Three years ago the Red River Best Chevy Dealers brainstormed and came up with an idea to give back to the communities at Christmas time. They decided to do a bike drive. Wilmes Chevrolet in Altus was a part of that team.
The first year they gathered 800 bikes for children who might not otherwise have any kind of a present for Christmas. Year after year, the amount of bikes donated has grown. Wilmes Chevrolet dealer Joe Stepanovich said, The local response has been fantastic, and for the first time we have had to use the whole showroom instead of just half to hold all of the bikes.” Wilmes Chevrolet partners with KWHW to reach people throughout Southwest Oklahoma. Local businesses and customers, as well as complete strangers have brought bikes in all shapes and sizes.
The Altus Fire Department plays a major role in the project by physically coming out in full force with all the big fire trucks to load up and transport the bikes to the Department of Human Services to distribute. DHS then has the task of matching up the bikes with kids in the area that need one.
DHS was asked if there would be a problem distributing the large number of bikes, but there are more kids out there in need than you can imagine. Stepanovich said, “A DHS worker called me the first year of the project and said ‘I wish you could have seen the kid’s faces when they received the bikes, it was heartwarming.”
Wilmes Chevrolet would like to thank Wal-Mart for assisting every year in the purchasing of the bikes. “That’s what is so great about this,” said Stepanovich. “Everything is done local with a huge outpouring support from the community. It is great to see the faces of the people who donate the bikes and/or money. And I can just imagine the faces of the kids that know in their hearts, yes there really is a Santa Clause!”
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077