Frank Riddick's Bicycles
Clinton, KY -- When Frank Riddick was growing up on a farm in
western Tennessee, having a bicycle seemed as remote a possibility as
owning a new car. One of six children, he always had plenty to eat
and wear, but there wasn't much left for luxuries.
Remembering those childhood longings, two years ago he
decided to provide bicycles to youngsters whose families couldn't
afford to buy them one for Christmas.
To initiate the effort, he turned to the county mission
house. Supported by various churches, the Clinton-based ministry
provides food and clothing to low-income residents of the area.
In October, he posted a sign there reading, "If your child
doesn't have a bike and wants one, see me or Lula Bell (Puckett, the
"I gave a few bikes away and told children if it broke down
or they had a flat to call me," said Riddick, who retired from
farming in 1995. "I didn't dream anything like this would happen."
What happened is a Christmas tale to touch the hardest of
Scrooges. After buying 40 new bicycles and placing a classified ad
seeking used ones, word quickly circulated. Donations of bikes
started pouring in to his farm three miles north of town.
To date he has given away nearly 200 and has 100 more in his
workshop. Each carries a license plate reading, "Jesus Loves You."
But he didn't stop with free bikes. Riddick gave the children
Although he had built a 1.5-acre playground on his farm for
his grandchildren, three of the five now live out of state. After
getting acquainted with youngsters in the community, he invited them
out to the homemade attraction.
It includes a cable ride the length of a football field, with
capacity for four riders; a 50-foot-high tree swing and a 61-foot
slide. The latter is more than four times the length of conventional
Among other features is a merry-go-round-like device that
holds three small children. A group of high school seniors took
pictures of the cable ride for their photo albums and some children
have said they enjoy it as much as the old Opryland amusement park.
"It's a joy to know the Lord had in mind for these needy kids
to come out," he said. "A lot of these children I'm dealing with are
below poverty level. They live in bad environments, some are
mistreated and, without the mission house, most would be without
"I'm sure every community has children like this, but I
didn't know how bad it was until I started doing this," he noted.
Riddick's involvement also led him to buy a 15-passenger van.
Though he uses it to shuttle children to Team Kid, he primarily got
it to bring them to the playground.
Looking back, the member of First Baptist Church of Clinton
appreciates how God spared his life three times. In the past decade
he survived a bout with kidney cancer, getting electrocuted by a
7,200-volt power line, and a brain tumor that doctors thought was
cancerous but turned out to be stress-related.
Still, he doesn't want any acclaim for what he does, saying
the glory belongs to God.
"I cannot say I had a vision to do this," he said. "I had a
longing in my heart. I constantly feel a need to help the needy in
our community. I can look back and see how everything happening was
directed by God. I just didn't have enough spiritual knowledge to
[ From the Western Recorder (www.kybaptist.org), via 'Sermon Fodder' ]
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