June 14, 2008
Bicycles for 500 -- compliments of Caron Butler
Ever seen a kid smile with happiness when she gets her first bicycle?
Well, multiply that by 500 and you have the scene at the Bryant Center this morning, when NBA Wizard and hometown hero Caron Butler gave away that many bikes to Racine kids.
Two-time All-Star Butler has done this twice before, but it seems there are always kids needing bicycles. And so he arrived with a huge truck from Wal-Mart, bringing 500 two-wheelers of all sizes and 500 helmets. Every kid who registered in advance got one, and many were available for late arrivals. Almost every kid who showed up got a bike fit for his or her age and size.
And the smiles were ear-to-ear. Racine Parks Director Donnie Snow and his minions, along with Police Chief Kurt Wahlen, and his, were on hand to keep everything moving smoothly. It was the start of a joyous -- and sunny and dry! -- Juneteenth celebration at the Bryant Center, with food, music, games and lots of activities.
Butler, who donated $10,000 to the city, will be recognized at 3 p.m. as the festival's "Kids Corner" sponsor, just one of many activities he's participating in this weekend. On Friday, he was on hand for the unveiling of a classroom at the Cops 'N Kids Learning Center, along with Mayor Gary Becker and Cops 'N Kids founder and Director Julia Burney-Witherspoon.
On Sunday, Butler will host a Father's Day Clinic at the Bray Center, from 10 a.m. to noon before hosting a family skate party at Skatetown USA at 4 p.m.
"I grew up here, my family is here and the dreams that I had as a child have now come true, so I want to show all the youth in Racine that you can make a difference, you just have to work hard and put your mind to it. Follow the 3D's: Discipline, Determination, Dedication and there will be no limit to what you can accomplish," Butler said.
Nor is the bicycle giveaway Butler's only philanthropy in Racine. Each year, he also hands out 500 winter coats and hundreds of turkeys at Thanksgiving.