Bikes for the World

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Hottest Volunteers

George Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurs
We won't admit to having 'favorites' at BfW but there are always All-Stars when it comes to volunteering. In June that stand out group may have been the George Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurs.

Over the past month BfW has been busy out at Lorton every single weekend. Partners in Costa Rica, Kenya, Panama, and Barbados are all receiving containers already this summer via Bikes for the World (and in large part thanks to Dick's Sporting Goods).

BfW stays very busy in the spring and the fall and often uses the summer and winter to take a break, catch up on paperwork, and prepare for the upcoming season. 2012 brought a beneficial twist: 4,000 bikes came in and filled our storage site in Lorton.

Lorton bikes at capacity
After the challenge of receiving, unloading, and storing all these bikes, came the turn around. Every Friday and Saturday in June and July you will find BfW staff and dedicated volunteers unstacking and loading all of these bikes for shipping overseas.

Fortunately we have the help of amazing volunteers from students to corporations who have signed up to participate in these team building loads as groups. This gives BfW the power to load quickly and efficiently.
Tree damage at Lorton storage site.

Little did we know, this would prove to be incredibly important. As many of you probably know, the DC area experienced a Super Storm the weekend of June 30th. After a sweltering Friday, loading in temperatures above 100 degrees, a derecho (I mean this thing is so rare, spellcheck doesn't even know the word!) swept through the area with winds of upwards of 80mph.

Over one million residents found themselves without power, some for over a week. And unlike most storms this one did not bring relief from the heat.

Despite the odds, the All-Star group from George Mason showed up eager to work on Saturday morning. For those of you who have been out to Lorton, you know it's a bit of a drive up to the old gym from Lorton Road. But the derecho knocked down trees and blocked the road up to the old prison, so everyone had to park by the road and hike up to the trailer.

Even though we don't have electricity normally out there, no one in the area had it this weekend. Finding ice, cold drinks, even gas for the car proved to be difficult for these dedicated volunteers out to help BfW finish loading. And after another hot day in an even hotter shipping container, some of these folks had to go home to no AC or electric.

Hats off to everyone who helped with this record setting weekend's load. Tiffany Hsia, Katrina Delany, Ian Burpo, Kaitlyn Hammack, Taylor Scarce, April Emile-Theil, Frank Petricoin, Steve Tomey, and the aptly named Jennifer all ROCK! And of course Sarah and Nick who worked through the record breaking 104 degree Friday into the challenging Saturday finish. They say this was the hottest June day in over 140 years and I think Sarah Miller might call this group our hottest volunteers!

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