OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Who doesn't remember their first bicycle?
For many families, the process of learning to ride creates unforgettable memories.
For some, financial challenges make it difficult to make those memories. But that's changing thanks to some helpful Omaha firefighters.
It started when a nearby fire station saw neighborhood kids looking for help with their bicycles.
“They might just stop in to get air in the tire, but then the firefighters started fixing their brakes for 'em and we just really saw a need,” said Trevor Towey, President of Omaha Professional Firefighters.
It's turned into a neighborhood event where firefighters collect, fix up and give away bikes of all shapes and sizes. It’s paired with helmets to match all for kids and families in need at no cost.
“We take bikes throughout the year. They're used bikes that our firefighters volunteer their time to fix them up make sure they're in safe working condition and provide a bike to a child that otherwise wouldn't have one,” said Towey.
“Got a text message saying that they were giving away free bikes and I knew my children needed bikes and being able to financially have a bike that would be good for us to not have to have extra money coming out of our budget,” said parent Dawanna Parker.
Omaha firefighters began this tradition about 10 years ago. They say they give away about 100 bikes every single year and the need for them doesn't stop.
Parker says having bikes for her two kids will make family outings more fun.
“We like doing exercise and then just doing stuff around our neighborhood so I like to have my children be able to go bike riding and experience that,” said Parker.
Creating positive memories is what it's all about for the volunteer firefighters behind the giveaway.
“This is an opportunity where we get to see families at their best and we get to see way more smiles than tears so it's a good day for us,” said Towey.
Firefighters say they'll continue fixing bikes in need of repairs at their station.