• 41°

Salisbury Police, Gerry Wood give more than 100 bikes to children

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Ashley Smith on Monday was able to check off one thing she didn’t have to buy her 13-year-old son, C.J., for Christmas — a much-needed bicycle.

The seventh-grader was greeted Monday morning at the family’s doorstep by Salisbury Police officers who hand-delivered the bike. This is the 18th year that the Salisbury police and Gerry Wood Auto Group have partnered to purchase and give away bikes and teddy bears to little ones who are too young. That’s in addition to thousands of candy canes.

“It’s wonderful. It really helps,” Ashley said.

She said her son has a mentor and they ride bikes, but C.J.’s bike is really too small and had a flat tire.

Smith, who is a single mother and disabled, said she’s excited that her son is happy.

Tenae Thomas’ daughters, Faith Adams and Taylin Thomas, were just waking up Monday morning when police arrived, but the girls were soon wide awake after realizing they both had bikes for Christmas.

“I’m very happy. I’m happy to see my kids smile. When I see them happy, I’m happy,” Tenae said.

She called the police and car dealership owners/employees generous people.

“It starts with us. If we can’t give back how do we expect others to help,” she said.

Gabriel Adams called the gifts a blessing. She is a single mother to four children — two of whom, Reuben and Natalia, were old enough to receive bikes.

All told, Monday’s event gave away 140 bicycles and 100 teddy bears, said Brenda Wood, the wife of Gerry Wood.

“We are so proud to partner with the police. All we do is buy them and they do the labor. The work is done by the police,” Wood said.

Wood said there’s no way the car dealership could make the connections with the community and deliver the bikes.

It was the first time Rebekah Johansen, 18, volunteered to help distribute. She did so alongside her father, police officer James Johansen.

“My dad invited me. I didn’t know what to expect. I’m excited to spread cheer and give back to the community,” Rebekah said.

Rebekah said she was also excited to share with the children and their families that “police are there to help and not harm.”

One of the youngest volunteers to help distribute bikes on Monday was Aeiden Barnes, the 10-year-old son of Major Shon Barnes.

“He asked about volunteering,” Barnes said.

” I feel good about it,” Aeiden said.

Paola Alfaro, 17, one of the Salisbury Police explorers also volunteered her time alongside her fellow cadets.

“I think it’s a good way to give back to the community,” Alfaro said.

She said it’s a way to help someone in the community who may not have much.

“I’m someone who wants to see everybody happy during the holiday season,” Alfaro said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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