The USO of North Carolina and BCBSNC teamed up to build and present bikes of all colors and sizes to military children at Hay Street Methodist Church, Nov. 9.
To receive a bike, Families took part in a pre-registration. Family members of active duty, National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the rank E-6 or below could sign up to receive bikes.
“The real satisfaction is when they (the volunteers) see the faces of the kids … I think just seeing the faces of the Family members is so important,” said Cheryl Parquet, director, community relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
The USO of NC provided the bikes and BCBSNC provided the volunteers and resources to make the event happen.
“Today we had about 60 Blue Cross Blue Shield employees … and we built 75 bikes. We had about 35 Families to come in today to receive bikes including the kids,” said Parquet.
The BCBSNC and USO of North Carolina Bike Build has become an annual event, with this being its second year. The first year saw the USO of NC and BCBSNC supplying and building 50 bikes. This year that number increased to 200
Children are invited to choose any bike they would like, and according to Parquet, this year there was a great deal of excitement about the Frozen-themed bikes being offered.
The benefit of this event is mutual, according to organizers.
“The partners get to see right away the looks on these kid’s faces and hear the stories, and part of our mission is to make sure America stays connected to our military and never forgets,” said Kathy Bull, vice president, strategic partnership and development, USO of NC.
“Our employees just love the engagement and being here with the Families,” said Parquet.