President Cites the 'Bicycle Man' for Gifts to Children
Posted December 22, 2006
As needy kids picked out new or newly refurbished bikes from among the hundreds that Mathis and his volunteers had collected and worked on for the 15th year in a row, he was given the President’s Call to Service Award certificate and a letter from President Bush.
The award recognizes a minimum of 4,000 hours of lifetime volunteer service. Mathis also got a Volunteer Service Award that recognizes giving 500 hours of time in one year.
“I got a whole lot of good stuff from the White House. I can’t describe how it felt. I know it felt good,” Mathis said after U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge delivered the awards from the president.
Of the 4,000-hour threshold, Etheridge said, “He has done more than that to be given the citation, but he’s changing lives.”
"We saw a need in our community to bring our community together," Mathis said in explaining why he became the "Bicycle Man" a decade and a half ago.
Cumberland County social service workers recommend children for the bike program. Some kids also get computers for which Mathis arranged.
The two-wheel wonder-worker will move to a new location on Russell Street for next Christmas. The property where he has been working has been sold to help fund development of Martin Luther King Park next door.