A Kentucky man is credited with giving 622 bikes to impoverished kids in his community. Although he also owns his own business, Mick Polly uses his spare time to refurbish bicycles and distribute them to local children. Polly is humble about his generous contributions. However, his neighbors are calling him a hero.
Once a booming coal town, Whitesburg, Kentucky, has become one of the most impoverished cities in the United States.
Within a period of three years, more than 7,000 jobs were lost due to a decreased demand for coal. As a result, residents have fewer job opportunities, and many do not have the resources to relocate.
— Kentucky Record (@KentuckyRecord) May 21, 2015
As reported by the Atlantic, others are simply not willing to leave their hometown. Lifelong resident Ethan Hamblin, 23, remains optimistic in the face of adversity. In his opinion, the community needs to work together to revitalize the poverty-stricken town.
“How do we move forward as a region? The way that we do that is from within the region… It’s not seeking outside funding, it’s getting the people on the ground working together across county lines, across state lines, and thinking about how we do that work together.”
Mick Polly is one of many Whitesburg residents who have donated their time and resources to improve the community. In the last four years, Polly has given neighborhood kids 622 bikes.
In 2011, a young boy asked Polly to help him repair his bicycle. As he “didn’t have a clue about fixing bikes,” Polly asked his neighbors for some help. Within days, the generous man collected enough parts, and knowledge, to return the boy’s bicycle to working order.
Mick Polly Gives Away 622 Bikes to Kids in Struggling Coal-Mining Community “Some of them, it’s been the first bik… http://t.co/mQbvs1sULQ
— Trend Style Daily (@TrendStyleDaily) May 21, 2015
As reported by People, news about the repair spread throughout the neighborhood. Within weeks, Polly had numerous requests for bicycles and bicycle repairs.
Although the extra work can be overwhelming, Polly said it makes him feel good to see the children happy.
“I grew up in the housing project, so we didn’t have a whole lot either… It makes me feel so good inside to know that I’ve had the opportunity to help someone…”
Although he does not have a formal screening process, Polly said he encourages the children to work hard in school. He does not expect them to get straight “A’s” — he simply wants them to do their best.
Local resident Melissa Sturgill said Mick Polly is a hero.
“In this area where coal mining has declined and a lot of families struggle to make ends meet monthly, a lot of children do without basic necessities, not to mention they don’t have luxury items such as a bike… If it weren’t for Mick, there would be a lot of children in Letcher County without bikes.”
Although his neighbors think he is a hero, Polly refuses to take all the credit for giving the kids 622 bikes. He insists it was a community effort, as he receives numerous donations — which include bicycles and parts.
[Image via Shutterstock]