Bikes for Butte: Alameda County Sheriff's deputies assemble some 400 bicycles for Camp Fire survivors

ByKatie Utehs via KGO logo
Thursday, December 20, 2018
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It looks like Santa's Workshop in the East Bay. Hundreds of bikes are being assembled for children who lost everything in the camp fire.

DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of bikes are being assembled in Dublin and will soon be delivered to children who lost everything in the Camp Fire. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office created the Bikes for Butte campaign less than two weeks ago and the response has been overwhelming.

One bolt at a time Captain Derrick Hesselein and his son Landon are assembling bikes and rebuilding children's lives.

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"That's why I wanted you to come I wanted you to see how important it is to help others, people that are in need," said Capt. Hesselein as they worked.

Alameda County Sheriff's deputies deployed to Butte County during the devastating Camp Fire.

"It hit home-- all the loss of life, the loss of building structures, everything was very difficult to see," said Deputy Chris Delima, Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Delima wanted to do more. The idea Bikes for Butte was born.

"At that moment I went to Dick's Sporting Goods I talked to them and they called me a couple days later and they said we're going to give you a hundred bikes," said Dep. Delima.

"We started out with this goal of 100 bicycles and it quickly grew and grew and grew and now we're at 400 bicycles plus another $20,000 in sporting and activity equipment for kids," said Sgt. Ray Kelly, Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.

Donations have poured in from businesses, volunteers, non-profits, a member of ALCO Search and Rescue is donating a semi-truck and trailer and his drive time to haul the bikes to Butte County Friday morning.

Every bike comes with a helmet and the sense of freedom found on two wheels.

"When kids can't exercise, when they can't be active that creates anxiety and that anxiety is hard for parents so if we can alleviate some of that with our Bikes for Butte campaign that's what we're doing," said Sgt. Kelly.

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Deputies and sheriff office staff volunteer after their shifts while bike professionals perform final safety checks. The Bikes for Butte campaign is proving so successful the agency plans to roll it out again for kids in need in the Bay Area. San Louis Obispo Sheriff's Office is also working to create a Bikes for Butte effort.

The sheriff's office has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for their efforts.

Check out the latest stories and video about Butte County's Camp Fire.