NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- For more than 100 years the New Albany Fire Department has been making holiday wishes a reality for children in Kentuckiana. The firefighters have been collecting and restoring upwards of 15,000 bikes over the last 40 years.
This year, they could use your help.
A brand new bike is every child’s Christmas wish, but for so many Kentuckiana parents a brand new bike just isn't in the budget.
"Parents come out there and they'll choose a bike and they're brought to tears some of them. Thanking us, they knew they wouldn't be able to afford it. And that's a good feeling, a warm feeling," New Albany Fire Captain David Sparks said.
It’s a warm feeling Sparks has been part of for the last 40 years. First riding along firefighters to collect toys as a teenager.
Now he leads the program, focusing on bikes for children.
"Any size, any style, we'll take them all," Sparks said.
The New Albany Fire Department collects bikes year around. They work on old ones to make them like new, and salvage every part even if the bike can’t be saved.
"We try to bring it back to as close to when it rolled off the assembly line at the factory as we can get it," Sparks said.
All of the work is done off the clock.
The men collect the bikes in between emergency runs and restore them in Sparks home garage.
Sparks said, "I think I can pretty much close my eyes and put any bike together."
He said it’s their way to give back.
"We're there for them every day in an emergency and we'll be there for them at Christmas time too if they need some help," Sparks said.
Making holiday wishes come true, one toy at a time.
Bikes can be dropped off at any of the five New Albany Fire Department. You can also donate money to their fund to buy new bikes here.
They can also pick up bikes if need be. Call (812)- 944- 4288 to learn more.
The bike giveaway will be on December 16 through the Salvation Army.
These are the organizations that help make the bike drive possible every year:
Back In Time Car Club
Clarksville Shwinn Shop
Sunnyside Solo's Square Dance Club
Salvation Army New Albany Corp
A-1 Porta-Potty; Mike Benson