Featured Volunteer: Jeff Bruland
It's almost unfair of us to call out Jeff Bruland as our featured volunteer of the month because as you can see in the photo, he is more than just a man. That's Jeff there in the almost middle standing with his wife Tina surrounded by the United Methodist Men from Montgomery UM Church in Damascus.
This is Jeff's second crew to visit the warehouse during their annual Day of Service event in the fall. This year when they arrived they were driving multiple vehicles and hauling quite a few bikes they collected earlier in the year. Nearly 100 to be exact. And this wasn't the first time for that either. Jeff's been working with us since 2014 collecting bikes and donating them to help support our projects around the world.
Since Jeff is a mechanic he really knows his way around a tool bench so when he inquired about bringing the men's group from his church in for a day of service we didn't hesitate to say yes. That was last year and here they are again last month. This ended up being a critical time for us in the warehouse as we were packed to the gills. We seriously didn't have any more room for bikes!
Jeff's crew didn't blink an eye when we threw a multitude of projects their way that involved things like packing parts and clipping spokes to save hubs from tacoed wheels. Of course we put Jeff, the mechanic, in charge of stripping parts off marginal frames since he came prepared with his own tool box! This is one of the most important tasks in our program that keeps our supply of parts flowing to the mechanics that are servicing our bikes once they arrive overseas. We take your bikes as is...and that doesn't always mean you can ride them off the truck. A mechanic can only tweak the gears or adjust the brakes, if it's missing a seat or cable...he needs spare parts.
Meanwhile Glenn had a crew working to box up parts for our next shipment to Costa Rica. Here, because our shipment is split among 10 different community groups, the ideal shipment would contain 10 boxes of the same thing, like pedals or reflectors or bottom brackets or handlebars... So one group was stripping those parts off the bikes we couldn't ship and another crew was immediately boxing those items up for our shipments.
But at the end of the day (literally) here's how Jeff and his crew helped the most. After all the work they put in in the warehouse they generated quite a large pile of scrap metal that would need to be recycled here rather than sent unusable to our partners around the world. Since Jeff brought a big truck to deliver all those bikes they donated he didn't see any reason why they should drive it back home empty leaving us with a load of scrap metal and a small pick up truck. They volunteered to load up all the metal and haul it away to be recycled saving us a day's worth of work and carving a path to our dock door.
I recall working with Jeff and his crew last year. They did a tremendous job then and I'm pleased they returned for their service day this year. He is a worthy choice for Volunteer of the Month.