Employees chip in for bike giveaway

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 18, 2011


Finding a shiny new bicycle under the tree on Christmas morning is practically a rite of passage for children.

Unfortunately, many children do not get to have that joyous experience because of financial hardships faced by some families.

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But thanks to employees at Advance Auto Parts and Dickess Auto Repair in Ironton, some children will have the chance to have a Christmas dream realized.

The employees of both stores have pitched in to buy bicycles for four lucky children, two boys and two girls, whose names will be drawn Dec. 23.

Advance manager Don Schwartz said his employees wanted to forgo their own holiday party and gift exchange to do something for children who really needed a happy Christmas.

“Everybody that works here chipped in,” Schwartz said. “One customer chipped in while we were standing here talking about it.”

With the money collected, the group bought two 20-inch bikes, one for a boy and a girl. Soon after, John Dickess, owner of neighboring Dickess Auto Repair, wanted to help get some smaller bikes for younger children. So his employees joined in to help and bought two 16-inch bikes, one for a girl and a boy.

Schwartz and Dickess got the bicycles from the Walmart in Ashland and said the manager gave them a deal.

“Walmart has been really super,” Schwartz said. “We got better bicycles than we had money for.”

This is the first year for the employees of both stores to collaborate for gifts. Schwartz said he had done a similar project when he worked at the Kenova, W.Va., Advance.

“It was really kind of cool because the families brought in video cameras,” he said. “It was nice. Plus it made some kids happy.”

“The employees are doing this on their own,” Dickess said. “This isn’t a company thing. This is an employee thing.”

Both Dickess and Schwartz said they would welcome any donations from the community to buy more bikes.

“It could grow into something bigger if somebody else wanted to pitch in,” Dickess said. “If we can buy more bicycles, we’ll buy more bicycle.”

After the names are drawn on Dec. 23, bikes will be given on Christmas Eve.

To donate or enter the drawing, visit either store located on Park Avenue.

“It’s just one of those things, you don’t know what to do to help but you want to do something to help,” Dickess said. “So we figured this is the best way to try and help if we can.”