Featured Volunteer:The Brulands
This month we are bringing you another dynamite duet, the Brulands. Jeff and Tina have been working with Bikes for the World since 2014. They used to own a car shop (Jeff just recently retired) so they are quite familiar with tools and grease, making them a natural fit in our warehouse. And whenever we find ourselves jammed up in the warehouse, all we need to do is call Jeff and he'll wrangle up a crew to wrench us out!
Originally Jeff was just a collector. He initiated the partnership when he started collecting bikes for us. Then they pulled the church into the fold and the collections grew and so did their impact. Now, working with Montgomery United Methodist Church in Damascus this crew collects and donates around 100 bikes annually.
Did we mention that Jeff (and crew) delivers all the bikes to our warehouse!?! So they collected bikes in 2014, then took a few years off. He contacted us again in 2018 but he caught us at a particularly busy time and we didn't have a truck available to pick up the bikes. He said, no problem (he says that a lot), and he grabbed some guys from the shop and loaded the truck up with bikes and brought them directly to us. It didn't hurt that we had recently moved back to Rockville after a few years in Arlington. When he got to the warehouse he saw our huge pile of scrap metal and said you want me to take that for you? Uhm, yes! Oh, and you ROCK!
That year he also asked if we needed help in the warehouse...of course. He enlisted the help of the Men's group at the church, along with many of their wives (including Tina), to come volunteer in the warehouse for a few hours. They stripped bikes for parts, sorted and boxed spare parts, and got us all set for the next shipment going out. And they came back and came back and came back.
If Jeff's story seems familiar, it should, we featured him once before, but this time we wanted to keep our couples theme going so we nominated him again. We know he can't get all this done alone, and we know Tina helps quite a bit. This year Jeff recruited a warehouse crew for us twice. Once Tina came along to help strip usable parts off wheels while the guys prepped bikes for the upcoming shipment. During that visit you could barely walk in the warehouse we had so much work...but when they left we were ready to send bikes to Costa Rica just in time for Christmas.
A few weeks later we were in the same jammed warehouse. And Jeff stepped up once again to help wrench us out...despite having the day already booked with a project. So Tina stayed home to keep the other project on schedule. Every year they do a woodworking project for the families at the church which often involves several components, paint, and a ton of festive fun. While Jeff helped us out, Tina made sure the second volunteer project of the day was ready to roll as soon as the guys finished with us.
It's volunteers like the Brulands that really kept us going over the past two years. They helped bring bikes into our program when our partners needed them most. They brought volunteers in to wrench bikes when we were struggling to keep up with donations. And they secured financial donations through the church to help with costs. Most importantly they brought those killer smiles and upbeat attitudes that really energize us at Bikes for the World. And now that he's retired, you bet we're gonna call them to visit more often!