CHILTON, Wis (NBC 26) -- Few will get the opportunity to be celebrated with a grand parade on their birthday. But all too few of us have touched as many lives, as educator Ed Drone of Chilton.
"I don't try to compare students of the past to students of the present because they just aren't the same. Same with coaching," says Mr. Drone.
For nearly 40 years Mr. Drone taught in Chilton, Wisconsin. The US Navy Veteran also coached kids in multiple high school sports including basketball, track, golf, cross country and baseball. It's a passion that Mr. Drone embraced for nearly his entire professional career.
"Chilton has been my home since 1946, except for one year," says Drone.
And after all of those years leaving his imprint on the community, it appears as if no one in town was willing to let Mr. Drone's 100th birthday pass without a celebration.
"Oh did they ever! I was shocked at what went on yesterday evening. Oh man," adds Drone.
The line of bumper-to-bumper traffic played out for nearly 15 minutes on Mr. Drone's birthday. Each car was packed with friends and former students, full of loved ones from the community all to share a warm message of congratulations and thanks for their beloved friend and mentor.
"I got 350 birthday cards from my students and friends," Drone adds with a smile.
And while many don't like a big deal made out of their special day, sometimes others will step up regardless, with their own surprise.
"They were just wonderful. And they loved me as much as I loved them," adds Drone.
And if you're wise enough, with years worth of experiences and learned outcomes, one day you may share a birthday message similar to Mr. Drone with others, that will have them reflecting on what they have yet to learn.
"Just be honest, content, but insistent with your students. Be fair and just let them know you think the world of them, and they will think the world of you as they have shown me. Thank you to all my students, thank you."
To check out the full 15-minute video of the happy birthday parade for Ed Drone, check out Paula Mortimer's Facebook page here.