Christmas wish: Bike giveaway is Dec. 21 at Central Christian Church

Published 9:23 am Thursday, December 12, 2019

For the better part of a decade, John Dickess, owner of Dickess Auto Repair, and Don Schwartz, manager of Advance Auto Parts in Ironton, have made it their mission to help out kids in need by making sure they get at least one big gift, a new bicycle, for Christmas.

This year, their annual Christmas-time Lawrence County Bike Giveaway will be at Central Christian Church in Ironton at noon on Saturday, Dec. 21.

The two gather funds throughout the year to get bikes for as many kids as they can.

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“We have a lot of extra used bikes this year,” Dickess said. “We want people that haven’t signed up yet call us or come to the giveaway and we will have extra used ones we can give away. They are fixed up and have good tires on them.”

Dickess and Schwartz are still taking names for the list of new bikes.

“We have covered all 12 preschools this year,” Dickess said. “So, we want to try to reach out to as many people as we can.”

The two men have been doing the bike giveaway since 2011 and try to give out between 150-200 bikes.

“This year, we may be a little short, but we are probably in the range of 150 bikes,” Dickess said. “When we first started, we gave away nearly 500 bikes, but that is a lot to take on and we can’t get the volunteers to help us like that anymore.”

He said all the money comes from the Lawrence County community.

They donate the money and we put it all together,” Dickess said. “We’ve had people donate $100, we’ve had people donate $10 and we have donated people who donated $1,000.

Dickess said the reason for getting bikes for kids for Christmas is because when he was young, he thought getting a bike was “the greatest thing and a lot of people, they can buy smaller gifts, but they can’t buy bigger gifts. And we are just trying to get the boys and girls the bigger gift for Christmas.”

And it gets kids outside and active.

“You hear parents complaining because their kids don’t go outside, they just sit on the computer,” Dickess said. “This is one way to get them out there.”

And long before Dickess was repairing cars for a living, he was working on bicycles.

“I’d have five or six bicycles at a time, always working on them and fixing them up,” he said. “I’d let other kids ride them in the annual Christmas parade. So, it was something I was fond of.”

After bikes, he learned to repair lawnmowers and then “the next thing you know, I’m working on cars,” he said.

To get a name on the list for the bicycle giveaway, call 740-532-1220 and ask for Debbie.

The public is invited to attend the giveaway.