Balloons, piles of greeting cards and a group of 35 police officers, volunteers and staff were waiting when Newport Beach Police Department volunteer Earl Fusselman arrived at lunch today for a surprise 95th birthday celebration.
“Every year, there’s a surprise,” said Fusselman, who lives in Corona del Mar. “One, that I’m still living, and two, that I can make a party like this.”
Fusselman has been a police volunteer since the program began 13 years ago, becoming the second-ever volunteer beginning in 1998.
“I’d say he works 20 or 25 hours a month,” said Kathy Lowe, a police spokeswoman who organized the party at Islands Restaurant on the patio. In all, volunteers have contributed 65,000 hours, helping police with vacation checks, logging data, passing out crime alert bulletins, checking for handicap parking violations and other duties.
“He’s probably smarter than all of us put together,” said volunteer Richard Simon. “He’s very active.”
Fusselman has been a Rotary Club member since 1944 as well as a member of the American Legion for 20 years.
“He couldn’t make our last meeting — he had another meeting to attend,” said Erica Sperling, a police crime prevention specialist. “He has a positive attitude, and he’s sharp as a tack.”
Fusselman’s real birthday is Sept. 3.
“I tried to find a 95 card,” said volunteer Roger Otte. “I found one for 90 and I thought about getting that and a 5 and putting them together for him.”
Read about last year’s birthday party here.