Salvage Santa Needs Bicycle Parts, Gives for Thirty Years - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Salvage Santa Needs Bicycle Parts, Gives for Thirty Years

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This time of the year brings out the giving spirit in so many people Residents help complete strangers have a happy holiday.

A Bay County man has dedicated the past three decades to doing just that.

In a small workshop in Panama City, Salvage Santa prepares for his thirtieth Christmas.

Mike Jones refurbishes used and worn out bikes for hundreds of children each year. It all started with fixing just a few broken toys.

"For the last thirty years, we've been going a hundred miles an hour. We used to build 10, 15, then it got to 50, 100, now we're at 200, 250 bicycles a year," said Jones.

Jones doesn't waste any time. The day after Christmas he begins collecting and refurbishing for the next year. So far, he's fixed 200 bikes but wants to fix at least 50 more.

"Crunch time is right now because, we're depleting all the parts we bought all year. We need some money. We need parts."

It costs Jones about $20 to refurbish each bike. He replaces everything that could be a safety issue like tires, pedals, and brakes. He also goes the extra mile to make them sparkle and shine.

Believe it or not, Jones calls this his hobby, after his full-time job as Bay District School's Chief Safety and Security Officer.

"If I'm not in the garden or on the beach with the wife reading, I'm in this shop building. It takes all year to do it. Believe me, you don't do it over night."

Jones doesn't do it alone, either. He's supported by even the smallest of donations.

"Inside that letter they [a husband and wife] put two dollars, and they said we love what you do for the children. We can't afford much, but this is two dollars. I didn't even spend it. I kept that two dollars and got it in an envelope, and every year when I get that out, it just reminds me of the hope."

Jones works with Early Education and Care and some local churches to distribute the bicycles in time for Christmas.

If you would like to donate any old bikes, toys, or parts, you can drop them off at 2715 Hillsboro Avenue in the Hiland Park area.

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