Bicycle assembly at Bayhealth in Dover a fulfilling service

DOVER — Kyle Adams was more than ready to put some bikes together on Monday.

After all, it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Delaware State University’s associate director of athletics was eager to serve the community.

Mr. Adams was one of 60 volunteers who attended the Free Bikes 4 Kidz event hosted by Bayhealth at the Blue Hen Corporate Center site.

He stated: “We believe it is really important to carry on the legacy of Dr. King, and being at a (historically black university) centrally located in Dover and Kent County, we connect and give back to young people in this community. I think with our student-athletes having the opportunity to attend Delaware State University to play Division I track and field comes a responsibility.

“We want to build a strong relationship with our student athletes and the young people in this community. We believe this is a great opportunity to do so.”

Working at the same table was Delaware state women’s lacrosse coach Pamella Jenkins, who said she expected 10 to 15 team members to participate.

“When I heard about the event, I said without hesitation, ‘Absolutely. I’m here’” she said.

And as for the Hornet athletes, she added: “It’s important that they give back, especially when they go to an HBCU on MLK day. So you have the opportunity to play Division I lacrosse, so it’s also important that you get out there and also that you’re able to give back to the community.”

Just minutes into the meeting, Mr. Adams described the work as “fun and I really enjoy it. I don’t know if I assembled a bike from its infancy, but I’m really excited about it. I can feel it coming together.”

The volunteers were to build bikes within six hours, and the equipment would eventually be given to children in need. There were 277 bikes donated by Kent Bicycles and any bikes not assembled at the end of the session would be assembled at another time, Bayhealth spokeswoman Kalee Sexton said.

organizer dr Bayhealth’s chief wellness officer Tom Vaughan said the healthcare system became involved less than two weeks ago.

But just minutes after his first event, Dr. Vaughan surrounded by a whirlwind of activity.

“We were incredibly surprised by the turnout,” he said. “People showed up and just jumped in and started putting bikes together. The way it all comes together is incomprehensible. We had put an announcement online and within two days 60 out of 60 spots were filled.”

Benefactors will go beyond the children receiving bikes, he added.

“Every child is likely to have something they didn’t expect, but ultimately it benefits everyone,” said Dr. Vaughan. “It benefits volunteers by giving them the opportunity to help people in the community and work on things that you might have a passion for.

“The children benefit for health reasons. Getting them off TV and social media and pedaling away can also broaden their world focus by getting on (their) bike and exploring the world.”

Jay Biggs, 82, of Greenwood, just started building his first bike just after noon. He wasn’t sure how long it would take.

“I have to organize all the parts first and then get going,” he said, but he expected his general knowledge of bike repairs to get him through.

“I’ve been working on bikes since I was a kid, so I guess I’ll summarize all the knowledge I’ve picked up over the years.”

Until he was 13, Mr. Biggs never rode a bike that wasn’t out of his hands.

So he added, “If I can put together a new one that goes to a kid, I’m more than happy to do it.”

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