By Carrie Finlinson for the Murray Jouranl

Brandon, a Utah second grader, can't wait for May 21. It is not his birthday. It's not the last day of school. But it is the day he's going to receive his first bicycle.

Brandon, whose last name we won't use to protect his privacy, along with 1,000 other underprivileged second graders, will be given a brand new bike as part of the annual Bikes for Kids charity event. Now in its sixth year, Bikes for Kids raises money and donates 1,000 bikes to 1,000 kids. Bikes for Kids director and Murray resident Debbie Reid said these students will also receive a new helmet, bike lock, t-shirt, and water bottle, along with training in bike safety and healthy eating.

For Reid, this event is a realization of a dream that was inspired by her then 9-year-old son Tyler.

"We were riding in Lance Armstrong's Ride for the Roses charity race together, and Tyler wanted to quit. There was nothing I could say or do to get him back on his bike," Reid said.

But then Tyler heard the music and celebration coming from the finish line and decided to get back on his bike.

"When he came to the end, he stood up on his pedals to take the whole thing in. I thought to myself, 'Every kid deserves this opportunity.' We all have hard times in our lives and need something to help us keep going and complete our goal."

Reid saw a bike give-away as a means to give more children independence, and a way to accomplish their dreams.

"Being in a community with such diversity, I saw a lot of needs," Reid said. "I really wanted to do something to make a difference in the lives of these children that I had seen grow up with my son."

Reid remembers one boy in particular that would come to school in his dad's ill-fitting clothes, wearing mis-matched shoes.

"He was obviously neglected at home, but he loved being at school because the kids accepted him," Reid said. Often this boy wouldn't make it to school. Reid thought about him as she launched her Bikes for Kids charity.

"I wondered what it would have meant for a child like this to have his own bike," Reid said. "With his own means of transportation, he could get to school or the Boys and Girls Club on his own and even get a better education."

Six years later, this has become a reality for 6,000 kids. These kids are chosen for this give-away based on Bikes for Kids work with Title I schools, and Boys and Girls Clubs across the state. Once a student is selected, he or she must apply for their bike through completing a community service project.

"We want the kids to feel like they are doing something to give back," Reid said. "This gives them a way to earn their bike."

For Reid, this event has become a full-time job.

"I try to give my board time off after our fall auction, but we meet nearly year round," Reid said. Does she ever consider giving it up?

"All the time," Reid said.

But then comes bike-giveaway day, and Reid gets to meet kids like Brandon who have been counting down the days until they get to ride their very own bike.

"The joy and the gratitude expressed by the children and the parents are so thick and strong that it is almost like a physical presence," Reid said. "It fills me to continue to keep doing this every year. It brings me a lot of joy."

Photo caption: Bikes for Kids director and founder Debbie Reid and her son Tyler at the Ride for the Roses race in Texas. It was Reid's experience at this race that inspired her to start Bikes for Kids, a charity that donates 1,000 bikes to 1,000 kids each year.