SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s not the way most kids receive their first bike. But for the children at Springfield’s Washington Street School, it’s a moment they will never forget.
Despite being diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease Bob Charland works tirelessly to fix up bikes for kids in need. This time however, Charland was able to donate all brand new bikes to kids because of donations from the community.
On Thursday afternoon, he once again loaded up bikes into the back of his and some friends’ pick-up trucks and headed off to the school.
“I was super surprised and I really like it because green is my favorite color,” a Washington Street School student said. “I’ve rode a bike, but I still need some practice.”
In addition to monetary donations, Charland had a lot of support from the community. Law enforcement officers now join him for every school drop-off: Springfield Police and State Police from Massachusetts and Connecticut.
“The reason I have law enforcement involved in this is because the kids in the areas that we support with this program, they don’t look up to the cops anymore, they see the worst in the police,” Charland said. “With what we’re doing, they see the police coming in and giving them brand new bikes, giving them helmets, helping fit the bikes to their needs. They’re going to see police in a positive light.”