Community Christmas Bike Program a Huge Success in Artesia and Lovinton, New Mexico
Pictures of the Artesia Community Bike Build and a video of the bike reveal is on our Facebook Page, “Ride for Bikes”
Pictures of bike build and video of bike reveal for Lovington is here; http://www.lovingtonschools.net/
Ready for immediate release.
Ride for Bikes, a 501 (c) (3) public charity, is pleased to announce that on Saturday December 9th the New Mexico towns of Artesia and Lovington experienced a Christmas miracle. Over 260 volunteers gathered together to give 512 children a new bike and a very Merry Christmas. The Ride for Bikes community bike build has been going on in Artesia for twelve years. This year marks the first time the build was done in Lovington.
In both cities people showed up to assemble bikes, inspect and repair bikes, air up over 1,000 tires and tag each bike individually with a child’s name. The effort was headed up by Build Leaders and directors Curt Pittam – Artesia and Sarah Long – Lovington. The community bike build began at 8 AM with a quick briefing then the halls were filed with the sound of boxes being ripped open and wrenches being put to nuts and bolts.
Volunteers happily came from everywhere. There were many from Holly Frontier, Western Bank, Nor Lea Hospital District, Border Patrol Agents and Border Patrol Explorers, the Police and Fire Departments and the Liano Elementary staff. All were busy putting bikes together and tagging the bikes. The Los Perdonados Motor Cycle club lent a hand in inspecting and repairing bikes, a job they have been performing for the Community Bike Build since it began.
The Air Force, the group responsible for inflating over 1,000 tires, was led by Mariano and Jennifer Ezpinosa in Artesia and Wayne Flowers in Lovington. The group had an air compressor and hose stations set up to facilitate the inflation of 20-inch bicycle tires.
Amy Molinar and the Nor Lea Hospital staff helped a lot by building bikes and tagging bikes in Lovington. The hospital gave each student a new bicycle helmet and conducted a bicycle safety class for the students in Lovington. They also brought in their recycle bins so that the cardboard bike boxes got recycled.
There was even a bit of royalty at the community bike build, as Miss Artesia – Ashly Letcher worked at the bike build in Artesia and Abigail Woody – Miss Lea County assembled bikes in Lovington.
Mitzi McCaleb, Grand Heights principle and Kim Crowley, Llano Elementary principle, had their staff and volunteers tagging bikes and most importantly arranging the 500+ bikes in their gymnasiums for the big bike reveal to the kids Monday morning. The children made Christmas cards for the wounded troops as their community service.
This was the first year for the community bike build in Lovington. It began in July when Ride for Bikes founding director, Robby Gaines emailed Eloy Hernandez to discuss the plan to include Lovington in this Christmas bike tradition. Eloy went immediately to work to round up volunteers and help.
“We were so impressed by the quality of work and organization from Eloy that we have asked him to join us as a director,” Gaines said.
“There were months of planning and many meetings and the whole thing went well,” commented Sarah Long, Lovington Build Leader and Ride for Bikes director.
The bike wranglers are an important part of the build. They keep the bikes moving through the assembly process and pick up the boxes and trash. These volunteers, mostly young adults were led by Cindy Hazelbaker in Artesia and Coach Gonzales in Lovington.
The community bike build began Friday morning with bicycles being picked up at the Wal-Marts in Artesia and in Hobbs. Lou, Co-Manager in Artesia and Erin Co-Manager in Hobbs were both instrumental in making the purchase of bikes easy. Erin in Hobbs even recruited her staff to help load the bikes in the waiting transports.
Transportation of the bikes from Wal-Mart to the assembly areas and then to the schools was donated by Cap Logistics, J & J Trucking and Legendary Services.
“Their help is greatly appreciated as without it we could not get so many bikes delivered to the children,” commented Brandi Shetterly-Kelsey, Ride for Bikes director of logistics. “And Judy Butcher with Cap Logistics was in constant communication keeping us informed.”
Behind the scenes Jessica Caballero, Ride for Bikes director publicity, worked on getting the word out using social media such as Facebook to promote the event. Pictures of the event and a video of the children receiving their bikes is on the Ride for Bikes Facebook page.
Helping Curt in the Artesia build and keeping everybody organized and on track was Michele Brito who is the Ride for Bikes director of the Ride to Meet the Challenge Scholarship program which takes place in the spring.
Ride for Bikes would like to say thank you to the hundreds of volunteers and donors who make this holiday tradition possible. The name, Community Bike Build” says it all. Pictures of the community bike build and of the children receiving the bikes are posted, see above.
And there is still time to donate. See details on this website. Checks can be made out to and mailed to;
Ride for Bikes GAF
Post Office Box 1344
Artesia, NM 88211-1344
Or donate online at www.rideforbikes.com