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In order to help a member of its community celebrate a special birthday, teammates, friends and emergency workers from southeastern York County came together on Sunday.

The 18th birthday for Kennard-Dale High School senior Patrick Maloney was made memorable despite the need for social distancing because of a coordinated drive-by celebration.

K-D football coach Chris Grube estimated somewhere between 50 and 75 cars, filled with friends and teammates lined up and drove by Maloney’s home to share the special day with their friend. 

Maloney, who was a football player, power lifter and track-and-field athlete for the Rams, was surprised by the event, which was put together in about a day and included a pair of firetrucks and a police car. 

“It was awesome to see everyone because I haven’t seen them in so long,” Maloney said in a Twitter message. 

Maloney returned home on March 25, five months after he collapsed on the sideline during a K-D football game. Maloney suffered a head injury, had emergency surgery and then was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center, according to a post from the K-D Sports Booster Twitter page. 

Grube credited K-D power-lifting coach Niko Huslander with organizing the event in one day. Grube was excited for the chance to see Maloney because after he left the Kennedy Kreiger Institute in March, he has been unable to see Maloney as often he'd like because of social distancing guidelines after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We would go see Patrick a lot when he was down at Kennedy Kreiger doing therapy sessions,” Grube said. “Now that he is home, we really can’t see him. Just to see him and his improvements are remarkable.” 

Sunday was supposed to be the K-D football team’s banquet, which had been scheduled much later than usual because Grube and Maloney’s fellow senior teammates wanted Maloney in attendance.

Grube said the banquet will happen at some point, even if it needs to be late into the summer.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.

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