Lt. Greg Cochran, famed for his 555-pound tire-flipping feats, had a much easier day ahead of him Friday, Dec. 18, with dozens of two-wheelers and a helping hand from Santa Claus.
Cochran and several Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies helped distribute 112 bicycles to children as part of its annual Christmas bicycle program.
“I remember when I got my first bicycle and that was just the greatest thing ever, being able to get out and ride and see the neighborhood,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said. “… It’s a big deal to get a bicycle, and so I’m so glad that we’re able to provide that each and every year for these kids who otherwise may not get anything.”
Cars lined up at the Sheriff’s Office’s headquarters Friday on Browns Bridge Road, as deputies often loaded multiple bikes. The program helped 37 individual families, and bicycles were also provided to the Edmondson-Telford Child Advocacy Center, Hall-Dawson Court-Appointed Special Advocate program and Hall County Victim Services.
“They’ve been asking for a bike this whole year, and with this COVID thing, it’s been really hard for us financially, so this is really helping me out and getting my kids what they want for Christmas,” said Jessica Areguin, of Gainesville.
Despite not having their usual fundraising events like the Show and Shine car show due to COVID-19, the Sheriff’s Office still reached its $10,000 goal through donations from local businesses and anonymous donors.
“We always want it to succeed, but in times like this (when) you face that adversity, you even want it to succeed more,” Cochran said. “This year, we actually gave away more than we did last year.”
In 2019, 102 bicycles were donated and 27 families were helped.