Featured Volunteer: Joe Bolandrina
Joe Bolandrina has three container loadings under his belt, all at different locations. He's helped manage and mentor two or three bike collections for us. He's even done shop pick ups and individual pick ups. Impressive but not overly unusual you say?
Did we mention he lives more than 400 miles away?? No lie. This guy is north, north, north of us just outside Boston.
He only makes the trip for Bikes for the Philippines containers, because he has a personal connection to the program. And we only ship there once a year or who knows how often we'd see the Bolandrinas...because he doesn't come alone. And a winter loading doesn't deter Joe in the least.
This year he found out about the loading date and he scheduled a truck rental. He didn't even hesitate or check the weather report first. And yes, Boston was getting hammered with snow. Nothing will stop Joe when it comes to helping out Filipinos or spreading the joy he gets from riding a bike.
Joe is a force unlike any other. He is almost always grinning ear to ear and he's full of energy and excitement. It's fun to have him around the warehouse. He's quick to jump in where needed, prepping bikes, walking them across the warehouse floor, or hopping up to load third levels.
His first visit to BfW was waaay down at our Lorton location where he also brought his wife and two kids, Lilly and Max. They assisted Stone Ridge and loaded the container in record time. His second trip was our third container heading to the Philippines where he again worked alongside the Stone Ridge crew (and Katie Ledecky!). We had a visit from the Philippine Ambassador that time.
Joe got the word out this year that he was making the trip and had a little mini collection before he came. His rented truck was stuffed to the grill with bikes from friends, neighbors and local bike shops lending a hand to his cause. He brought spare parts and tires, the works! This guy is a true class act, and a huge barrel of fun to be around.