ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) – It didn’t matter what the color was, if it was a hand me down from your sister or brand new from the store.
No matter how long ago it happened, you always will remember your first bicycle.
“I think I was like eight years old. Back in my day, you got one present and if you got a bike, that was something big,” said Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti.
Stammitti knows the joy that first bike brought him and so does the rest of the folks in the department.
Over the course of the year, the staff raised money to help folks in their county this Christmas. This year, they decided to not only give out toys but bikes to children and young adults.
“That’s what we’re here for, to serve the community and this way we can give back a little bit, and the employees have pitched in all year and they know these are great causes.” Stammitti said.
It’s a great idea, but where were you going to find 50 children’s bikes with a cost that wouldn’t break the budget?
The answer was just a couple miles away on Middle Avenue. The Elyria Bicycle Center is a nonprofit that takes old bikes and puts them back on the road.
When the sheriff’s department called Ed Stewart and the volunteers who work here, they jumped at the challenge.
“If someone is going to be given a bike, they don’t want something that doesn’t look nice, so we’re trying to find 50 bikes that are in really good condition,” Stewart said.
These bikes are in really good condition. In fact, most of them just needed a little tweak here and there because most children’s bikes just get put away once the child gets too big to ride them.
These are ready for a new child to ride. It’s something that Stewart says brings him the most joy.
“To see a kid get his first bike, they get just so excited,” Stewart said.
The sheriff’s department toy and bike giveaway will be held on December 18 at the bike shop on Middle Avenue.
The bikes and toys will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
It’s just one of the many things that the sheriff’s department says they do to help and not just at Christmas.
They have a school supply pantry available now for area teachers and do a lot of other outreach during the year.
It’s a small part of what they do, but an effort they hope in a year of many ups and downs will go a long way to keep the community moving forward.
Some folks will do that on a bicycle this Christmas.