Featured Volunteer: Michael Miehl
Make some noise for Michael Miehl! Mike has been managing our bike collection at Sherwood High School almost since the last Brood X cicada emergence. He's interested in the little buggers not just because he's a science teacher but, admit it, it's quite a show. But really, what's the buzz about bikes and Sherwood?
It's true, we've been partnered up with Sherwood High School for 17 years now and in that time we're just going to say they have never missed a year! Sherwood is the longest running school collection in our history. And yes, we are giving them a bye for missing last year not just because we were in a pandemic, but...we'll get to that...
Rewind. Mike came on board with Bikes for the World after the Sherwood collection was handed down to him from a previous teacher. Back then it was heavily supported by the Rotary Club of Onley; in fact it was really their event that involved the Interact Club students at Sherwood. Over the years the Rotary connection dwindled, but school's Interact Club commitment stayed strong. Mike embraced our concept and activity for his students, but even more phenomenal than the Brood X cicada, Mike saw the power a bicycle could bring to an entire community overseas. He loves what biking and recycling does for our planet, but more importantly the change bicycles bring to our beneficiaries is not only life changing for them, but to him and his students as well.
Sandy Spring is a smaller community and with awesome shop partners like Just Riding Along Bicycle Shop and Race Pace Bicycles not very far way, bike donations don't pour into Sherwood. But they do supply a consistent steady stream when we need it most. This year has been another challenging year for community led collection events at Bikes for the World. To date, we have had...six. In a typical year we would likely have six on Earth Day weekend alone. For two years in a row we have had...none.
So we were very excited to partner back up with a few schools again this past May, Washington International School, Bullis School, and Sherwood High School. Between them, they added another 165 bikes to our program. And here's where we get back to that 2020 'pass' for Sherwood. Like every year, Mike had the collection event set up for 2020 early, like January. And even as the pandemic was unfolding, he was reluctant to cancel- after all he was aware of the Sherwood streak. But as the health crisis grew worse, we had no choice but to cancel.
This year he was quick to get back on the schedule and set a goal of 50 bikes. Recently, an average collection at Sherwood High School was 30-40 bikes. In 2019 it was just 25 bikes (see above: small community, shop partners, etc) 2021 Sherwood was going for a record...they added 62 bikes to our busy successful weekend- their second best year ever. And with two shipments scheduled back to back in our warehouse in the next couple weeks we couldn't be more pleased. Nearly tripling an average collection this year? Yeah, they clearly deserve credit for 2020 and 2021. Done.
Helmets off to Mike for keeping this collection alive...and surviving a crazy academic two years. As a science teacher used to teaching labs, switching to teaching online, with kids of his own underfoot who also needed to be online for class- he certainly had his hands full over the past year. We miss just one year and even though he still has his son with him at the collection, we barely recognized him. He's taller and using a bigger wrench. We would not be surprised to find Mike's students AND his son taller than him at the collection next year! See you then.