A festive drive-by party took place in the Rancho District on Sunday, Nov. 7, to honor resident Ivan Cregger’s 100th birthday.
Cregger, who has lived in Burbank for 64 years, is a World War II veteran who enlisted in 1941 and contributed to one of the most dangerous flying missions of the war, the Ploesti Air Raid. After being based in Egypt for 42 months, Cregger was sent to Italy and later discharged in September of 1945.
The event took place from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. outside of Cregger’s home on Morningside Dr. Locals Anne McDonald and Kelly McClary organized the ceremony, during which live music was provided by the Cowboy Social Club, and representatives from The Burbank Police and Fire Department were in attendance. A personal birthday cake was also offered to Cregger by his loved ones, and he blew out the candles for a birthday wish.
Mayor Bob Frutos, who was escorted into the celebration by four horses, presented Cregger with a Burbank City Council recognition certificate as a tribute to Cregger’s impactful contributions to the community. In addition, City Councilmember Sharon Springer and former Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy were present at the party.
Joanne Asman, a neighbor of Cregger’s, has been close with him for 22 years. She says befriending Cregger has left an enduring positive impact on her life that she cherishes as he turns 100 years old.
“He is the most wonderful person in the world,” Asman said. “He’s like a father to me and we just have a wonderful relationship. He is the most amazing person at 100 years old. He still pretty much still takes care of himself. He is the smartest person I know. You can ask him anything and he knows it…and he is great in the community.”
A representative of the Veterans of Foreign Wars made an appearance at the party, and a VFW group likewise were there last year for Cregger’s outdoor 99th birthday gathering. Asman noted the significance of Cregger’s contributions to the country through his arduous efforts in the war.
“What he went through and what he survived, and then to be the man he is today is just amazing,” Asman said.
Neighbors, family members, and friends likewise attended to show their support at the event. Cregger, who is locally known as the “Mayor of Morningside Drive,” expressed appreciation to the community for celebrating his memorable birthday with him in his Rancho neighborhood.
“Well, I appreciate it because I’ve been here living in this same house for 64 years and I love Burbank and especially the Rancho,” Cregger.
Although the celebration took place on Nov. 7, Cregger’s actual birthday is next Sunday, Nov. 14. As he gets nearer to turning 100, Cregger says focusing on the positives in life and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the keys to a happy life.
“Keep moving around,” Cregger said. “I appreciate everything that I do and everything other people do for me, and I don’t let anything bother me. I don’t have any fears and just stay healthy, that’s the main thing.”