With the help of the Union Fire Department, children in the west Lincoln area received bicycles for Christmas.
Fire fighters donated bicycles to families through the Bikes-for-Tykes program, which began at the Hickory Fire Department.
â€œWeâ€™ve been doing it since back in the â€™70s,â€ said Captain Gary Stevenson with the Hickory Fire Department. â€œThey started out just taking used bicycles and the fire fighters would try to repair them and give them out to needy children at Christmas.â€
Stevenson implemented the program and incorporated it at the Union Fire Department, where he is a member, this year.
â€œHe talked about it so much that we decided to do it,â€ said Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Yount with the Union Fire Department.
Stevenson hopes the program will spread across counties, including Lincoln.
â€œThese guys at Union are a good bunch of guys,â€ he said. â€œWe have needy people in Lincoln County as well, and Iâ€™m just hoping itâ€™ll bleed over into the community.â€
Seven bicycles were donated, along with helmets provided by Lincoln County Emergency Management.
â€œWe only had three families that had the need that we found on such short notice,â€ Yount said. â€œWe gave those away and kept one.â€
The bike was kept in case a family in the area fell victim to a house fire.
Bikes-for-Tykes in Catawba County also proved to be a success. The Hickory Fire Department raised around $10,000 this year.
â€œThis year alone, we brought over 600 brand new bicycles,â€ Stevenson said.
Yount believes the program at Union was a success, and he has high expectations for the future.
â€œWe`re just glad to be a part of that and hopefully we can expand it to make it bigger to encompass the whole county in the coming years,â€ he said.
Anyone interested in the program or wanting to donate a bicycle can contact the Union Fire Department at (704) 276-2944.
by Maribeth Kiser