Spokes of Generosity: University of Tennessee Extension spreads Christmas cheer with bike-building project

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Extension employees recently took on a special holiday service project in the spirit of Christmas charity, going beyond their usual roles as educators and advisers.

What started as a leadership development meeting for members of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Extension has snowballed into something much bigger ahead of the Christmas season. Instead, agents, specialists, and staff came together for a festive workshop to build and deliver brand-new bicycles for children in need.

The clanking of wrenches set the tone of the event as the dedicated team of ag industry workers embraced their inner elves, assembling the bikes with care.

“Luckily, we don’t have to have torque wrenches and welders,” said Kenny Herndon, a skilled mechanic from Carroll County, who found joy in contributing his expertise to the project. While he was tempted to bring along his entire tool kit, he appreciated the simplicity of the heartwarming task.

Underlying this act of kindness was a valuable lesson in volunteerism. UT Extension agents spoke to 4-Hers about the importance of donating time and then demonstrated this principle through their own actions. The bike-building initiative was not just about assembling wheels but about creating a positive impact on the Memphis community.

“We’re in the Volunteer State, so we’re part of volunteerism, and our agents on a daily basis, and our specialists volunteer throughout their local communities, so this is a great opportunity for us to continue that volunteer spirit,” said UT Extension Agent Jerry Lamb.

The historic Peabody Hotel in Memphis served as the gathering place at the heart of this charitable endeavor, a project part of the Tennessee Extension Leadership Academy’s staff development program. While the hotel’s famous family of ducks provided entertainment for the group, participants said they were little help in terms of bike assembly. UT Extension agents turned the hotel into the North Pole of Shelby County. Working tirelessly on an assembly line, they completed ten bikes within an hour.

“They’re learning about their personal strengths, how to apply it within a team scenario to lead within the organization,” said Brigitte Passman.

The true magic unfolded as the bikes were delivered to Knowledge Quest, a Memphis organization dedicated to expanding minds and transforming lives. The bikes, a surprise for ten selected students based on their attendance, promised to bring smiles and joy.

“It’s going to be a surprise to the 10 students that were selected, but they were selected based on their attendance here,” said Latasha Eichols from Knowledge Quest, expressing her gratitude to the group. “I, too, am waiting to see their smiling faces.”

With Christmas approaching, these UT Extension agents became Santa’s little helpers, ensuring that some kids would pedal into the holidays on their own set of wheels.

Related Stories
Two Tennessee farmers were named National Young Farmer and Ranchers winners during the 105th annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Two Tennessee farmers were named National Young Farmer & Rancher winners during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 105th annual meeting last week.
Explore Secret Garden Bees’ sweet story of growth and success in the world of honey production thanks to a vital grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund.

LATEST STORIES BY THIS AUTHOR:
Jalyssa Beaudry tells Brownfield Ag News that 75 percent of the dairy farmers she interviewed do not use automated milking systems on their operations.
Potatoes USA developed new software to see just how popular their product really is.
USDA economists are expecting U.S. wheat exports to go up.
A recent study by the Environmental Defense Fund in Kansas is urging farmers to diversify crop portfolios to mitigate risks and ensure long-term sustainability.
As farmers gear up for the spring planting season, it’s crucial to remember that financial planning goes hand in hand with early season crop protection.
Spot prices for corn posted another three-year low last week and they are mimicking a trend seen about a decade ago.
Supporters donated $1,161,970, and all of that money will go towards helping our nation’s future ag leaders.
Rural Lifestyle & Entertainment Shows
Dailey & Vincent are BACK ON RFD-TV for another great season, brought to you by Gus Arrendale & Springer Mountain Farms. Join them as they welcome scores of fabulous bluegrass, country, and gospel music acts as special guests!
Join popular polka performer Mollie Busta as she hosts the weekly “Mollie B Polka Party” on RFD-TV! The one-hour program features the nation’s top polka bands and a wide variety of ethnic styles produced on location at music festivals from around the country.
Starring award-winning artist Perley Curtis, anyone who enjoys the classic sound of real Country music will love “Perley’s Place.” Filmed live at the iconic Nashville Palace, near Opryland in Nashville, TN, with a live audience, it’s one classic County hit after another.
RFD-TV’s newest music series, “On the Record,” presented by John Deere, takes viewers on a journey through the heart of country music. Hosted by renowned broadcaster, Suzanne Alexander, the show features long-form interviews with today’s biggest artists and the veterans who inspired them. “On the Record” also gives viewers a front row seat to intimate performances and exclusive music video releases, highlighting the broad scope of Nashville’s talent.
The affable and unassuming international singing star Daniel O’Donnell is one of Ireland’s best known performers – from Australia to Alaska.