WAPAKONETA — A mother who has made it her mission to protect the youth of the area will be hosting the 10th annual Bicycle Safety Day at the TSC garage building in downtown Wapakoneta Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Marlene Froning, of Wapakoneta, has teamed up with the Wapakoneta Fire Department, Wapakoneta Police Department, Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, DARE Program,St. Rita’s Trauma Program Manager, Crankers Cycling and the Noon Optimist, to educate the children and the adults of the community on the importance of bicycle safety. The organizations will also be giving away free bicycle helmets to those 18 years of age and younger.
“Bicycle safety holds a close place to my heart due to losing a son, Keith Wesley, in a bicycle/car accident on Aug. 2, 1983,” said Froning. “He was only nine years old, full of life and potential, when he was taken from our family all too soon. Not a day goes by when I do not think about him and wonder who he would be today. Keith has missed many birthdays, anniversaries, his sibling’s weddings, and watching nephews and a niece grow up. We never got a chance to tell him one more time we loved him or how proud we were of him. A pain such as that never goes away, it never heals, you learn to live with it.”
And while Froning keeps her memories of her son, close, she knows her mission is to help save another child’s life.
“There is nothing that we can do to bring Keith back to us, but if we can save even one more child by teaching them the proper rules of the road and ensuring their safety, then it is worth it,” said Froning. “As Auglaize County DARE Officer Sam Blank has stated, ‘This particular event along with the bike rodeo is important because it’s a constant reinforcement in keeping kids safe on their bikes and educating them on the rules of the road. Over the years there has definitely been a growth in the event’s popularity and it seems the word is getting out, so while they’re here the kids are not only having fun but building the fundamentals they need to become safer and more skillful riders.’”
Retired Chief Hunlock was with the Wapakoneta Police Department had also seen a reduction in bicycle related incidents throughout are community much because of the success of this program.
There will also be special guest appearances by Mayor Tom Stinebaugh, with opening remarks, and local race car drivers. The race car drivers will speak to the children one on one about safety awareness, how their helmet is always part of their gear giving a relate-able and “coolness” factor to being safe and wearing your helmet.
“We are asking you to please bring your children along with their bicycles for free inspection, adjustments and minor repairs,” said Froning. “There is an opportunity for the children to win a free bike, free door prizes and special treats from Dannon Yogurt and local businesses.”
For additional information, call 419-738-8267.