Giant's Mike Hurt (left) and Ewan Campbell (center) helped assemble bikes.

NEWBURY PARK, Calif. (BRAIN) — Giant USA donated 200 Momentum Park bikes to residents of Ventura who were affected by the Thomas Fire in early December. The fire raged across Ventura and Santa Barbara County for several weeks. 

The city of Ventura — about 20 miles from Giant’s headquarters and home to several Giant employees — was hardest hit, with more than 500 homes lost.

Dozens of volunteers, including 13 Giant employees, assembled the bikes on Sunday outside the Bike Hub collective bike workshop on Ventura Avenue in Ventura. 

According to a Giant USA press release, recipients of the donated bikes were so appreciative that a few broke into tears as they were fit on the colorful city bikes.

“You know, as horrible as the fire was, it’s brought out such goodness and blessings from so many people,” said Anita Miller, who lost her home in Ventura. “It’s brought a community together that might otherwise have never met. Thank you so much.”

Giant’s donation was coordinated through BikeVentura, a non-profit, grassroots organization working to foster a safe, healthy community through bicycle-centered education, empowerment, and advocacy in Ventura County. Working with county officials, BikeVentura set up an application process in the days before the giveaway to insure that fire survivors would enjoy a new ride.

By the time the giveaway began at 2 p.m. Sunday the line of recipients stretched more than a block. “We had a huge demand,” said Joey Luhasz-Lukomski, executive director of BikeVentura. “Giant’s donation made this a very special day. And the volunteers were just amazing. It was a wonderful crowd.”

Patrick VanHorn, one of the Giant employees who volunteered at the giveaway, has lived in Ventura for 25 years. “Luckily none of (the Giant employees who live in Ventura) lost our homes, but we all know people who did. To be able to help make their lives just a little easier and a little more fun is maybe the most important thing I’ve done in my career in the industry. I’m very proud to be a Giant employee.”

 

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Author: Stephen Frothingham

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