Featured Volunteer: Bob Knoll
Bob Knoll is one of the most sought after and valued Bikes for the World volunteer varieties. Don't get us wrong, ALL of our volunteers are super important and highly regarded in our warehouse, but Bob has a truck and trailer and he knows how to use it to move bikes!
Bob actually came to know us through a bike collection held at Temple Shalom in Silver Spring. The collection was hosted by his wife Julie, so he knew it well. This dyno-duo has been connected with Bikes for the World from the beginning and were fixtures at this annual event up until Julie retired from her government job and they moved away from the area. Before they left, however, the Knolls helped collect and donate over 500 bikes to our program through the Mitzvah projects over the years...an entire containers-worth!
Even after they left Montgomery County, their support never wavered. In fact, Bob offered up his trailer to haul bikes to our warehouse from Western Maryland, where the couple has a home. The impact of this support not only yields more bikes, but frees up our team here in Rockville by saving us basically an entire day. Cumberland is quite a haul for us.
Bob has been working with the Western Maryland Wheelmen/Cumberland Rotary Club, who host an annual collection with us every May. Through their connections, they often collect bikes early from sources like the local police department. Bob has been on hand to make those transfers possible. He doesn't always have help on the other end and it takes a lot of coordination on that end and here in our warehouse to make the full hand-off complete. Not to mention the time, the gas, the miles, and all the lifting!
This year the Western Maryland Wheelmen were forced to cancel their annual collection with us due to COVID-19. BUT they still ended up collecting over 100 bikes regardless. These came to us in two loads, one in February and one just this week...both delivered by Bob. And this time the Wheelmen were there in force ready to load the bikes which were also already prepped, making the detangling back in Rockville more manageable.
Both deliveries ended up making a bigger impact than we could have ever imagined since the coronavirus health crisis affected our influx of bikes. At a point in the year when we typically have about 6,000 bikes donated to our global partners, we will only reach 3,000 when we ship next week. And this trailer of bikes will help fill that container to Madagascar.
One last interesting and important fact to pass along...with Bob's delivery this week, the overall bike total from the Western Maryland Wheelmen/Cumberland Rotary is now over 2,000 bikes donated!
Over many years Bob and Julie were a joy to work with -- I think they started back when we were part of Pedals for Progress and their moral support to me personally contributed to our making the 2005 transition to Bikes for the World. A steady stream of good bikes and good fellowship.Keith Oberg, Founder Bikes for the World