Leap year Birthday: Wait ‘four’ it…

By on February 24, 2016
Brady Spangler won’t be 21 until he’s actually 84 years old.

Brady Spangler won’t be 21 until he’s actually 84 years old.

Brady Spangler was born at 6 a.m. on Feb. 29, 2012 at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon.

And on Monday he’ll finally celebrate his first birthday.

Brady, whose mother Jessica works in Ephrata, has waited patiently for this day.

For Brady is a “leapling” who defied the 1,461-to-one odds to be born on Feb. 29.

While being a leapling does make Brady special, it also creates a certain amount of confusion for his parents, Joe and Jessica.

“While the government recognizes his birthday as the 29th, some private businesses recognize his birthday as March 1 because if he were born in any other year, that’s what the date would be,” Jessica said.

Diane Habecker is equally excited to celebrate the birthday of her granddaughter, Rylee Nicole Habecker, who was born the same day as Brady.

“It’s her first ‘real’ birthday,” said Diane, who lives in Lititz.

And warm happy birthday wishes go out to U.S. Army Col. Jody Petery, one of four boys born at Ephrata Community Hospital on Feb. 29, 1964.

Jody, was a quarterback for the Cocalico Eagles while Ephrata Review editor Andy Fasnacht was a senior at Ephrata trying to break through the line into his backfield as a member of the Mountaineers in the fall of 1981.

Some might say that seems kind of unfair when you consider Andy was 18 and Jody was only a 4-year-old.

 U.S. Army Col. Jody Petery was one of four boys born at Ephrata Community Hospital on Feb. 29, 1964.

U.S. Army Col. Jody Petery was
one of four boys born at Ephrata
Community Hospital on Feb. 29,
1964.

We salute Col. Petery, who, despite finally becoming a teenager on his 13th birthday Monday, has served many courageous stints overseas.

He was the battalion commander more 800 soldiers in Iraq, trained officers for combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for four years, and now works for the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute in Carlisle.

Joining Jody’s entrance into the world at ECH in 1964 was Kevin Raihl, Ken Althouse, and Daniel Fryberger.

Raihl, of Denver, has a sibling, Corinne Zimmerman, who was born exactly four years later on Leap Day 1968. The odds of that happening? About one in 2 million.

Though born exactly 20 years after the four babies born at ECH, Elizabeth Collins has only five fewer “birthdays” than that group of new teenagers.

Elizabeth was the subject of a newspaper story with two other leap-year babies when she was in first grade.

Jess Spangler lamented some of the downside of her son Brady being a “leaper.”

“It gets rather annoying when you’re trying to fill out online forms and the system doesn’t allow you to choose Feb. 29 as a birthday,” she said.

The most common question posed to leapers, Jess said, “is when do I celebrate his birthday?”

“An article I read shortly after his birth said that around 1 percent of the world population is born on that day, making him extra special,” Jessica said. “That’s why we try to celebrate on Feb. 28 and March 1 in non-Leap Years. On the 28th, he gets a regular cake and half his gifts. On the 1st, he gets an ice cream cake and the other half of his gifts. But we always have a small get-together with family on the weekend closest to his birthday.”

But, since this year is his “first” birthday, “we’re having a big party with family and friends on Feb. 27. He actually understands his birthday this year, so it’s extra fun,” she said.

One really neat fact that Jess pointed out: “Brady won’t be 21 until he’s “actually” 84 years old.”

Patrick Burns is social media editor staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

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