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December 20, 2005 > 100 Bikes and Counting

100 Bikes and Counting

This year, Dottie Gomes and Terri Bagley decided to set the bar a bit higher. The goal this year was to collect at least 100 bicycles for children at Christmas. These two have become the driving force behind an effort that started last year when Dottie watched a television highlight of the vision and generosity of Fremont NUMMI employee Ron Little. He had rallied workers to contribute towards the purchase of new bicycles for families served by the Viola Blythe Center in Newark. Dottie floated the idea of a bicycle drive with some of her customers who she calls, "my family," at The Florence Bar & Grill in Niles; the response was immediate and overwhelming.

Little promised to help by purchasing bicycles and helmets as money was collected. The Florence, notable as a link to the rough and ready frontier days of the Old West, demonstrated that the hard life of the early settlements in California demanded a tough exterior but often surrounded a heart of gold. Last year, over 70 bicycles and tricycles with helmets were delivered to the Viola Blythe Center in Newark bringing broad grins and smiles to the faces of youngsters waiting to have their Christmas wish granted.

This year, the need remains and Dottie and Terri have been up to the task. Florence owner Rick Kukulica was skeptical when Dottie initially proposed the fundraising last year, but is now a believer. As a back room at The Florence fills with bikes and helmets - over one hundred to date - many patrons and the dynamic duo are looking forward to Tuesday, December 20th when they, again, will transport the bikes and help Santa at the Viola Blythe Center. Surrounded by this outpouring of holiday spirit and the results of the warm hearts of their friends, both agreed that the highlight of the season is to give and help others. Dottie says, "The looks on the faces of kids receiving these bikes is priceless; it makes it all worthwhile."

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