PORT ANGELES — When 65 children in the Port Angeles area wake up this Christmas morning, each will be greeted by a shiny new bicycle under the family holiday tree.
The bikes — ranging in size from toddler to adult — were bought and assembled free of charge by “elves” working for Murrey’s Olympic Disposal, Inc., of Port Angeles, said Chris Giraldes, district manager.
“As a whole, it is an amazing feeling to know that you are going to make such an amazing impact on a child’s life, and I think that is the biggest takeaway,” he said over the phone Friday.
“The employees were talking for days about how it made them feel. It is a huge morale booster, and who knows the effect it is going to have on the community and the kids. That is what is important.”
The bikes were purchased from Walmart with $3,000 in donations — half from employees and half in matching funds from the company’s Christmas Promise program, Giraldes said.
“We got the money [and] we purchased the bikes and helmets that go with each bike,” he said. “We ended up getting 65 of each.”
The company coordinated with Boys &Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula to distribute the bikes to kids in need, Giraldes said.
The bicycles were dropped off to the Boys and Girls Clubs officials Dec. 16, Giraldes said. The club officials gave them to the parents and guardians of underprivileged children for distribution on Christmas morning.
Putting together 65 bicycles is no easy task, but the employees were able to accomplish this feat in about three hours, Giraldes said.
“We had pizza, pop, water and juice and invited the families of the employees to come up and assemble the bikes and we had a great time,” he said.
Wave Broadband ran a line from the office to the shop so that employees assembling bikes could watch the Seahawks game while they worked, Giraldes said.
Each participant “pretty much went start to finish on every bike,” Giraldes said.
“We had a bunch of tools, and put some tool kits together and people assembled the bikes.”
A former bicycle builder was placed in charge of quality control, Giraldes said.
“We had an air-up station that, as the bikes ran through, we filled up the air and did a final check to make sure everything was good,” he said.
“It was really an outstanding event. The employees — I can’t speak highly enough about how they came together and really helped the community.”
This was the first time the company has purchased bikes for local children, Giraldes said, adding “it will be an annual event going forward.”
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.