O'Fallon Progress

Volunteer has his bike stolen. Big Brothers Big Sisters gets him a new one.

From left, Natalie Jablonski, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois; Darius Lewis, of Maryland Heights, Mo; Head Lindenwood Wrestling Coach Angelo Crinzi, Athletic Director Ryan Kaiser, and Assistant Wrestling Coach Homer Vallejo.
From left, Natalie Jablonski, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois; Darius Lewis, of Maryland Heights, Mo; Head Lindenwood Wrestling Coach Angelo Crinzi, Athletic Director Ryan Kaiser, and Assistant Wrestling Coach Homer Vallejo.

Lindenwood University-Belleville men’s wrestling team member Darius Lewis received an unexpected birthday gift at the charity where he donates much of his time.

Recently, Lewis rode his bicycle to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois office on Frank Scott Parkway. He parked it outside the building while he stopped in to talk to his co-workers. When he walked back outside just moments later, the bike was gone.

Without a way to get around, Lewis wasn’t sure how he was going to meet his goal of donating 150 hours to Big Brothers Big Sisters this semester.

But Big Brothers Big Sisters President and CEO Natalie Jablonski wasn’t going to let a bike thief stand in his way.

“We wanted to get you this so you can go do something awesome,” Jablonski said when the bike was presented to Lewis, according to a news release.

The new wheels, a black mountain bike bought from The Bike Surgeon in Shiloh, was delivered on Lewis’ birthday.

“That was the biggest surprise, getting this,” Lewis said in a news release. “I normally don’t celebrate my birthday or do anything special, other than get some ice cream, so this was pretty awesome.”

Lewis, of Maryland Heights, Mo., said he hopes to use his Lindenwood Belleville education to start his own nonprofit organization someday.

“For me personally, the main reason I’m majoring in psychology is because I’m trying to better the world in some manner,” Lewis said. “I enjoy working with people, and with Big Brothers Big Sisters, I get to help children. They do a lot of great work and have an amazing community one-on-one program, which is one of the main reasons it attracted me. It’s a fun, friendly environment.”

Lewis said he didn’t know what he would do if he couldn’t volunteer at the charity anymore because of a lack of transportation.

“I love it here,” Lewis said. “I’m really proud and happy to be working at Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

  Comments