We started this process a couple of months ago just days short of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. So when former Marine, Afghanistan vet and purple heart recipient John Reid reached out to us about helping out with something that he was doing with his students at Gilcrest Elementary, there was absolutely ZERO hesitation to put our best foot forward and help him and his students out.

Both John and Gilcrest Elementary Principal Tad McDonald had been working to bring the All Kids Bike program to their school and when they finally got the news that this was going to be a reality, the next step was raising the funds for 20+ bikes to be delivered to the school.

When Mr. Reid initially reached out to me, this campaign that he was talking about caught my attention. But, what brought it to a whole new level for me was his story and his journey. I come from a military family, so this hit home with me in a big way. I can't even begin to express the gratitude I have for him and ALL of the men and women serving our country and all of the vets who have sacrificed so much for us.

So before we get to the bikes, let me introduce you to John Reid.

John joined the Marine Corps at the age of 20, enlisted into the Marine Corps infantry, and became an 0331 Machine Gunner after graduating from the school of infantry in Camp Pendleton, California.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 4th Marine, “The Magnificent Bastards”, and completed two deployments with them before extending to go on a third deployment to the district of Now Zad, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Two months into his third deployment, John was leading his squad out on a combined arms patrol with the Afghan National Army and the Afghan Nation Police to secure and clear a known Taliban sub-commander’s compound.

He led a small team of Marines to the farthest edge of our perimeter and, shortly after establishing security, were ambushed from multiple locations.

During the fire fight, John had taken a machine gun round to his right arm and was immediately evacuated to Camp Leatherneck for his first of many surgeries.

Every bone in his arm was shattered and John was left with six plates and 30 screws.

John was awarded the purple heart in his hospital bed a few weeks later and spent the next year training young Marines to go to combat until he was medically retired.

After years of struggling to find his purpose and losing a dear friend at the young age of 30 to a heart attack, John decided to get into physical education. That has brought him to where he is now, the physical education teacher at Gilcrest Elementary in Weld County.

So yeah, when John reached out for some help with this, there was no doubt in my mind that we were only going to help, but we were going to do whatever it took to make this happen and I'm happy to report, that through lots of teamwork, your donations and the donations of many others, we have surpassed our financial goal and now...these kids have their bikes!

Some of these kids don't have bikes of their own and this is a great way for them to have a little fun and do one of the main rites of passage for any kid...learning how to ride a bike plus develop some extra physical education and life skills.

We were very excited to go out for the unveiling of the surprise because the kids had no idea the bikes had arrived, also to congratulate John, Tad and the rest of the staff at Gilcrest.

These smiles say it all.

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