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Portland dad donates bikes to help students: 'I enjoy what I do'

A Portland dad donates bikes to help students: 'I enjoy what I do'


by Joe English

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) — Many of the kindergartners and first graders at Portland's Woodlawn Elementary have never had a bicycle to call their very own.

But thanks to David Yandell, dozens of students will soon be riding in style.

For 14 years, Yandell has been organizing a bike give-a-way at schools around Portland.

"Sometimes, it's 200, or 250, and sometimes like today, it's 50 at Woodlawn and 25 at Hayhurst Elementary" said Yandell.

He does it for other people's kids, but also for his own.

He never had the chance to see his own son on bicycle.

"My baby died in my arms" said Yandell. "I was holding him when they took him off the respirator. He was my only child, yes."

Over the years, Yandell figures he's handed out around 1,800 bikes to kids. He gets cash donations from various groups, some who give thousands to pay for the brand new bikes.

It's not just Yandell, and it's not just bikes. Portland Police come along to make sure every kid has a helmet that fits just right.

Kids like 6-year-old Julie, who've never had a bike, can now experience the feeling of their first pedal.

"There’s flowers right there. And flowers right here. And I like the handle" said Julie as she hopped on for the first time. "I wish I could just go home and ride it."

Yandell's been in the news before for his efforts. For years, he collected and handed out Thanksgiving turkeys to families who couldn't afford one.

But it's the bikes - and the kids - that really mean something special to him.

"I can’t explain it... it gets me high. I enjoy what I do. People really like what I do and they want to contribute. And I just enjoy the empowerment - the empowerment provided to the kids. I kind of live through my child, through these kids. For a moment, just a brief moment, all these kids are mine."

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