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Union VFD provided a merry Christmas for area children

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.
“We’ve been doing it since back in the ’70s,” said Captain Gary Stevenson with the Hickory Fire Department. “They started out just taking used bicycles and the fire fighters would try to repair them and give them out to needy children at Christmas.”
Stevenson implemented the program and incorporated it at the Union Fire Department, where he is a member, this year.
“He talked about it so much that we decided to do it,” said Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Yount with the Union Fire Department.
Stevenson hopes the program will spread across counties, including Lincoln.
“These guys at Union are a good bunch of guys,” he said. “We have needy people in Lincoln County as well, and I’m just hoping it’ll bleed over into the community.”
Seven bicycles were donated, along with helmets provided by Lincoln County Emergency Management.
“We only had three families that had the need that we found on such short notice,” Yount said. “We gave those away and kept one.”
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.
“This year alone, we brought over 600 brand new bicycles,” Stevenson said.
Yount believes the program at Union was a success, and he has high expectations for the future.
“We`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,” 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

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