Remembering Harrison Morson
Harrison Morson was hands down one of the top supporters of Bikes for the World. His connections to Bikes for the World go deep. He was a member of the Glenwood Lions Club. Through the Lions' activity he also worked with us through Bushy Park Elementary and Glenwood Middle School. He was instrumental in getting the wheels turning at Alpha Ridge Landfill and recruiting Lions to help organize the site. He also worked with Wal-Mart to have bikes delivered to the school collections to keep the student volunteers active and busy during the collections.
Harrison worked with the local media to always get the collections mentioned in the newspaper before and after the events. He knew the value of advertising the event but also in rewarding those individuals who worked hard to pull it off. And he always gave credit where credit was due. In fact, years ago we tried to mention Harrison as the featured volunteer of the month, but he pushed the recognition toward other Lions like Larry Orwig or the club as a whole.
Harrison was also responsible for pushing for funding for our efforts. Back when the Lions Club was more involved at Glenwood Middle School, Larry and Harrison would personally transport bikes from the landfill and Race Pace Bicycles to help bring more bikes to the school on collection day. This also helped us tremendously with transportation at a time when we were based in south Arlington. While the school didn't solicit many financial donations from donors during the collection, Harrison ensured that the Lions Club funded the project. Between personal contributions from Harrison and the Club's Giant (literally) checks, he brought more than $10,000 in support of the efforts in Glenwood.
We had hoped to honor Harrison when the Alpha Ridge collection site hit 10,000 bikes, something Harrison kept track of diligently when he was out at the site. He would regularly bug Bob and Jonathan for updates via text. The pandemic sidelined Harrison who then had a string of health issues that kept him from participating physically, but we phoned regularly and gave him updates on the numbers and our efforts.
We could tell the last few years were tough on Harrison, who truly seemed younger than he really was even when we met him more than a decade ago. We were still shocked to learn that we lost Harrison earlier this year. Just five years ago he was still pulling bikes out of vans and working hard among kids who could have called him Great Grandpa.
Harrison really enjoyed the work he did with the kids. And when we talked on the phone the last few years, this is what excited him most. Learning that the bikes collected at Alpha Ridge were what pulled us through the pandemic when collections were down and especially that those bikes are what keep our youth programs in the warehouse rolling today made Harrison proud. We know he has done a lot for and with the Lions Club of Glenwood, but his work with BfW is definitely his legacy.
Harrison, if you are still keeping tabs, Alpha Ridge holds at 9,674 bikes as of 9/1/2023. We will be celebrating that 10k mark as we celebrate BfW's 20th anniversary next year. In fact, as we entered into 2023 the effort that Harrison created in Glenwood, including the schools and recycling center, had already hit that milestone. Harrison's legacy with BfW is actually currently at 11,261 bikes...and counting.