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Police Donate Bicycles to Deserving Greenwich Kids

GREENWICH, Conn. – Christmas came early for Western Middle School sixth-grader Lily Alvarez, whose eyes lit up when she saw retired police Lt. Thomas Keegan wheeling a bicycle her way at police headquarters in Greenwich on Thursday.

“Are you a good student?” asked Lt. Richard Cochran, whose wife is Lily’s teacher at the Western.

Lily nodded her head, saying, “I get all A’s, A-minuses and B’s.”

Eight students from Western Middle School were awarded bikes last week in recognition of personal and academic gains. The schools identify deserving kids to receive the bikes.

Over the past few weeks, Keegan, who organized the giveaway along with the Silver Shield Association, has been collecting donated bicycles and getting them tuned up for free at Dave’s Cycles in Cos Cob.

“We call it ‘Bicycles for B’s,'” said Keegan. “We’re hoping the community recognizes that if they have bikes, the Silver Shield Association will take those bicycles and give them to children in need.”

A similar program went on when he was a kid in Greenwich with unclaimed bicycles, Keegan said. “As a child I even got one. Kids would bid on the bikes for 50 cents or a dollar,” he said.

Over time, the practice fell out of favor, Keegan recalled, when professional retailers would outbid kids for the bicycles and ship them to Africa. When interest sparked once again in Greenwich, Keegan volunteered to take over the program.

“It’s a really positive interaction between the giver – the community, the facilitator, us and the recipients – the kids who are going to get them,” said Keegan. “The whole department is excited about the opportunity to do it.”

More bicycles will be awarded to students at Central Middle School next year. Keegan said he has more bikes and is relying on schools to make nominations. “This whole place is littered with bicycles. I put them anywhere I can find a space.”

Any residents who are looking to donate bicycles can call 203-869-9519.

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