PD hands out helmets
WILMINGTON - On Saturday, April 14, the Wilmington Police Department held a bike helmet event for the second year in a row, handing out free bike helmets to children. The helmets, which were paid for by Masons of Vermont Social Lodge #38, were handed out at a bike rally, which included obstacle courses and lunch provided by Shaw’s and Woodford SnoBusters.
According to Wilmington Police Chief Joe Szarejko, Sgt. Matt Murano deserves credit for organizing the event. “We gave out helmets last year as well, but we thought this year it was best to combine it with an event,” said Szarejko. “(Sgt. Murano) came up with the bike rodeo format and put everything together. He did a great job.”
Szarejko said the rodeo portion of the day included a slow race, a “mine field” for riders to navigate, and a serpentine course. In addition to the free bike helmets, children had the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a gift certificate from Zoar Outdoor. Piper Woods, age 4, was the winner.
Bicycle helmets are not required by law in the state of Vermont. “But obviously they’re a good idea,” said Szarejko. “Last year we started to notice a lot of kids riding without helmets on, and we thought maybe they didn’t have them, or some of the parents weren’t able to provide them. So we thought it would be a good program to get started.”
Szarejko said Social Lodge #38 was supportive of the event from the onset and agreed to fund it. “The Masons have supported it 100% since its inception. They said whatever you need, you’ve got it.”
According to Szarejko, about 30 helmets were given out at the event, at which Jen Nilsen and Wilmington police officers were on hand to help fit. Social Lodge #38 funded 50 helmets for the event, and Szarejko said the remaining helmets were to be dropped off at Twin Valley Elementary this week for anyone who wasn’t able to attend the event.
Szarejko said that overall, the event was a great success. “We’ll be looking to do something similar in the future,” said Szarjeko. “Maybe with ski helmets for the kids, and maybe another bike rodeo. It was a lot of fun.”