Bikes for the World

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Featured Volunteer: The Youngest and Oldest

We are kicking off 2015 by honoring two very important volunteers who bring life to our warehouse on a regular basis. Peyton and Eli are both hard working volunteers who are dedicated to the job in front of them as well as the overall mission of Bikes for the World.

One of them loves SpongeBob and the other PBS NewsHour. One likes Dumb and Dumber To and the other, the Sound of Music. One probably falls asleep by nine and the other begs to stay up past it. If you added Taylor and Yvette's ages together you still wouldn't span the years between them.

But one thing they both share: a love of bikes. They both love to ride. Eli rides a Giant MTX 225. Peyton tools around Arlington on a Bionex electric assist wheel...at 87. He says he's not even thinking of slowing down until 90.

Peyton came to us this fall and asked if we had anything he could work on...he had mad handyman skills, so we knew he knew his way around a toolbox. We invited him to the warehouse and he's been coming most Thursdays since.

Eli's mom approached us early in 2014 and asked if we'd let a pre-teen volunteer with us. Most programs require students be at least 14...and we are no exception. But we did make an exception for Eli...as long as a parent came with him we said, sure, join us at REI and we'll see how he does at the collection.

Since we lost King Farm it's been harder for Eli to join us at volunteer events but he's already planning for the next REI collection and he's been down to Arlington to help at the warehouse more than once.

Another thing Peyton and Eli have in common is their passion for Bikes for the World. And a knack for passing on their knowledge. We overheard Peyton explaining our mission to a scout troop who came to volunteer recently. And he was very thorough.

After some time away from volunteering, Eli and his dad came to put in some hours at the warehouse in Arlington. We prepared to come over and introduce processing to Dad as well as give young Eli a refresher. No need. Eli immediately grabbed bike tools and starting teaching his dad how to remove the pedals.

Even though these tool guys are two of our hardest workers, it's not all work when they hit the warehouse; we have fun too. Since Yvette has worked in some good ole classics into the warehouse playlist, you can often walk in and find Peyton twirling Yvette, showing her another step in his favorite dance, the Jitterbug.

You might even catch him singing to a song or two: "I'll be down to get you in a taxi honey/ You'd better be ready around half past eight/ Ah baby don't be late I want to be there when the band starts honey," one of his favorites.

Turns out Eli may also have an old soul, diving into some new old classics to find his favorite song, Eye of the Tiger. Or, like a lot of younger volunteers who seem to know Yvette's music...it's probably been used in a recent movie or cartoon like Turbo. Which by the way, does have a great soundtrack.

 If you find yourself in the warehouse working alongside either of these guys...or really anyone, make sure you aren't too focused on a rusty pedal. Everyone who comes through our warehouse has a story...and it's usually interesting.

Peyton grew up in Japan, is still a professional handyman who can fix just about anything, and he holds a PhD in Theology.

He now volunteers at Meals on Wheels, HOPE, and Doorways in Arlington. He was a missionary in Japan for years after the war, will be quick to show you the Jitterbug, or share a story about how he rode bikes in Japan that were way too big for him.

Who knows what path Eli will take over the years. For now Eli is a 7th grader at Frost Middle School. If you find yourself in the warehouse with this guy, make it your mission to find out more about him. Who is Eli's favorite wrestler? And see if he prefers Turbo or Rocky.

UPDATE: Bikes for the World was sad to learn that Peyton Palmore passed away about a week after this article posted. He will be sorely missed around our warehouse on Thursday nights. His family tells us he loved working with Bikes for the World and believed strongly in our mission. We are proud to have worked with Peyton.

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