Dr. Anthony Fauci celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday and received a special gift in the form of a tribute from frontline workers that showed just how grateful everyone is for his service.
As Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and prominent White House voice in the fight against COVID-19 left work on the evening of December 23, crews from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad along with the National Institutes of Health Fire Department serenaded him with a heartfelt rendition of "Happy Birthday."
"Yesterday evening, crews from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad along with the National Institutes of Health Fire Department stopped by the NIH campus to wish Dr. Fauci a happy birthday as he left work," posted Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad on Facebook along with video of the touching surprise. "Thank you to all of our neighbors at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) for your support of the Rescue Squad and for everything you're doing to fight #COVID19," they wrote, adding the hashtags #WearAMask #tyfys and #fauci to the post.
In the short video, Dr. Fauci is filmed from behind as he leaves NIH headquarters for the day and is stopped in his tracks by the socially distanced crew of workers singing and holding up handmade signs for him. As the crew claps and waves, Dr. Fauci puts a hand to his head, clearly humbled by the gesture. After the song is complete, the workers shout out thank-you's and put hands to hearts, bowing in gratitude to the man who has tirelessly led the nation through the darkest days of COVID-19.
Commenters on Facebook were moved by the heartwarming tribute.
"Wonderful and touching," wrote one person.
"Just awesome," wrote another person. "Thanks everyone who participated."
Dr. Fauci said that he planned to celebrate his birthday, which falls on Christmas Eve, by following his own advice to Americans and staying home. Forgoing his tradition of having an Italian dinner at the home of his sister in Alexandria, Virginia, he said he would will take some time on Thursday to celebrate with his wife, Christine Grady, who surprised her husband of 35 years with a Zoom birthday party this past Sunday that included 15 or so of his closest friends.
Earlier this week, Dr. Fauci, along with other other top government officials, received his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
"I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine and I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we could have a veil of protection over this country that would end this pandemic," he said.