Bikes for the World

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Featured Volunteer: Norm Birzer

Last year about this time Bikes for the World recognized Richard Foot for his tireless effort collecting bikes and leading the charge with the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek. But it takes a village to collect and deliver over 500 bikes in one event.

This month we are recognizing another Rotarian working just as hard to make that Frederick collection roll, Norm Birzer. And it's hard to get a photo of this guy head on because it's rare that he's standing still long enough!

Norm serves on the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek's Bikes for the World Committee, which last month earned the distinction of collecting 539 bicycles in the past year- the largest collection in the Rotary Club's eleven-year partnership with BfW.

 Norm was instrumental in not just reaching the 2016 Club goal, but in helping to shatter all previous Rotarian efforts. Norm was the one who suggested the motivational "A Bike-A-Day" theme that drove the Rotary Club throughout the year.

In order to meet that goal, the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek partnered up with several key partners to help collect bikes all year.

Norm is seen here at Reliable Recycling where he regularly picked up bikes and transported them to a nearby dairy barn for storage. It's unusual when Norm's blue van is not packed with used bicycles and bicycle accessories he has picked up at various locations, including north of the Mason-Dixon Line in PA.

The dairy barn serves as a temporary warehouse for the bikes picked up in Frederick and beyond from April to April. This group regularly made available these donated, stored bikes, whenever BfW partners overseas needed bikes throughout the winter. Norm often prepped bikes on site before loading them into his van so they were essentially ready to ship when they arrived at the barn.

On several occasions Norm joined other Rotarians at the barn to help load those bikes onto the BfW truck for transport back to our central warehouse in Arlington. They were then loaded and donated around the world. This made our operation possible throughout the winter during our slower collection period.

Norm also enlisted the the help of grandson Thomas Grenier from time to time when he was out picking up bikes. Thomas, who is working toward his Eagle Award, ended up choosing BfW for his Eagle Project, which he managed alongside the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek's annual bike collection.

Thomas ended up adding another 125 bikes through his own collection at the satellite New Market location held in the afternoon on the same day. Norm helped oversee this project and coordinate the transportation of many of those bikes which helped us cover a very busy weekend. BfW collected nearly enough bikes that weekend to fill two containers to be donated to our global partners.

Even before the sun set on that April 9th, both Dick and Norm were already plotting to beat their newly set record, barely seven hours old.

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