EDWARDS AFB – Emily Christie couldn’t be happier as she rode her brand new bicycle around the Base Exchange parking lot Dec. 4.
“It’s awesome. It is has pink, purple, butterflies and it looks pretty! I love riding it so much,” said Emily who plans to ride her bicycle “forever.”
Emily was one of 60 military children to receive a brand new bicycle that day.
Northrop Grumman at U.S. Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale worked with the Edwards First Sergeants Association to get the bicycles to families on base.
“We identified family members in need of some good holiday cheer,” said Master Sgt. Alexander Erb, 412th Operations Group first sergeant.
Prior to their delivery, around 30 Northrop employees participated in a build-a-bike pizza party at their Palmdale facility. The assembly was done by an employee resource group, VERITAS, Veteran’s Employees and Reservists Inspired to Act and Serve.
Troy Gabbard, Northrop’s Palmdale Site facility manager, is the group’s commissioner.
“Most of our members are actually veterans, so we are big supporters of the USO, adopt-a-family programs and then this year we did the bike program,” said Gabbard. “It’s a priceless moment, to actually be able to give something to these kids and be able to see their faces light up just goes beyond words.”
A small group of volunteers transported the bikes and unloaded them in the BX parking lot near the Christmas tree, while parents and children patiently watched.
“I think it’s important for us to support the families that are serving our country,” said Michelle Webb, Northrop’s global corporate responsibility western region specialist.
The bikes, which ranged from small tricycles to young adult, were purchased in bulk from Huffy.
In Emily’s case, the bicycle she received was her very first brand-new bike.
“She’s always had hand-me-downs from her older sister, so this is an amazing gift. She’s extremely excited,” said Emily’s mom, Theresa.
“Northrop Grumman is really helping us with this stuff,” said Erb. “I thought it made everyone really happy. It was pretty exciting for the children and it was a great spot to do it in front of the Christmas tree.”