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12-12-12 Marking a birthday milestone

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Twelve has always been a significant number for Tony Rees.

Born on the 12th day of the 12th month made the date standout at a time when birthdays in December may be overwhelmed by Christmas.

As he was faced with joining the 39-and-holding club, Rees said he wasn’t even thinking of that other 12.

“It didn’t even occur to me this year until a friend of mine pointed out the 12-12-12, I didn’t even think about it,” Rees said. “I thought it was pretty cool. It would have been really weird to have my golden birthday on 12-12-12.”

Rees already has a job numerous people covet. He drives the Zamboni at the Brainerd Area Civic Center and Gold Metal Arena among other maintenance duties.

“It is fun,” Rees said, albeit a little repetitive. With hockey and skating patrons watching every move, Rees said the challenge is not to slip or fall, especially when getting off the Zamboni to remove that last bit of slush by hand.

He doesn’t expect Wednesday to be any different than the usual work day. His typical birthday means hanging out with family and ordering pizza. For 12-12-12, Rees said his brother plans to pick him up after work so the celebration may be a little more involved this year.

“They want to take me out after work,” he said.

Rees has called the lakes area home since he was 10 and moved here from St. Paul with his family, including a younger brother and sister. His birthday celebration was often combined with his younger brother’s, which is separated by about a week. And then there is the other birth commemorated later in the month.

“You get used to it though so it’s OK,” Rees said of combined December celebrations.

In addition to his work for the city, Rees is in the law enforcement program at Central Lakes College and is pursuing a career in the field.

“I’m just kind of waiting to see,” Rees said of how this once-a-century birthday may be different. According to, this is the last repeating date for 89 years.

He has another connection to this date as his daughter is 12. He also has a 15-year-old son. Rees and his son are interested in restoring classic cars, especially Mustangs.

The Associated Press noted people are betting on good fortune with the arrival of 12-12-12, getting married at 12:12 p.m. and going to the 12-12-12 Superstorm Sandy charity concert at Madison Square Garden.

A dedicated Vikings fan, down to a tattoo, Rees’ dream birthday would have been to see his favorite team play at Lambeau Field.

“It would be an awesome game to go to,” Rees said of the recent match-up there. “You’d be the enemy there going in with your purple and gold.”

Pro football is looking to its quarterbacks to link to the date. The Wisconsin state Legislature designated the Wednesday as Aaron Rodgers Day and the New England Patriots planned a series of events in honor of Tom Brady. Both wear No. 12.

For those who study numerology, Wednesday’s date apparently represents two energies merging. Rees said he was curious about what meaning was attributed to the date.

As for 12, he said: “It’s always been my favorite number, too.”

So that midweek birthday that may have been routine will be anything but as those without a personal link take note of the moment in time and those with birthdays and significant anniversaries enjoy a special calendar moment.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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