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Christmas bikes are ready to roll

Lincolnton Christian Academy students learned more than how to fix up cars after they helped donate new bicycles to needy kids.
The students, who take a class on the basics of auto body collision at Auto Body Solutions on Car Farm Rd. in Lincolnton, were willing participants in the bicycle drive.
“You can always help others, no matter how much you have,” said junior Thomas Story. “It makes you feel better about yourself.”
Roger Calhoun, class instructor and CEO of Auto Body Solutions, spearheaded the drive. ABS is a conglomerate of companies that assist with a variety of automotive needs.
He was inspired to start the Christmastime effort five years ago, after listening to the song “Paper Angels” by personal friend Jimmy Wayne, a successful country musician.
Released in 2003, “Paper Angels” details Wayne’s experiences growing up poor in a variety of foster homes.
“It`s our opportunity to help people who can’t help themselves,” said Calhoun. “Everyone should.”
Calhoun and others secured some five bikes and a myriad of smaller toys for the first gift drive.
The drive has grown tremendously since then. This year, donations provided for 52 new bicycles. Other local businesses, families and retailers contributed to this increase.
“For some of the kids, it’s the nicest thing they`ll get for Christmas, maybe all year,” said Calhoun.
A major Lincolnton retailer helped tremendously, securing a heavily-discounted price for the bicycles, thus enabling Calhoun the ability to purchase more than he initially expected.
Land was impressed with the student’s action and spirit of volunteerism.
Rather than simply asking for money or other contributions, students learned a lot by actively participating, according to Land.
The local response to the drive also struck Land. “It’s good to see how the community has responded to taking care of the less fortunate,” he said.
In addition to Auto Body Solution’s financial support, local businesses and community members also contributed. These include Ed and Mary Mills, Tim and Pam Shain, Kirby and Twyla Sechrist, Maiden Animal Hospital, Piedmont Express and Caldwell Grading.
In the past, students had to put the bicycles together themselves. This year, employees of the major retailer chipped in and assembled the bikes free of charge.
Rodney Moody, auto class instructor, believes that volunteerism influences and inspires students greatly.
“This helps show students that there`s more to life than what typical society offers,” said Moody.
Calhoun expects all 52 bikes to be picked up by today. Some organizations such as Christian Ministries and the Lincolnton Fire Department will secure a few for particular children, while others will be picked up by individual families.
Haley Greene, a junior at the school, helped collect bikes and considers herself lucky to have had this experience.
“Some kids don’t have anything,” she said. “If we’re fortunate enough to have, we need to give back.”
Billy Oxentine, also a junior, discovered just how close-to-home need is.
“There are a lot more people in Lincoln County who need this than you might think,” said Oxentine. “It’s good to help out.”
by Katie Rozycki

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