Featured Volunteer: Bill Schenkel
Bill Schenkel is a member of the St. Paul Knights of Columbus Council #11105 in Damascus. Bill participates in many of the KoC activities from gardening, Easter egg hunt prep, and singing in the choir. Bill has also been a regular at our annual bike colllection in the nook of Routes of 108 and 124.
This crew in Damascus has been helping us improve lives through bicycles for the last 20 years. Over the years, Gary Boughan, the collection manager, has worked with his KoC brothers to recruit volunteers of all ages, even dragging some pre-teens out of bed early on a crisp Saturday morning. His wife Kay entices the volunteers with coffee, donuts, even breakfast sandwiches from McDonalds!
But don't let the cuisine perks fool you, Gary's team works hard and takes pride in the work they do. This event has been one of the few collections where we also rely on sewing machine donations that help our partners in Costa Rica, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, where they also have sewing components included in the bike project. The bike donations are steady too...to date, the St. Paul KoC has contributed nearly 900 bikes to our program.
Bill has worked his way through the stations of the bike collection. When his mobility was better he was running around twisting off rusty pedals and mentoring the younger or new volunteers to ensure a competent and dependable workforce for years to come. Bill has graduated to the receipt table, greeting donors with a smile and encouraging volunteers through any weather.
One of the aspects that is appealing to volunteering at Bikes for the World is that there is no age or ability that limits involvement. There is no 'A' in Bikes for the World. Whether we are loading or working a collection there are many 'jobs' that make this opportunity accessible to all.
In the warehouse you can sit and disassemble wheels or get in an active workout wrestling with a rusty bike part. You can walk a bike to the container during a loading or hop up to sling bikes into a third level. And at a collection you can compact bikes, load the truck, write receipts, or simply greet donors as they drop off their bikes. We have worked with volunteers as young as four years old and others who have limited mobility...every single one a vital component to make the wheel go 'round.