Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2013

GRANITE QUARRY — In 2011, the Kisamore family decided if country singer Jimmy Wayne could walk from Tennessee to Arizona, they could find “one small thing” to make a difference as well. Since then, they have refurbished and donated about 75 bicycles and wagons to a handful of charities.

Kevin Kisamore is a fabricator at Earnhardt-Childress Racing, where he builds engine-related parts. His wife, Cindy, is a part-time pharmacist at W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center. The couple moved to Rowan County from Maryland in 1991. They have two sons: Drew, who is in eighth grade, and Jacob, who is in sixth grade. Both boys attend Erwin Middle School.

It all began when Kevin and Cindy attended one of Wayne’s concerts in Tarboro three years ago. He shared his personal story of how he grew up in North Carolina’s foster care system and explained the plight of the many youths who age out of that system, yet have nowhere to go. He encouraged everyone in attendance to find “one small thing” to do to make a difference.

“The bikes were something we could all do,” Kevin said.

Kevin does most of the body work, and the boys help him. Cindy looks for more bikes to work on and spreads the word about their project via social media. They all brainstorm ideas for new projects. Drew and Jacob both have their own project that they’re working on as well.

The way each of their faces lights up when they talk about each project they’ve tackled makes it obvious the family is passionate about what they do. Every bike is unique.

“I enjoy getting out here and working and building with my hands,” Kevin said.

The family takes the old bikes and dismantles them, cleaning all the bearings. Then, they put them back together and test them to make sure they’re safe to ride. Some bikes require a little more work, like repainting or replacing a seat or tires.

So far, the family has helped raised thousands of dollars for charities that support children.

Their bikes have been sold to benefit Nazareth Children’s Home, Passage Home, the Court Appointed Special Advocates program in Natrona County, Wyo., and Team Gavin.

Nazareth Children’s Home is the primary charity the Kisamores support. They have donated bikes to be auctioned off at Nazareth’s Fun Fest for two years.

Nazareth Children’s Home, located in Rockwell, opened in 1906. The home primarily cares for middle- and high-school-aged children who are in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

Bikes donated to Nazareth are either given to the children in the home or sold at Nazareth Outlet Store at 1800 E. Innes St. in Salisbury. All profits from the store are donated to the children’s home.

The Kisamores donated four or five bikes to the store last week, just in time for Christmas.

“It’s a good opportunity for people who couldn’t really afford a new bike to go in there and have an opportunity to get something that’s just about new,” Kevin said.

Bikes at the store are typically half the price of buying a new bike, and the profits from the sale go to the children’s home.

Passage Home in Raleigh seeks to help individuals and families escape the cycle of poverty. The agency offers tutoring, career support, meal support and helps transition families into permanent housing.

Each year, the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Natrona County, Wyo., has a Red Wagon Fundraiser. One of the organizers heard about the Kisamore’s donation to Fun Fest and asked if they could contribute anything to the Red Wagon Fundraiser.

Kevin was able to refurbish a red wagon for the event, which was auctioned off for $2,000.

The Kisamores also donated a bike to be raffled off for a fundraising event benefitting Gavin Littleton, a 15-year-old North Rowan High School student who was paralyzed in a diving accident in 2012.

“You hope your little thing maybe can inspire someone else to do a little thing. Then they all add up,” Cindy said.

“It’s like knocking over a domino,” Kevin added.

This year, the bike restorations have slowed down a little bit.

“We did some earlier in the year, but with work and everything else, it’s hard to keep up with,” Kevin said.

It’s also a huge financial commitment. Each bike costs between $25 and $50 or even more to restore.

They plan to “start with better quality stuff,” according to Kevin.

Bikes that are in better shape need fewer repairs and are cheaper to restore in the long run.

“It’s kind of evolved and changed and grown since we’ve started,” Kevin said, adding that they will still continue to restore and donate bikes to Nazareth Outlet Store and various charities for fundraisers.