NEW RICHMOND -- When New Richmond Middle School choir director Stephen Dahle received a message from a close friend asking for assistance on a project to help the community, he knew right away school staff would go above and beyond.
Dahle’s friend told him during a nighttime bike ride: “I am short on time in this world and want to do good things before I pass. I need your help. I want to donate bikes to some of your kids before I go. It was the sense of freedom I had and want to pass it on. Can they be delivered to your house in boxes and can you hand them out to kids who could use them?”
The next thing Dahle knew, he was reaching out to friends and NRMS staff members who could help facilitate the project.
“The biggest obstacle was putting the bikes together. Twenty bicycles were delivered to my front door one morning and I needed a place to put them together and volunteers who could help with that," Dahle said.
NRMS principal Doug Hatch volunteered space at the middle school garage where the bikes could be stored. Dahle then reached out to friend Brita Hahn, whose children are students in New Richmond, and they loaded all the bicycles in her truck. On a warm August morning, 10 middle school staff members and their families as well as principals Doug Hatch and Michele Wood, volunteered to help Dahle put the bikes together.
One of the volunteers was school resource officer Aaron Anderson. Through his efforts, the New Richmond Police Department has donated a bicycle helmet for each bike.
“It makes me very happy that someone would be willing to bring joy to so many students they don’t even know, and that we have so many big-hearted staff members at the middle school who were interested in helping,'' Dahle shared.
Dahle is now in the process of contacting area families -- recommended by New Richmond elementary principals -- who would benefit from a new bicycle.
“My friend only asked that when each student outgrows their bike, they pass it on to another child who will love it and take care of it just the same,” Dahle said. “These 20 bicycles will be bringing smiles to more than 20 students throughout the years.”