By Melissa Roy
Advancing Macomb has hit the ground pedaling in 2017 with the great success of Macomb County’s East Side Bike Drive bike collection. As the first-ever county-wide bike drive, we are all immensely grateful for everyone who made phase one possible. From our members, partners and volunteers to the cities and townships who provided collection points throughout the county. From inception to collection, the community spirit rose with great enthusiasm throughout and around Macomb County. Phase one yielded 800 bikes from eight communities across the county.
Phase two began earlier in January with two workshops to repair the bicycles – one in Mt. Clemens and another on the Detroit / Warren border. Workshops are taking place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from the beginning of January through the end of March.
A big thanks to Rhonda Powell and Steve Schuster with Macomb County for hosting at The Family Resource Center in Mt. Clemens. It is looking like we are using every square inch!
A big thanks to Tom Petzold for hosting a space at the Belmont Shopping Center. Tom and his head of maintenance, Fred Wolfe, stepped up immediately to help out. They have been wonderfully hospitable and provided great space!
Ten volunteers banded together in December to set up the Belmont site. It was an amazing display of team work – thank you everyone!
Now that the workshops are underway, we have a team of over 40 volunteers working together on bike repairs between both locations.
A special note must be given to Gary Babich. Since November, Gary has been going to the bike workshop every week to get the area prepped, the bikes sorted and identifying our primary needs for bike repairs. He, his wife Helga, and nephew have made great progress and are the very embodiment of community spirit.
Advancing Macomb is fortunate to have great partners to make the bike drive possible. CARE of Southeast Michigan, No Bike Left Behind, The Macomb YMCA, Leadership Macomb, The Macomb County Executive Office and Thoughtful Missions Fundraising working together make this a great initiative. A special note on Arnold Gomez and Gerry Paz from NBLB. They brought bike repair racks, set up work stations at the workshop and shared their intake system to get us rolling – thanks, guys!
This would not have been possible without the enthusiastic participation of the cities and townships
throughout the county. A special thanks to the following individuals:
Deputy Clinton Township Supervisor Liz Vogel and Clinton Township Recreation Director Frank Pizzo. Liz and Frank’s enthusiasm was fun, positive and contagious! A huge thanks for not only collecting 200 bikes, but also being the best unofficial cheerleading squad a bike drive could ever ask for.
Macomb Township Supervisor, Janet Dunn immediately made the first donation after the bike drive was announced at a summer MACRO (Macomb Area Communities for Regional Opportunities) meeting.
Roseville-Eastpointe Recreation Director Tony Lipinski and Cammie Kanakry. Tony and Cammie’s team collected almost 200 bikes. Combined with Clinton Township, these two communities assembled about half of the total collected bikes.
A huge thanks to Brad Bates in Shelby Township, Kyle Langois in Sterling Heights, Brian Tingley and Jeff Wood in Mt. Clemens, Washington Township Supervisor Dan O’Leary and Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest. All of these communities enthusiastically stepped up and even collected bikes beyond their designated collection times.
We would like to give a special thanks to Ken Koster and Larry Roy for doing several rounds of bike pick-ups. Without them, we would still be picking up bikes!
None of this would have been possible without the residents of Macomb County and neighboring
communities. Residents throughout our communities donated their bicycles to give every kid a chance to know the pleasure and freedom of riding a bicycle. Thank you for your generosity and loving spirits!
Happy 2017 to all throughout Macomb and Metro Detroit!