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Meet the driving force behind Bikes for Good, who’s cranking up holiday cheer

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Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-19 08:57:11-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Holiday Happiness doesn’t always arrive in Santa’s sack. This year some goodies are rolling in on two wheels.

"I want to give back in a meaningful way and start here locally," Steve Gardner, the driving force behind Bikes for Good, said.  "I do remember when I got a bike; that was a big deal."

Bikes for Goods is an organization that collects bikes for the underprivileged in the Richmond area.

"The Bikes for Good is about trying to reconnect the nostalgia and trying to pass that feeling on to others," Gardner said. "I think a bike is about freedom and building confidence."

The 45-year-old IT manager’s goal is to give away 100 bicycles this season. He has a lot of experience serving the community. Gardner was a member of the U.S. Marines for 10 years who helped distribute 5,000 bikes in Roanoke, through Toys for Tots over three Christmases.

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"So personally it is about being able to go to bed at night and say ‘I was able to do my part,’” Gardner added.

Matthew Appelget, owner of River City Recycling, had donated 30 bicycles to Bikes for Good.

“I think people will step up because this is a cycling friendly city,” Appelget said. “Just being active and outside makes a kid that much healthier and gives them a better lifestyle.”

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Gardner said new or used bikes and accessories, like helmets, help his cause.

"It is amazing to think that a few people can do some amazing work," Gardner said.

Restauranteur Jake Crocker has asked his customers to give what they can.

"Steve and I go back to college so we got back many years now. I thought it was a great idea," Crocker said. "Steve really wants to give back to the world, but it is the community where you got to start."

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Gardner's goals this year remain modest, but he is eyeing a bigger cause: Bikes for Good projects in 100 cities across America

"We are just looking for people to share the idea. And to challenge friends to get involved," he said.

Gardner said he’s cranking up the Christmas cheer thanks to Santa’s helpers and a bit of Semper Fi.

"I’m no longer defending the country, but I still take an ownership in what we do here in the United States and taking care and protecting our own. And this is me just trying to continue that service."

All of the bicycles collected by Steve Gardner will be distributed through the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program.

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