Bikes for the World

Monday, June 10, 2013

Featured Volunteers: Our Superheroes

George Tyler and Hellen Gelband, BfW board members
Bikes for the World boasts an active and passionate volunteer base, and that doesn't stop at the Board. Some non-profits have board members who aren't overly active in the organization. That couldn't be further from the truth at BfW!

Behind the scenes they've got a ton going on from committees, documentation, interviewing, you name it. But come out to a collection, loading, or event and you might find a board member driving a truck, handing out literature, or wrestling a rusty pedal off a 2013 DICK'S donation...Karen Hendrixson!

Calvert County 2008
Board member Ted Haynie brought us this massive effort in 2008 where the Calvert County school system banded together and did a gigantic collection AND loading on the same day. And if you look closely at the picture you'll see two other board standouts...George Tyler and Hellen Gelband.

George and Hellen were on the steering committee before we formed an official Board. We can't honestly say how many years they've been at this, but let's just say it's longer than Bikes for the World! Hellen joined the bike collecting effort back when it was Pedals for Progress and she was instantly hooked. Her first collection was at Hudson Trail Outfitters in Rockville with another BfW veteran running the show, Zoltan Nagy, from Carroll Creek Rotary fame.
Takoma Park Alternative Gift Fair

Hellen and George are pretty much 'fixtures' at the Alternative Gift Fair in Takoma Park, representing BfW. They've also been spotted at the big Green Fest in downtown DC.

George is our Treasurer, which is a natural fit given his background. George worked on Capitol Hill with Senators Hubert Humphrey and Lloyd Bentsen, and as Senior Economist on the Joint Economic Committee before being appointed by President Clinton as a Treasury deputy assistant secretary.

And just for the record, he is our newest budding author! George recently finished his first book, which is already receiving rave reviews. You can look for it on Amazon: What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class...And What Other Countries Got Right. Preorder your copy today; it's coming out this July.

Hellen in Kenya with Prisca Oluoch of Wheels of Africa
Hellen is one of the few people in BfW who has actually seen the work we do internationally on the ground. Through work, she has traveled to Kenya many times and met with the director of one of our newest partners Wheels of Africa.

Both Hellen and George worked tirelessly (pun unintentional) on another international mission outside the biking community. Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) was started a decade ago in connection with Doctors Without Borders. In short, this organization works to make things better for doctors in the field by concentrating on certain parasitic diseases that are often neglected by drug companies. Seriously, check out that link above, what Hellen and George have done for BfW is nothing short of amazing, but the work with DNDi is most definitely saving lives.

At Takoma Park Middle School
Back at BfW, these guys could fill a scrapbook of bike collections over the years. They've been to Maryland, Virginia, DC. They have loaded containers at every warehouse we've ever had. They've written receipts, mentored youth, spun off a pedal, or two, or a thousand. They have seen that our audits were completed, and our annual reports edited. Basically they keep Keith, and the rest of us in line and on track.

Through sweltering temps, heavy rains, and an occasional blizzard you can find this dynamic duo wielding a pedal wrench or piloting a 26 foot Penske truck through the city. This spring they have been out working with BfW almost every other weekend. We know you're not asking us WHY we chose to feature them, but rather WHY IT'S TAKEN US SO LONG!

Thank you George and Hellen !


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