NEWPORT BEACH — Twelve years ago, he began patrolling parking lots, distributing crime alerts and checking homes while families were away on vacation.
That was back when Earl Fusselman was only 81.
Now, more than a decade later, Fusselman continues to serve as volunteer with the Newport Beach Police Department.
On Wednesday afternoon, NBPD members quietly waited in a conference room to surprise him with a birthday party in advance of his 94th, which is Saturday.
As Fusselman walked in, staffers hushed. A cake filled with raspberry jam, some star-shaped balloons and about 50 birthday cards awaited him.
Nearly 40 NBPD staff members and volunteers shouted "Surprise!" as he opened the door.
"You think it's a holiday or something?" Fusselman joked.
Over cake, he told members of the department about another memorable surprise in his long life.
A beautiful woman, startled by a mouse running across the floor of a Mexican restaurant, unexpectedly jumped into his lap. That woman ended up becoming his wife of 44 years.