“My daughters and nephews they had the best time!!! Thank you all so much!!! He was so pumped he would not take the helmet off even when he got home!!” This was one of the comments we received from a participant in Bikes & Badges 2021. When we started on this journey, shortly after Bikes & Badges 2020 ended, we didn’t realize how much happiness these events would spread. It was a privilege to see the joy on the faces of the kids, parents, volunteers, and officers at the giveaway events.
Beyond that, it was wonderful to see everyone coming together to make this happen for the children and their parents. It took us a couple of months of work and a lot of effort from many people to accomplish this, and we are so grateful to all of them. We’d like to highlight, and thank, some of those people so you can share in that joy as well.
The 614cadets and their leadership team, who work with us on so many of our Assignments and who always do so with such delight. From helping us with Operation Hotdog, to delivering flyers about Cops & Gobblers at Rosewind, to putting stickers in books for Books & Badges, to helping with our AEP Ohio Coat Drive, they’re always there when we need them and Bikes & Badges was no exception. They picked up and fixed bikes and helped with distribution and did so with a smile. A great example is Cadet Christy, who was observed by Starfish Board Member Yee Hang spending nearly 30 minutes with a first-time bike rider, helping him learn to ride. By the end of the tutoring session, the rider was able to go 20 feet without any assistance.
Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, for opening up their facilities to us and helping us to get bicycles to kids who would love them. As always, they are wonderful partners. The City is lucky to have them, and we are incredibly fortunate to be able to partner with them.
CME Federal Credit Union, the Wartel Family Foundation, The Ohio State University Police Division, the officers at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, and Starfish supporters, who all donated bicycles and/or funds to make this happen. Not only did we need bicycles, but those bicycles needed repairs, which meant we needed to purchase parts. Thank you!
Speaking of parts, towards the end of the Assignment, we went to buy additional items from Cyclist Connection in Canal Winchester. They’d heard about Bikes & Badges and donated the parts we needed. How sweet!
Byers Auto Group for donating bicycles and lending us technicians to help with bike repair. Oh, and a unicycle. We shall not forget the fun of that unicycle they gave us!
The Department of Neighborhoods Columbus and RREACT Team for coming to all four of our events. They not only helped make the events fun, but they gave out items to help keep the attendees safe for the future. Department of Neighborhoods gave out bike helmets and other safety items, and the RREACT Team offered Narcan to anyone who needed it.
Columbus Division of Fire for helping us get all those bikes clean in a very creative way—bringing one of their fire trucks to our warehouse so we’d have water to wash them.
Our Starfish board members and volunteers, including Andrew Crockett, who was able to haul 50+ bikes for us on his trailer; Nicole Mavromatis, who put her video editing skills to great use for us; Mario Dovell, who coordinated with all the rec centers for us (including his own!); Jack Carlin and Yee Hang, who both offered their Bikes & Badges 2020 expertise to make sure this year was a success (in addition to volunteering); and Suzanne Maginn and Jen Tatz, who answered hundreds of emails and organized everyone’s information onto a spreadsheet (yowza!!).
We want to say a special thank you to our friends at Dublin Police Department for their help. Not only did they donate spiffy green helmets and help with each of our events, but they held a bike drive in which more than 200 bikes were donated. Because of their efforts, we were able to increase our Bikes & Badges events from the originally scheduled three to four. That's right--the South Side event happened completely because of them and their residents. So, we say it again: Thank you, Dublin. ☘
Finally, we want to thank Columbus Division of Police. Thank you for allowing us to partner with you to help people in the community, and thank you for supporting this specific Assignment in such a big way. There are many officers and units that came together to make this special for the children and their families, but we’d like to highlight a few of them: CPD’s General Staff, who are always so kind, helpful, and willing to work with us; Detective Sean Taylor, whose idea to give bikes to children in Wedgewood started all of this in 2020; Acting Commander Tim Myers, who in addition to his duties supervising Zone 3 (West Side), handled all the logistical demands of Bikes & Badges with a smile; Sergeant Andre Tate and Officer Julien Roffey, who led the pick-up and repairs aspect of Bikes & Badges and put in a TON of hours to make it a success; the many officers who worked on repairing bikes, both at the warehouse and on-site, including Lieutenant Justin Coleman and Officers Scott Clinger, Abbey Kesler, Rich Kindler, Alex Mottinger, Dan Snyder, and Andrew Welke; and Starfish Board Member and CPD Deputy Chief Tim Becker, who worked on every aspect of the 2020 Bikes Assignment with us, then started helping us to plan the 2021 event as soon as that ended. Yes, we’re already talking about 2022. He’s always there for us, and we really appreciate him.
While we are no longer accepting bike donations this year, Franklinton Cycle Works will happily take your bikes in any condition. You can drop them off at 897 West Broad St. Columbus, OH 43222. Thank you for your support.
What’s next you ask? Cops & Barbers in August with our friends at AEP Ohio! For now, we hope you've enjoyed this stroll through the photos of Bikes & Badges 2021 and that at least one of them made you smile.