Moses Mathis worked hard for 22 years to put smiles on the faces of Fayetteville, NC, children by providing free bicycles to them at Christmas time.
(Interviewed in 2012)
Over the years, he became known as the “Bicycle Man.” Since he started the program in his Tiffany Pines neighborhood in 1990, Mathis and his team of volunteers refurbished and distributed some 26,000 bicycles.
When Mathis died at age 76 in July, more than 500 people attended his funeral where a pastor eulogized that the community needed to carry on “this giant’s work.”
Although he started by handing out bicycles, Mathis created the Tiffany Pines Community Outreach Center, where volunteers also refurbished and distributed computers and offered a monetary incentive to neighborhood children who improved their grades at school.
So how do you remember a man who had such an impact on the community through his volunteer efforts?
The trail already runs for about 4 miles along the river between a soccer complex and Clark Park. Plans calls for building another 2.6 miles of trail between Clark Park and a botanical garden. The trailhead at Clark Park will be named in honor of Mathis.
One day, when folks ride their bicycles past the trailhead, they’ll be reminded of the man who put bicycles in the hands of children for so many years.
Let’s also hope that they’ll continue to keep his community spirit alive. Mathis’s widow, Ann, plans to continue the bike giveaways and other programs offered by the Tiffany Pines community center.