BAKER — Nursing home resident Mary June McCormick was expecting breakfast at McDonald’s on her birthday, but she was totally surprised when a police escort and a limousine pulled up to give her a ride.
“I was waiting for someone to pick me up for breakfast, but I didn’t expect all this,” McCormick, 85, said after climbing out of the limousine before a crowd of about 50 cheering people.
A loosely knit group of Baker residents known as “McFriends” organized the party for McCormick, who was a regular member of the morning coffee club at the restaurant before she had to give up her apartment and move into Northridge Care Center in Baker.
“We have a group of people who meet every morning to solve every problem in the world,” said Don Perkins, a retired Baptist minister.
In addition to breakfast, the former auto dealership employee was showered with gifts, had birthday cake and exchanged hugs with dozens of well-wishers.
Mayor Harold Rideau read a framed proclamation designating McCormick as an honorary mayor of Baker and gave her the key to the city.
“Do the (city) employees want a raise?” she asked Rideau, prompting laughter and comments that McCormick was politicking to become the actual mayor.
“She came every morning for breakfast. She brought her own cup — a clear glass cup. That’s what they put her coffee in,” Rideau said.
“I tell everybody she’s my momma. They look at me, and they look at her and they don’t know what to say,” the mayor added.
Jody Magee of Valluzzo Management presented McCormick a plaque naming her as an honorary crew member of McDonald’s No. 16 in Baker.
“To get all of this, you have to get old, old, old,” McCormick joked as the tributes continued.
Ken Wackett worked with McCormick from 1969 to the mid-1990s, when McCormick suffered a heart attack and eventually retired.
The two worked for McInnis-Peterson Chevrolet, Coleman Oldsmobile and Graves Chevrolet in Baker, which is now part of the All-Star Automotive group.
“Back then, you went where the money was,” Wackett said, explaining how auto dealerships waxed and waned during their careers.
McCormick worked as a warranty clerk during most of her career, Wackett said.
McCormick was leery of going into the nursing home at first, Northridge Director Brock Naquin said.
“She runs the place now. She’s doing great,” he said.
McCormick said she met “a lot of good people” by stopping at the restaurant every morning.
“We ran the city at that time,” she said, adding that she misses her McFriends but has found new friends at Northridge.
“I met so many nice people there. I’m happy in the nursing home. The people are like family to me,” she said.