Bikes for the World

Friday, June 6, 2014

Featured Volunteer: James Branscome

Jim Branscome finally found his way over to King Farm during a very cold March volunteer night after years of telling himself he wanted to get more involved. It was his first time volunteering with us even though he had been a long time supporter of Bikes for the World.

He came into the dark, unheated barn and got to work processing bikes, knocking back the big stack by the time we closed up that evening.

The following week he was back. It was a little warmer and we were loading a container for Barbados. But instead of jumping up on the dock to help load bikes, Jim stuck with processing and even more importantly, mentoring. Jim patiently worked with students there earning student service learning hours required for graduation.

Bikes for the World helps many students graduate by providing rewarding volunteer opportunities at collections, loadings, and regular volunteer nights. We also host school groups, both local and visiting DC, for service projects. The latest group came to us from Georgia and included over 20 students.

Because we recently took in over 4,000 bikes from the DICK'S Sporting Goods promotion we had plenty of work in our warehouse. However, in order to properly mentor that many students at once, we need good 'lieutenants' on hand. Again, Jim stepped up and worked with students processing bikes, many of them never holding a pedal wrench or hex wrench before.

When you bring in 1,000 bikes a day you need help! And we found that help in some unlikely places. Jim Branscome, and better yet, Jim Mitchell (who we've already told you is a BfW superstar) braved the beltway traffic during rush hour to come down to our Pentagon City warehouse not just once, but several times, to help us take in the donated bikes from DICK'S.

Jim says he didn't mean to come as often as he did to help. In fact, I think he was there 4 times, to the tune of about 4,000 bikes! He was in the trailer every time helping Nick untangle and offload truckload after truckload of DICK'S bikes. And you don't accidentally end up in Crystal City when you live on the far side of the beltway, I can assure you.

Kaila, Karen, Carol, Jim, Harvey, Nick, and Kim
Jim will humbly tell you, it wasn't just him, and he's right. Randy Swart, of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, Harvey Sachs, Jim Mitchell, Kim Sanderhoff of FreeBike Project (all the way from LA), Carol Goodloe, and Karen, Rich, and George (all BfW board members) came out to several DICK'S unloads and moved thousands of bikes with us.

Oh, and we can't forget Phil Ruth, long, long time, dedicated volunteer, who drove from OK a little early just to be part of this effort (and has now relocated to NOVA). And he'll tell you he didn't pull us through either, but with his help processing hundreds of bikes that first weekend, picking up bikes, and delivering ply board to us to stack bikes...he played a big part in our successes receiving so many bikes in such a short time.

Thank you to everyone who helped the past few weeks in Arlington. This year's DICK'S promotion was even bigger than the first two years. We are still receiving bikes from the promotion and expect our final totals to be well over 5,000 bikes. Add to that the hundreds of bikes we took in locally over the past two months and you'll find about 6,300 bikes currently sitting in our warehouse. To put that in perspective: Bikes for the World donated a total of 5,823 bikes in our first year.

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