GATE CITY — The Scott County Sheriff’s Office continued a holiday tradition Saturday afternoon by providing more than a dozen area children with a free bicycle for Christmas.
Scott County Sheriff John Puckett said his office was able to provide 13 school-age boys and girls with a new bicycle as a result of the program.
This is the fifth year Puckett has held the bike giveaway, which was begun during the tenure of former Scott County Sheriff Jerry Broadwater.
The event, Puckett said, is one he looks forward to each year.
“The families are very appreciative of it, and the kids are just tickled to death when they get one,” Puckett said. “And I look forward to helping the kids in any way I can.”
Puckett said the majority of the bicycles were purchased with funds generated from his office’s calendar fund, while the remaining ones were donated by members of the local community.
“We buy the bicycles, new ones, but then we have people who volunteer to donate them,” Puckett said. “It makes more people that we can give them to when they are donated, so it really helps out.”
The bicycles go to children in low-income families that are identified with the help of the Scott County Department of Social Services, Puckett said.
“We deal with a lot of families that are in need, but we don’t have the time to look them up and get all the information we need,” Puckett said. “Social Services deals with a lot of the children that are in need on a daily basis, … so it works well to have the partnership with them.”
New children are chosen to receive a bicycle each year in an effort to help as many as possible, he added.
In addition to providing bicycles to children who might not otherwise receive one, Puckett said the program is also a beneficial form of community outreach.
“A lot of times you deal with kids it’s ones that are in trouble, but if you can do something for the kids besides arrest them and do something good for them, they know you’re not all bad,” Puckett said. “It helps them realize that you’re there to do your job and just try to make the county a better place to live.”