WORTHINGTON — Not only was Wednesday a special day for Albert Mathiesen, but it was an occasion many local residents will also remember fondly.

Albert, a longtime resident at Prairie House Supportive Living in Worthington, is recognized by many in the community as a friend to all. As a product of that appreciation, a drive-through birthday party was coordinated for Wednesday morning on his behalf.

“For many years, a group from St Mary’s has celebrated Albert's birthday with a fun dinner and celebrating for him,” said Worthington resident Kathy Lesnar, who helped organize Wednesday’s celebration. “As his birthday approached this year, we all felt a little sad that we couldn't be together. Knowing how our whole community loves Albert, Colleen Bents suggested we plan a drive-through parade for our friend.”

The festivities were given the go-ahead by Prairie House, and a social media event was created to inform the public.

“The response was amazing,” Lesnar said. “Many people shared the post, and word spread really quickly.

“Our community's love for Albert is so heartwarming. He has brought so many people such joy over the years.”

Several individuals helped volunteer at the drive-through event, handing out “happy birthday” signs and directing traffic. Lesnar said an exact count of the people attending wasn’t kept, but added that she knew that more than 100 cars came through the parade.

“Each car had two to five people honking, waving, signing and wishing Albert a happy birthday,” she said. “As people left the parking lot, you could see and feel the joy on people's faces and in their hearts.

“Albert’s birthday parade brought a much-needed bright spot during these heavy days of the COVID pandemic,” Lesnar continued. (Wednesday) was proof again that humanity is good and Worthington is an amazing place to live.”

As for Albert, he was “overcome with emotion” upon being on the receiving end of so many well-wishes. He was surprised when he saw police lights flashing, fire trucks honking and Paycheck join the parade.

“When Chloe and Quinn Bents presented Albert with cupcakes for all the residents at Prairie House, Albert broke down in tears,” Lesnar said. “One thing is sure — Albert felt the love of his friends.”