Jesse Grogan of Brookings has a new bicycle: a black 16-speed Roadmaster, freshly tuned up and ready to hit the streets.
He needs it.
“This will help me get back and forth between the towns,” he said. “It helps me get done what I need to get done.”
Grogan is one of more than a dozen people, most of them who don’t have a home, who have received bikes as part of separate projects sponsored by Bryan Tillung of ReMax and St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
“I saw a need,” Tillung said. “There’s all these people walking around with no mode of transportation. This is a way to give back to them. Give them a leg up.”
For the past month or so, Tillung’s been soliciting the community for good used or new bikes, which he takes to the Escape Hatch in Brookings for tuneups or repairs and then donates to people who need them. So far, he’s given away six — St. Tim’s has distributed two — and now is raising money to buy locks, helmets and bike lights.
For Grogan, the new bike is a means by which he can get to his volunteer gig at St. Timothy’s, where he cooks breakfast every other Monday and helps around the kitchen other days of the week.
Many homeless residents of Curry County rely on bikes, skateboards or their feet to get them around.
“These people (at St. Tim’s), they all walk the walk,” Tillung said of the church’s outreach programs to help people get back on their feet. “They go above and beyond. This church is hub-central for taking care of homeless people.”
In a meeting room at the church Monday sat Sammie Brownwolf. The Brookings woman was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle about a month ago. The bike was totalled and she was lucky, she said, to only have suffered a broken leg.
“I need a bike to get from Point A to Point B,” she said. “And as a walking aid, when I can’t get up the hills.”
She’ll get a new bike as soon as her leg heals and she can bear weight.
Reach Jane Stebbins at firstname.lastname@example.org .