(Dec. 21, 2018) It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – after a community rallied around 11-year-old cancer patient Jake Newcomer to give him a night he surely would not forget.

Newcomer’s step-grandfather, Ocean Pines Police Department Lt. Greg Schoeph, said the boy’s illness prevented him from attending celebrations in Worcester County, so area residents brought a surprise parade to him. 

Surprise Christmas parade

Eleven-year-old Jake Newcomer waves to those in the parade as they go by his house.

They held the Christmas parade on Dec. 13 on the street in front of Newcomer’s house outside Girdletree. Schoeph said the event exceeded Newcomer’s expectations.

“Well, he was extremely surprised,” Schoeph said.

Ninety-seven organizations from across the Delmarva area, as well as 200 vehicles participated in the parade for Newcomer, according to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.

“You just can’t thank everybody enough,” Schoeph said. “It was a total Eastern Shore project … everybody on the shore … chipped in for this, and it’s just great.”

Schoeph said Newcomer was upset because he couldn’t revel in the simple pleasures of the holidays, and told his stepfather, Aaron, “I just really want to see a parade this year.”

Schoeph said that simple request got the event in motion.

“[My son] reached out to Sheriff [Matt] Crisafulli, [and] they just ran with it,” Schoeph said.

Schoeph expressed his appreciation to all who took the time to make this event possible. 

“[I‘ve] got to give credit where credit is due,” Schoeph said.

Schoeph said his step-grandson was under the impression a few deputies from the Ocean Pines Police Department, as well as Snow Hill Volunteer Fire Department truck would stop by. 

“He just thought it was going to be me and maybe a couple deputies … [but] what it turned out to be was bigger than any other parade that went on this year,” Schoeph said.

Schoeph said Newcomer was grinning from ear-to-ear that fateful evening. 

“He had the mask on and he told his grandmother … ‘nobody can tell but I’m smiling behind this,’” Schoeph said.

Schoeph said Newcomer is currently undergoing treatment at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“He’s got a long road ahead of him,” Schoeph said.

Sheriff Crisafulli and Newcomer

Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli has his arm around Newcomer and gives a thumbs up to the crowd during the parade. (Right) Newcomer waves to those in the parade as they go by his house.

Crisafulli said he wanted to use the parade to help “give Jake an experience of a lifetime.”

“We felt that this was the least that we could do for Jake,” Crisafulli said. “Having our community band together to make Jake smile was extremely rewarding.”

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