RIPLEY • Approximately 20 vehicles paraded down Buena Vista Road Sunday afternoon to give Brantley Burroughs a special birthday surprise. The 3-year-old, along with his mother Myleigh Burroughs and grandmother Alonna Mullins, stood on their front lawn and waved as the cars and motorcycles – donned with streamers, balloons and banners – trekked by. The motorists cheered and honked their horns while shouting "happy birthday" to the youngster.
Brantley's family had a huge birthday party planned for the occasion, but due to a recent surgery and the onset of COVID-19 their plans had to be canceled ... Until church members and the community pulled together and came up with a creative way to make the occasion special.
"We had a big birthday party planned for him,” said his grandmother Alonna Mullins. “He is autistic and he loves horses and animals and we were going to have a big ride for him but because of the pandemic we are not going to be able to do it.”
Mullins said that some of their friends didn’t want Brantley to be disappointed on his birthday and decided to have the birthday drive by parade. The parade would allow Brantley to enjoy the festivities without coming in contact with other individuals.
"It is amazing to see the community support," continued Mullins. "I am just overwhelmed by the community taking time out of their busy lives, and what's going on right now, to show some love to Brantley."
Brantley has been through a lot in his short life. He has had two heart surgeries, one when he was three months old and another, to have stints put in, just four weeks ago. After the most recent surgery, he was prescribed aspirin which caused complications with his gastrointestinal track.
"They took us by ambulance to Le Bonheur and he had to have emergency stomach surgery because the aspirin had eaten a hole in the lining of his stomach," said Mullins. "We have only been home a few days."
Tonya Gray, who helped organized the birthday event, said Brantley has beaten all odds. "I think that is only through faith and his preserving spirit," Gray said.
Gray, who attends church with Brantley, Myleigh and Alonna at The Overflow: Whether Rejected or Redeemed in Ripley, said she wanted to do something big for Brantley and his mother. She praised Myleigh for being a strong, independent, single mother who has never lost her faith.
"We felt that a nice, little, drive-by parade would be just as close as we could get to something big," continued Gray. "Brantley has been through so much. His church family felt he and his mom really deserved something of that nature."
Gray said Brantley loves Toy Story and likes to wear a superhero cape with a "B" on it that was given to him at the hospital.
"We just love Brantley. He is our little superhero. He is Super Brantley," said Gray.
Mullins expressed her thankfulness to the community: "People that we don’t even know have come together in the community to do this for Brantley. With all the bad news that is going on, it is great that there are still good people out there trying to do what is right and trying to make people happy."