HomeHomeNewsArticle Display

For 20th year, Idaho Air Guard helps deserving kids get bikes

Senior Airman Christopher Christman, 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, helps a child with her new bike provided by the Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids program, May 5, at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Senior Airman Christopher Christman, 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, helps a child with her new bike provided by the Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids program, May 5, at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Master Sgt. Neil Ramey, 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, readies a bike for its new owner alongside Senior Airmen Christiopher Vogl (left) and Christopher Christman as part of the Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids giveaway event May 5 at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Master Sgt. Neil Ramey, 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, readies a bike for its new owner alongside Senior Airmen Christiopher Vogl (left) and Christopher Christman as part of the Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids giveaway event May 5 at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Master Sgt. Neil Ramey, 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, readies a bike for its new owner as part of Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids giveaway event, May 5, at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Master Sgt. Neil Ramey, 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, readies a bike for its new owner as part of Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids giveaway event, May 5, at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Senior Master Sgt. Robert McDonald, vehicle maintenance superintendent for the 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, inflates the tires for a bicycle as part of Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids, May 5, at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. McDonald, who will retire this year after 32 years of service to Idaho and the nation, has volunteered for every one of the 20 Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids events. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Senior Master Sgt. Robert McDonald, vehicle maintenance superintendent for the 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, inflates the tires for a bicycle as part of Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids, May 5, at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. McDonald, who will retire this year after 32 years of service to Idaho and the nation, has volunteered for every one of the 20 Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids events. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Senior Airman Christopher Christman and Tech. Sgt. Jason Fontaine, vehicle maintainers from the 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, install a safety bell on a new bike as part of Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids May 5 at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Senior Airman Christopher Christman and Tech. Sgt. Jason Fontaine, vehicle maintainers from the 124th Logistics Readiness Squadron, install a safety bell on a new bike as part of Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids May 5 at Applebee's Restaurant on Vista Avenue in Boise. For 20 years, Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have transported and provided on-site repairs and adjustments to more than 5,250 bikes for deserving youth who are nominated through local schools. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

BOISE, Idaho -- For the last 20 years, community members, donors, and Idaho Air National Guard volunteers have come together to put helmets and bikes into the hands of well-deserving children in the Boise community as part of Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids.
 
Ten members of the Logistics Readiness Squadron were at Applebee's May 5 with tools and air hoses in hand to help 125 new bike owners get on the road safely. They adjusted brakes, seat height, put air in tires, tightened handle bars, and installed training wheels for the youngest cyclists.

With the help of generous donors and corporate sponsorships, money is raised to purchase the bikes and helmets. Children are preselected to receive a bike through the Boise Schools prior to the event. For some, this is their very first bike. Air Guard volunteers transported boxes of bikes to the assembly area and, once assembled by more volunteers, they delivered them on the morning of the event.

More than 5,200 deserving kids have been given a bike since the event's inception in 1992.
Parents and eager children start showing up at 9 a.m. Kids get a helmet and bike, which is then registered to its new owner. Once Air Guard volunteers help with mechanical adjustments, the Boise Police Department runs them through a bicycle safety course to teach hand signals, tight turning, stopping, and basic bike-handling skills before they leave.
While filling tire after tire of a seemingly endless line of eager bikers, Senior Master Sgt. Robert McDonald, Vehicle Maintenance Superintendent, explained how the Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for kids process works.

"I really enjoy seeing the smiles on the kids' faces," said Sergeant McDonald, who will retire this year after 32 years of service to Idaho and the nation. He has volunteered for every one of the 20 Burgers for Bikes, Bikes for Kids events.

After a firm final turn of the wrench by Staff Sgt. Chance Gannette, the seat was tight and a tiny pink bike with sparkly tassels was ready to go home with little wide-eyed, patient young cyclist.

"I enjoy seeing kids get something they will enjoy and use to get them outside and exercise," said Sergeant Gannette, who volunteered for the second time.

Layni Culley, mother of three, Dakota, 12, Dallas, 10, and Kaitlyn, 7, knew her kids would put their new bikes and helmets to good use because they live just beyond the cutoff for bus transportation to school and they will now be able to ride their bikes to school.

Dakota Culley explained what he liked most about his new black and grey mountain bike while casually flipping through the owner's manual:

"It pedals really nice and the right break works great. I don't use the left because it will flip you over the handle bars; I learned that once," the veteran rider said.

From the beginning, the Air National Guard was identified as a great volunteer partner based on their capabilities and strong reputation for community service. They gladly accepted the challenge and have been involved every year since.

"We know you'll will be on time with the right equipment, with the right attitude, ready to help and stay until the job is done," said Heather Price, event organizer.

"Thank you so much for the 20 years of help, it's been a great partnership," she said.