Just a few days before Camp Paradise and RISE Camp, the Foundation received a phone call from The Foundation for Possibilities representing private donors Don O’Brien and Jodi Gaunt, who were interested in donating 50 brand new bicycles to deserving Chester children. The beneficiaries didn’t know how to go about finding the right kids to give the bikes to, so they were reaching out to the Andrew L. Hicks, Jr. Foundation to help identify the right kids. The Foundation decided to leave the choosing of those children to the Counselors and Chaperones at camp. Every cabin nominated 3 exceptional campers who demonstrated leadership and exemplified the following attributes: respectful, agreeable, cooperative, enthusiastic, kind, compassionate, helpful, responsible, motivational, encouraging and gratitude!
50 campers were chosen and secret phone calls were made to their parents to congratulate them and ask them to attend the Bike GiveAway with their child, but not to spoil the surprise. The Foundation reached out Fire Commissioner Travis Thomas at the Chester Fire Department to ask if the bikes could be hidden inside the fire department and then given away to the children on Saturday, September 10th.
With the support of many firefighters who helped to unload the delivery truck, set the bikes in place and prepare the firehouse to hold the large crowd, the bikes were hidden from the attendees with a huge ladder truck. After the children were all gathered, they listened to Mrs. Hicks praise them for their admirable behavior at camp and then announce that a reward was waiting for them behind the firetruck.
With a shout of “Move that truck”, the bikes, adorned with brand new beautiful bike helmets donated by Dan Knisely, were revealed to their new owners! Dan was able to procure the bikes for the event through Danzeisen & Quigley of Cherry Hill, NJ, who sold the bikes at cost.
Thanks to the Chester Fire Department and Police Department, 14th street between Providence and Edgmont Ave. was closed down so that the kids could try out their new bikes. Everyone had their helmets and seats adjusted and got to practice on their new wheels.
The crowd gathered up again inside the firehouse to listen to Aaron Johnson of Foundation for Possibilities give a short inspirational speech, and then heard from Don O’Brien who gifted the kids with the bikes.
Don shared about how he grew up without much and always saw other kids with bikes but never had one himself. He dreamed that if he ever had the means, he would buy bicycles for others. He thanked the campers who earned their gifts for being a part of his dream and encouraged them to “Dream”, “Believe and “Love”. The afternoon concluded with a fantastic luncheon for the kids and the first responders, sponsored by Foundation for Possibilities and On The Border.
Both Deputy Fire Commissioner William Rigby and Police Chief Nolan, had the opportunity to speak to the kids about bicycle safety, rules of the road, hand signals and how to protect their new bicycles. It was a fantastic day, and a really fun way to kick off the new school year!
Don O’Brien and Jodi Gaunt
Foundation for Possibilities
Danzeisen & Quigley
Chester Fire Department
Chester Police Department
On The Border