PALESTINE – A garage fire on Saturday damaged everything inside, including 4-year-old Raiden Everhart’s beloved bicycle.
He and his family pulled up to the scene of the fire at his great-grandparent’s property on the corner of US 36 and Hollansburg Tampico Rd. Young Raiden immediately asked Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mark Loy if they were able to save his bike…unfortunately they were not. This was understandably an emotional moment for the child, who looked forward to riding his bike every chance he got.
“We all try our hardest to save lives, conserve as much property as we can, and stop whatever bad is happening at the time. Sometimes we are successful and sometimes we fall short,” Chief Loy said.
After leaving the scene of the fire and seeing how much the bike meant to the boy, the chief wanted to do whatever he could to bring back a smile to the youngster’s face. So he and the rest of the crew at Station 15 went together to get a replacement bike and safety gear, which they presented to Raiden Tuesday evening at the fire department in Palestine.
After a minor adjustment to the seat height, it didn’t take long for Raiden to jump on and ride…with a big smile back on his face.
“Every time we have the opportunity to help someone’s heart heal I think we should try,” the chief added.
According to Raiden’s grandfather, Lee Everhart, the family lost a lot of valuable items in the fire, including racing bikes that belonged to he and his son Tommy. It goes without saying that a love for bikes is in the family blood.
“It is a great thing what the firefighters did for Raiden. I can’t thank them enough for their quick response and for everything they do,” he said. “All of the stuff can be replaced…I just thank God nobody was hurt!”
In a Facebook comment by his mom, Brandi Long noted that Raiden “loves his bike so much” and he said during the car ride home, “This is why I love the fire department!” His dad Tommy posted, “the first thing he (Raiden) talked about when he woke up this morning was his awesome bike that the firefighters got him.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Chief Mark Loy and members of the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department (Station 15) pictured with 4-year-old Raiden Everhart, his dad Tommy Everhart, mom Brandi Long, 1-year-old brother Jackson, grandpa Lee Everhart and great-grandparents Tom and Becky Everhart. (Clinton Randall photo)