Cycling through the holidays: Sanipac tradition continues

Phil Griffith and grandson Everett Griffith, 10, construct a bike together. ERIN TIERNEY/THE CHRONICLE

GLENWOOD – Sanipac’s maintenance building transformed into Santa’s workshop on the evening of Dec. 3 … and nearly all of the “elves” were Oregon Ducks fans. 

More than 80 Sanipac employees on Friday enlisted the help of family and co-workers to install seatposts, tighten clamps and attach handlebars to over 150 bikes for charity.  

While installing disc brake rotors and mounting derailleurs, volunteers could watch the Ducks play in the Pac-12 Championship game via the company’s distinctive “Duck Truck,” which streamed the game live on its big-screen televisions. 

The Ducks’ loss didn’t spoil the feel-good tradition that’s lasted over a decade. 

More than 80 Sanipac employees, family and friends turned out to help construct bikes as part of an annual event.

“This is probably the best event that we do …. You can see the smiles on people’s faces; just the idea of giving back brings out the best in people,’’ said Brian White, who is the general manager of Sanipac. He brought his 5-year-old son, Owen, along for help. 

The company raises money for the bikes at its annual summer golf tournament at Creswell’s Emerald Valley Golf Resort, in addition to vendor party donations. This year, the company raised over $11,000. 

With that money, employees are then tasked to purchase bikes in bulk from area stores like Fred Meyer, said Aaron Donley, sales manager, who brought his wife, Jenni, along to the event, which included a pizza party and raffles. 

“Going up and down the streets of every neighborhood, a lot of our drivers know all the kids on their route and wave to them as they drive by… it’s a blessing to be able to give back,” Donley said. 

Aaron Donley, sales manager, and wife Jenni, of Creswell, have fun building a “sweet” bike.

Once the bikes are assembled, they are inspected for safety before being wheeled out and delivered to the charity recipients in time for Christmas. Recipients this year include the City of Springfield partners – like its school district, Creswell Family Relief Nursery, Toys for Tots, Jasper Mountain and the Eugene Boy Scouts.

“We have around 20 bikes that are going to be coming to our McKinney-Vento program students,” said Jenna McCulley, who is the community engagement officer at SPS. The program assists students who are navigating homelessness or unaccompanied youth. “Safe Routes to School is so excited to have more students on bikes that they have secured helmets for the kids receiving bikes this year.”

Brian White, general manager of Sanipac, and son Owen White, 5, build their first bike of the night at the maintenance shop on Glenwood Boulevard.

For employees, it’s a served-up opportunity to give back to their communities. 

Devon Bates, a customer service representative for Sanipac, enlisted the help of his son, Quincy, 6, and daughter, Kamiah, 11, to help. 

“I remember my kids’ eyes lighting up after seeing their first bikes under the tree. As a parent, that’s the best feeling ever,” Bates said. “I enjoy giving back to the community … I probably should do more of it, and I like that Sanipac gives me the opportunity to do so. We’re here with family and friends and are giving back to the community, so it’s the best of both worlds.”

Devon Bates, left in green shirt, a customer service representative for Sanipac, enlisted the help of his children, including daughter Kamiah Bates, 11, at the annual Sanipac charity event. Alysha White (center), customer service representative and son Ethan Kane, 8, along with Aimee Albrecht (far right), a front desk and customer service representative, work together to construct a bike.



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