Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 5, 2014
Freemasons give 18 bikes to students across the peninsula
From left, Lars Hooper, Seth Welch, Elana Bakeman, Brienna Limeburner, Maeve McLaughlin and Cole Lepper stand beside their new bikes, courtesy of the Brooksville Freemasons and the Bikes for Books program. Behind the students stand Masons Sean Walsh, Dave Rackliffe and Kim Allen and Brooksville Elementary School volunteer Ray “Grandpa” Pata. The awards were given in Brooksville, Maine on May 30, 2014.
by Faith DeAmbrose
Eighteen students in Blue Hill, Brooksville and Sedgwick went home from school with something new last Friday. A new bike.
“This is way better than my bike,” said one student as he went up to choose his new bike in Brooksville.
The bikes were given in exchange for reading books. “Bikes for Books” is a program of the Ira Berry Masonic Lodge #128, which serves the towns of Blue Hill, Brooksville and Sedgwick. Statewide, more than 30 Masonic Lodges participate, and according to the Grand Lodge of Maine Facebook page, more than 1,200 bicycles have been given to Maine students since 2007.
Masons Sean Walsh, David Rackliffe Jr. and Kim Allen began their bike tour in Brooksville, then went to Sedgwick and finally to the Blue Hill Consolidated School were 419 books were read. In total more than 700 books were read in the three schools.
The number of bikes given away has grown in recent years, said Walsh who is in his second year of leading the program for the Freemasons. Last year the lodge gave out 12 bikes and this year that number grew to 16.
The bikes and helmets come exclusively from Huffy, said Walsh, and the Masons purchase them at a discounted price. They then assemble them before giving them out to the students.
This year’s winners: