Johnson, Freeman celebrate leap year birthdays

Two area residents celebrated special birthdays at the end of last month.
Allan Johnson, a lifelong Stanton resident, and Mike Freeman, a long-time resident of Villisca both had leap-year birthdays.
Johnson, celebrated his 80th birthday this year, while his age in leap year birthdays puts his age at 20. Johnson said this year’s celebration was particularly special.
“My kids rented the Community Center in Stanton on Feb. 24 and we had cake and ice cream and the public was invited. We had a lot of turn out,” Johnson said. “Mike Freeman came out to my party in Stanton as well.”
Having a birthday that only comes around officially every four years, Johnson said, is unique.
“It’s different all right. There are a few people in the area that have the Feb. 29 birthday. Mike Freeman, who shares it with me, lives next to my daughter-in-law, who helped organize the party. It’s pretty cool how some of that stuff comes together,” Johnson said.
On non leap years, Johnson said he celebrates his birthday on Feb. 28, at the suggestion of his mother.
“My mother told me when I was a little kid that the 28th comes before March 1st, and I could have my birthday early,” explained Johnson.
Johnson also expressed his appreciation to his family and those who attended the party on the 24th.
“I really appreciate what my son, Tracy Johnson, and my daughter-in-law, Jennifer Johnson, did. They went to quite a bit of expense to do my birthday. I definitely want to express that appreciation to them,” stated Johnson.
For Mike Freeman, in actual years he’s 72, but in terms of leap year birthdays, this year he finally turned 18. Freeman said he holds a variety of celebrations depending on the year.
“When it’s a leap year, we usually try to go out somewhere special and celebrate and have family involved. On the off years, I celebrate on Feb. 28 and March 1st, so we have just as much fun on the off years as we do on the official year,” Freeman commented.
Like Johnson, Freeman said having only one official birthday every four years is unique.
“It feels a little bit odd, but I have a lot of friends and classmates that make it feel special for me, because they say they can always remember my birthday because of how it falls. I hear from people I don’t hear from routinely, and I hear from a lot of them, so that’s what makes the day special,” Freeman said.
Freeman recalled one special bash he participated in years ago that involved all the local leap year birthday celebrants.
“There used to be the Branding Iron Café. It’s no longer there, but one year, they hosted the leap year birthdays, and I believe there were seven people that celebrated. Allan and I were two of them,” Freeman said.

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Red Oak, IA 51566
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