Volunteers build bikes for local tykes

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For the second straight year, WRPS Contractor Assurance employees donated a day off to help build bikes for disadvantaged children.

WRPS volunteers joined about 600 others, including 400 area high school students, at the sixth annual Bikes for Tykes volunteer build at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick.  The project was organized by the Local 598 Plumbers and Steamfitters union. WRPS contributed $600 to the project.

At the end of the day, when they stood back to admire their handiwork, more than 1,550 bikes were ready to load into Santa’s sleigh.

“I arrived early to a sea of boxes and no bikes, and by the time I left it was a sea of bikes and no boxes,” said Steve Swenning, one of seven WRPS employees to participate. Others included Contractor Assurance Manager Mike Peloquin, Kirk Peterson, Jen Kraus, Shaun Waters, Alex Torres and Robert Anderson.

“The community support for this event is amazing,” Peloquin said. “Everyone was very focused on the different tasks needed to assemble these bikes. I looked up to see a continuous line of completed bicycles being removed from the workstations. The enthusiasm for the holiday stayed with me all weekend.”

Once complete, a number of the bikes were turned over to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and the remainder to other community agencies for delivery to local children this holiday season.

“What a team experience and community success story,” Peterson said. “It’s amazing what volunteers towards a common goal can accomplish.”
The bikes—and a helmet to accompany each one—will be distributed throughout the region in time for Christmas.
“This is my second year and just as much fun,” Kraus said. “Even though we are working hard, the room is filled with so much holiday cheer it’s like we’re hardly working.”