PAUL LEBELLE -
I was raised in Norbeck, Maryland in a two-hundred year old house that was built by carpenter John Burriss. The eldest of three boys, we didn’t always have the latest toys but we always ate well with fresh produce from our garden, crabs and oysters from the Chesapeake Bay, and my mother’s homemade bread, jams, pickles, cakes, and cookies.
I feel compelled to pass that joy and love along.
ADAM BURKOWSKE -
I grew up in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, doing a lot of things that normal kids do; I was in the boy scouts as a kid, on the swim team every summer, played lacrosse through high school, and rugby in college at Radford University, where I studied Music, Education, and English.
I have two brothers and a sister, who all had similar experiences growing up. We spent most of our childhood and young adult lives peddling to and from these places and activities on our bikes. Growing up in a single parent home, we may have relied on our bikes more than most kids. We were lucky to have a mom, who like magic, made things like a new bike appear; but it wasn’t magic. It was long hard hours away from her family, and personal sacrifice that made those kinds of things appear on birthdays and Christmas. Long hard hours, and help from friends, family, and people in our community, some of whom we didn’t know very well. All the little things they did for my family made our lives a little easier, a little more fun.
Almost four years ago, while living in downtown Baltimore, I decided to sell my car and rely, once again, on my bike as a main mode of transportation. Riding through the neighborhoods of the city reminds me regularly of being a kid again, and I still feel the excitement build as I get to the top of a hill and prepare for the reward of my labor as I coast down the other side.
BIKE FREE -
It was these memories that were the groundwork for Bike Free. As fortunate as we were to have a bike growing up, we knew that there are so many kids today who aren’t as fortunate. We spoke about this after work on more than a few occasions and decided we needed to spend all of our spare time planning and preparing for a 6,000+ mile, fund-raising bike ride across, up, and down our great country. With both of our families having military backgrounds, and our country’s increasing involvement in the Middle East and Afghanistan, we knew that children of our military could really use a bicycle. We believe that being outside in the fresh air, sunshine, and physical activity not only raises your heart rate, but also raises your spirit.
We also have been blessed to work for Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant. If it were not for Roy’s we never would have met. The ideals of Roy’s are rooted in family, community, quality, and doing what is right – not only at work, but as a way of life. These ideals created an environment that has helped our dream to blossom. We are extremely happy and proud to have Roy’s support our cause.