Heartland veterans benefit from Sikeston DPS bike donation
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The John J. Pershing Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri is working hard to help veterans.
All thanks to more than 200 bikes donated from Sikeston's Department of Public Safety back in January.
It all began with a social worker and a Facebook post.
Now, veterans in southeast Missouri are getting their fixed up bikes and a new start at life.
Getting a new bike can make you feel good.
"Joy, happiness.." Desert Storm veteran Teresia Shumpert said.
But to a group of Heartland veterans, it has a deeper meaning.
"It means everything to me. I don't have anything left, so this right here means everything to me," Army veteran Leslie Goldsmith said.
John Cornelius, who works for the John J. Pershing Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, is fixing them up and giving them out as fast as he can.
"I spent some time as a homeless veteran myself," Cornelius said.
Cornelius was a helicopter mechanic in the Army and an Iraq war veteran.
"It's a huge blessing just to be able to give back to my brothers and sisters in arms knowing that I was where they were at one point in time, and to be an example of – it's not the end – there's always more to the story, and just – work your hardest, and use the programs that are available to you – just strive for success," Cornelius said.
"It's just fantastic what he's doing – taking his time out to do this, and I believe it's awesome. I really do," Shumpert said.
The bikes will help the vets not only get around town, but it's a step towards getting their lives back.
"I had a house and everything in Jackson, Missouri, and I lost all of it, and so I'm just trying to build things back slowly. Get independent again," Marine veteran Evan McManaman said.
"I've got something. I've got something I can ride, and I haven't rode a bike in like 20 years. So, I practiced Friday, and I got the hang of it," Shumpert said.
All three veterans along with Cornelius said they are so grateful to Sikeston's Department of Public Safety for donating the bikes.
So far the program has given out nine bikes and over the next month, they hope to give out 10 more.
If you are a veteran in need of a bike, contact the John J. Pershing Medical Center.
You can make a request through a social worker to receive a bike.
If you would like to donate a bike, contact the medical center and they can connect you with Cornelius.
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