Featured Volunteer: John Sissala
John Sissala is exactly the type of Collection Manager we love to have running an event. He has been a fixture at the Potomac United Methodist Church event since Bikes for the World formed back in 2005. Last year PUMC surpassed our 1,000 bike benchmark, but not under John's leadership.
And this is exactly what we mean about the perfect manager. John ran this event for nearly two decades and rather than let it peter out, he recruited, trained, and supported new leadership before stepping aside. John is also still very much involved. This year he missed the actual collection because he was under the weather, but he continued to support the new manager Luis Ruiz and his right hand wrencher Rob.
Looking back over the years, this collection event had it's best turn out back in the early 2000s when they brought in 150 bikes. Lately they have been averaging about 50 bikes annually, including this year when they collected 51 bikes. With John missing this year, Luis and Rob stepped up and single-handedly tackled compacting all those bikes to get them back to the warehouse.
John helped create and carry-on this annual event at PUMC. They have only missed those two years during the pandemic when everyone was a little more cautious around group activities. John helped bring it back in 2022 and that's also when he trained Luis to step in so he could step down.
It's so important to us to see these relationships continue through multiple leaderships. As we enter into our 20th year, we certainly understand how some of our initial collection managers need to step away and nearly all of them truly hope this mission continues beyond their tenure. Most do, and with it comes the next generation of wrenchers to take over and hopefully help us improve the world.
This year the bikes collected at PUMC will be donated to Village Bicycle Project when our next container goes out in a couple weeks to Ghana. 1,080 bikes from PUMC and counting!