Veterans find peace in fixing bikes

1 year 3 months 6 days ago Monday, November 13 2017 Nov 13, 2017 Monday, November 13, 2017 12:58:00 PM CST November 13, 2017 in News
By: Gabrielle Hays, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Tyler Kempker is a volunteer for Bike to the Future. A program that gives bikes to people in the community who don't have a car. The group has donated bikes to the homeless, refugees, re-entry residents and people who are in need. 

Kempker spent six years in the U.S. Army. He was enlisted in 2006 and retired in 2012.

"Since then I've been involved with Truman Veterans' Hospital. I deal with PTSD and the VA has really helped with that," Kempker said.

He now spends his time outdoors, hiking, and fixing bikes. 

"It helps to do things that get your mind off of what bothers you, fixing bikes does that for me."

In the beginning the program depended on individual volunteers who signed up through the organization's website. 

That was before veterans from Truman Veterans' Hospital started coming every Tuesday to fix donated bikes so they could be given away.

Kempker is one of those veterans. He said fixing bikes allows him to help the community and himself. 

"Fixing these bikes is an outlet for us. We don't have to think about anything else but getting those bikes out to those in need," Kempker said.

Dan Steska is the lead volunteer for Bike to the Future. He said the program has been around for a year now and has grown to help almost everyone.

"We had no idea that this would grow to help both the community and the volunteers when we started this," Steska said. "It's truly fulfilling."

Erin Carr is a recreational therapist at the V.A. hospital. She said fixing bikes is more than just a volunteering opportunity.

"It's important to understand that a lot of the bikes end up in the hands of other veterans in need who are out in the community," Carr said. "So it's this idea of veterans helping veterans, it's a circle."

For Kempker, this is partially why he loves volunteering so much.

"It's big for us. I mean I love helping everyone, but when we as veterans get to help other veterans, it means a lot," Kempker said. 

For more information on how to contact or donate to Bike to the Future you can visit its website.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA –Mid-Missourians have already witnessed several snow and ice events this season. The next round is expected late Tuesday afternoon... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1:57:00 AM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia City Council passed an ordinance Monday, that will require all tobacco retailers to register for a license... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 10:57:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
WAYNESVILLE - The Pulaski County Prosecutor filed charges against a suspect after he allegedly attacked a man with a knife.... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 10:53:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - There is a "true emergency" right now at the southern border, a Missouri congressman said Monday. ... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 8:04:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Another week in Missouri in the 2018-2019 winter weather season means another winter storm system. Here's the setup... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 7:45:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police confirmed the man involved in the deadly crash over the weekend has been in more than... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 6:18:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians have had to adjust their daily lives to the cold weather for weeks now. For some people,... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 4:25:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLE COUNTY - From not answering their cell phones, to trying multiple apps and buying equipment for their landline, phone... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 4:16:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Officers Association on Monday endorsed Columbia Mayor Brian Treece for re-election at a press conference... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 3:44:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Michael Hoyt had an emotional first visit to the site of the crash that killed sister over the... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 3:41:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — An unidentified MU student has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, the university confirmed in a news release on... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 3:11:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are investigating after a person was found dead inside of ABC Chinese Cuisine restaurant Monday morning. ... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 2:18:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
BOSS, Mo. (AP) — The Dent County Sheriff's Office is investigating a murder-suicide involving two brothers. Investigators say the... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 12:07:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Twenty-five years after Michael Davis died from injuries suffered in a brutal fraternity hazing ritual... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 9:40:00 AM CST February 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY --Efforts by lawmakers to increase literacy rates among Missouri students are on the drawing board again during the... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 8:23:00 AM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – At their meeting Monday night, Columbia City Council members will discuss a bridge repair project that could cause... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 7:08:00 AM CST February 18, 2019 in Top Stories
(CNN) -- Police have released the names of the victims in Friday's mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois. Five people... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 5:26:10 AM CST February 18, 2019 in News
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — An initial background check failed to detect a felony conviction that should have barred the man... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 17 2019 Feb 17, 2019 Sunday, February 17, 2019 4:34:00 PM CST February 17, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 23°
7am 24°
8am 25°
9am 27°
10am 29°