Students help assemble bikes
No sooner had John Dickess and Don Schwartz added a newly assembled bicycle to the rows of bikes in the parking lot of the former Papa Johns building in Ironton on Friday, they were on their way back inside to get another one.
“I’m glad we got these volunteers,” Schwartz, who co-organizes the giveaway with Dickess, said. “They are doing a great job and doing it fast.”
Collins Career Center T and I supervisor Mike Staton brought 20 carpentry, auto collision and auto mechanics technician students who formed an assembly line-like system using boxes. Forty-one of the 180 bikes scheduled for assembly were completed in the first hour.
“We’ll do more next hour,” one student said. “We will only go up from here.”
Although Dickess and Schwartz agree that the 280 bikes that have been purchased so far is a lot, they still have their eyes on the goal of 350.
“When the money comes in, we go get them,” Schwartz said. “We will buy until the day before and even day of the giveaway.”
Dickess and Schwartz made a trip this past Thursday to South Point Walmart and spent $2,800 on bikes. It’s one of the many trips to Walmart they have made to this point.
“Longest part of this entire process is going to Walmart and buying 100 bikes in one trip,” Dickess said.
“We load them in our trucks and haul them back to Ironton. We had to do that four times.”
Walmart, Dickess said, has committed employees to help with the giveaway on Dec. 20.
“It makes me feel good that people trust us and support us in doing this,” Dickess said. “People donate money and they know buying bikes is what we are going to do with it.”
Volunteer Michelle Sturgill was in charge of loading empty bicycle boxes on a flatbed. She jumped on the stacks to break down the edges to create more room.
“I think this bike giveaway is just great,” she said. “People can really benefit from this. A lot of parents can’t provide for their kids and around here, we look out for our own. We give back.”
This year’s Lawrence County Bicycle Giveaway is at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20, in the Ironton High School Auditorium. Call 740-532-1220 for more information or to volunteer. Donations are always accepted.