SOUTHPORT, Fla. - "I feel great, I am speechless," said Peyton Greenlee, a fifth grader at Southport Elementary School.
He was one of seven students surprised with a new bike, helmet, and lock, after their names were picked in a drawing for good behavior and good attendance.
"I can't wait to go on bike rides with this thing," said Greenlee. He said this will replace his old bike, which is broken, and he will able to ride to school again.
The donated bikes are part of the Bay County Emergency Services' first ever Bike Drive. However, it was Firefighter Joshua Crundwell and Firefighter/Paramedic Alex Pearce's idea to start such a thing.
"We decided this was a good way to give back to our community," said Pearce. "Because, as first responders, that's really what we should do."
Pearce and Crundwell don't work at the same fire station now but used to. Months ago, while on shift together, the idea for the bike drive sparked.
"The kids next store would bring their bikes in, chains messed up, needed air, we'd change a tire," said Crundwell. "We were always working on the bikes over there."
Crundwell said many kids also shared bikes because they didn't have their own and they wanted to change that.
"We passed envelopes around the fire stations and EMS stations and people donated as they saw necessary," said Pearce.
Just weeks before Christmas, the firemen thought this was the perfect time to give out the bikes.
"It's like an early Christmas," sad Crundwell. "A Christmas before Christmas, they can double on it.
Crundwell became a firefighter nearly 11 years ago. He said he wakes up with a desire to help people.
"When you show up it's somebody's worst day," said Crundwell. "Gf you can show up and put a smie on their face, it's all worth it."
Alex Pearce joined the fire service nine years ago. He was raised by giving hearts, being raised in a household that ran non-profits.
"It's always nice to go out and make a difference in your community on a more personal level like this," said Pearce.
Both firemen hope to make this a tradition and have their sights set on doubling the amount of bikes to hand out from this year.
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