Featured Volunteer: Paul Murphy
These two guys go way back. Y'all know our founder, Keith Oberg (right) and on the left is Paul Murphy, veteran collection manager for Herndon Friends Meeting. Keith and Paul met over 25 years ago while repairing a summer camp impacted by the Standardsville flood of '95. They've watched their kids grow up, go to college, and start having kids of their own.
When they met, Keith was already collecting bikes for a group known as Pedals for Progress. And while their friendship may have started over a couple of hammers, it's truly expanded over the years, to include, crescent wrenches, adjustable wrenches, hex wrenches, pedal wrenches...It's guys like Paul who really make up the nuts and bolts of Bikes for the World.
Seriously, it didn't take much convincing to pull Paul into the mix. After Keith explained what he was doing and how bikes could make a difference, Paul was all in. Back then, there weren't as many locations where you could drop off a bike to be donated and some of those early collections did really big numbers. We don't have a record of anything collected before we founded as Bikes for the World in 2005, but some of those original collection managers can tell some jaw dropping stories.
There was a time when Herndon Friends was one of the largest collection points for Bikes for the World. Some of their early collections easily amassed more than 200 bikes. In more recent years they were averaging between 25-50 bikes but still served as a critical location for drop offs in the community. Then they took a little hiatus. And we missed them a ton! We still don't have many options for donating bikes out that way.
It's been about seven years since we joined the Friends in Herndon- I66 is wider, Route 7 is tore up, the Toll Road is EXPENSIVE and the square surrounding the W &OD in Herndon is super CUTE! But Paul and his team at the Meetinghouse are still masters of the pedal wrench and dedicated to our cause. This year they joined forces with the local bike shop, Green Lizard Cycling, which is literally right around the corner. Together they added over 50 bikes to our warehouse, which we quickly turned around and donated to our partner in Rwanda, Learn Work, Develop.
It's the connections like this, that helped form who we are, that we hold near and dear to our hearts. Paul hosted his 20th collection this year, his 11th with Bikes for the World, the others were when we worked with Pedals for Progress. With us they've donated 700 bikes, but overall that total is closer to 2,000 bikes! They have helped change lives around the world while improving the world right here at home. Many thanks to Paul for rekindling this relationship, we hope to see you back for many more.