Bikes for Tykes supplies 100 new bikes to kids

PARKERSBURG – For about 100 local children, Christmas came a few days early in the form of new bicycles through the annual Bikes for Tykes program of the Wood County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

Despite a heavy rainfall Saturday morning, dozens of local families gathered at the former sheriff’s office on Second Street to pick up their children’s new bicycles, which were handed out by uniformed deputies and Santa Claus.

Association president Sgt. David Bussey said the bike giveaway has been a tradition for the WCDSA for more than a decade.

The association purchased 100 bicycles for children from toddlers to teens, which were given away Saturday morning to families referred to the WCDSA by the Salvation Army. Bussey cited the south Parkersburg K-Mart as one of the biggest sources of help in getting all of the bicycles for the children.

The association holds a couple of fund drives each year to help with the bicycle giveaway, he said, adding the association also gives away a small number of bicycles each summer during its picnic for local children.

“With the help of the community and their donations, we’re able to purchase these bikes,” he said.

In addition to the bicycles, Bussey said a bag of candy and small gifts was included with each bicycle.

“This is a big event for us,” Bussey said of the Bikes for Tykes program. “We look forward to it. It’s always fun and anytime you can make a kid happy, it’s a good day so we enjoy it tremendously,” he said.

Seven-year-old Autumn Fowler of Parkersburg was among the children picking up a new bicycle Saturday.

“I think it’s a good program,” said Susan Fowler of Parkersburg. “It’s bringing the community all together and makes them aware that they’re here for them, that the sheriff’s department is here for them,” she said of the relationship between the children and the deputies.

“I like it,” 9-year-old Hannah Longwell of Davisville said joyfully of her new bicycle as she rode it toward her family’s vehicle.

Bill Wright, an instructor at the Wood County Technical Center, said nearly 40 students in the collision repair and automotive repair classes from all three high schools worked for five days to assemble all 100 bicycles given away Saturday. Several of the students were at Saturday’s giveaway to help adjust seats and make other last minute fixes for the children.

“We’ve done this every year since it started in Parkersburg,” Wright said of the students’ assistance. “We look forward to it and enjoy it.”