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Bikes teach lessons

By Staff | Apr 18, 2014

Frank Dubay calls the staff at Pedal & Paddle, local heroes.

Just a couple of weeks ago, owner Eddie Sampson and service manager/head mechanic Jamie Stone volunteered their time helping a few Shepherdstown Middle School students learn in a unique way.

“They preferred doing hands on things,” Dubay said of the students, who showed more promise outside of the traditional classroom environment.

Dubay said he was contacted to coordinate the sort of “pilot” bike program by middle school parent and community member, Sara Carley-Pena.

Dubay, who regularly volunteers at the elementary school, said he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the middle school’s first effort to try a mentoring program of this type.

The Knights of Columbus at St Agnes stepped in to provide the first six bikes for students and Pedal & Paddle donated a BMX bike, parts, and discounted and free equipment.

“Pedal & Paddle really made it a success,” Dubay said.

As the students worked on their bikes, one hour a week for a month, staff at Pedal & Paddle offered hands on training and advice.

Pedal & Paddle’s Jamie Stone said he really enjoyed working with the kids.

“I loved it,” he said.

“My only regret is that I can’t spend more time doing it ….that it’s not a larger program.”

Sampson and Stone taught students the technical know-how in constructing, servicing and maintaining bikes for safe use.

Stone said it was “rewarding,” to work with kids who had genuine interest in the program.

“They seemed very very happy to have these bikes to play with. They seemed very appreciative,” he said.

“It’s kind of neat to see these used bikes going to kids that are going to enjoy themselves.”

At the end of the month, each predicating student got to keep his bike as a reward for the hard work put in.

“It worked out really well, thanks to Pedal & Paddle and members of the St. Agnes Knights of Columbus,” said principal William, Kerlina in a statement.

“It’s great to work in a town where local businesses and organizations hear about a need and act on it right away. That’s really making a difference,” he said.

Dubay said the middle school will decide how to continue mentoring programs of this sort in the future, calling this one a “success all around.”

Dubay said the program demonstrates the, often overlooked effort, that many local businesses make to contribute the community.

“Support our local businesses because theyre supporting us,” he said.