn’t know.

“I feel so blessed to have him as my father-in-law,” Karen said. “All of us love him and hopes he has a special day.”

Robert did indeed have a special day.

“I love them and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for them,” he said. “I truly love them each and individually.”

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