St. Louis-area woman gets special 100th birthday surprise from firefighters


ST. LOUIS – Thursday morning an Affton firetruck left the fire station, headed to a 100th birthday surprise. 

Both Affton and St. Louis City fire trucks pulled up to Crestview Senior Living in Affton to surprise Jerri Bambrick on her 100th birthday. 

“I didn’t know, no I’m really surprised,” Bambrick said.

“About two months ago our firefighters raised some money and brought all the residents of our care facility a flower, cupcake and little red fire helmets,” Affton Fire District Fire Chief Nick Fahs said. “Just told them it’s a struggle during COVID and stay safe. Three weeks later I received this letter handwritten by Jerri and it was so touching.” 

In the letter, Jerri mentioned her husband Lawrence, who had been a firefighter in the city of St. Louis and had died of a heart attack at just 51 years old.

After some digging for an old photo, and a few phone calls and a cake later, the firefighters came calling with birthday wishes. 

Fahs said the firefighting family lasts forever.

“I’m sure her husband, I hope he’s sitting up there looking down and knew that someone needed to wish his wife a happy birthday and it needed to be us. Once in the family, always in the family.  Even though it’s like 50 years ago, I feel like he’s still our brother.” 

Jerri who was a singer and entertainer in her younger years attributes keeping active to helping her live a long healthy life for her first 100 years.

“Ballroom dancing,” says Bambrick.  “I kept dancing until I was 90 and then I knew it was time to quit. Because if you put too much pressure on your heart when you get older, you’re not going to last very long. But for people that don’t like to dance I say walk or ride a bicycle. Do anything with your legs that you like to do. But that’s what’s kept me going and my heart doctor always says that too.”

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