The mission of the United Way of Dunn County is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community. The organization’s Day of Caring does just that, and a small group of Xcel Energy employees demonstrated – in a big way – that “caring power” through their volunteerism at the annual event on Aug. 15.
This year’s project began with a bunch of less-than-adequate bicycles, some of which were literally pulled from the dump, and ended with smiles on the faces of several children and adults in the area.
Xcel Energy and the United Way of Dunn County collaborated with the Rotary Club, who collected and donated about 70 bikes, and the Menomonie Boys and Girls Club, who organized children to assist with bicycle repairs. Tim Bartels, Megan Boldig, Mike Johnsen, Rick Kaiser, Pam Lamm, Katie Miller, Bob Schultz and Dean Steinmetz from Menomonie and Shelly Sollman from Rice Lake spent the afternoon changing and patching tire tubes, replacing and repairing brakes, replacing and decorating seats, greasing chains and power washing finished bicycles. In total, the Xcel Energy group was able to produce 52 operational bikes. The children’s bikes will be given out to Boys and Girls Club members and the adult bikes will be donated to the Dunn County Jail.
“It felt amazing to turn so many bikes that were not useable into fully functioning bikes,” said Boldig, a designer at the Menomonie Service Center. “The Boys and Girls Club kids were so curious and involved, and I loved seeing their pride as they helped, especially when they ‘robbed’ the perfect part from the ‘Frankenstein’ pile.”