From Rider to Bike Repairman
Jeff Martin remembers being around Brady Faith Center as a child, before it relocated to its present location. Now he is not only a regular Pedal to Possibilities rider, but one who moved from participant to helper to regular volunteer as a bike repair specialist.
Jeff credits Father John for reigniting his relationship with Brady after many years. Father John noticed Jeff riding his bike often, so he told him about the Pedal Program. He connected him to another rider, and coincidentally a man from Jeff’s past, Carlton Sheldon, now deceased, who raved about the program and encouraged Jeff to come down to South Ave. to ride.
Jeff completed his 10 rides and graduated from Pedals on Nov. 16, 2016. “It was very affirming and rewarding to receive my t-shirt, lock, helmet, bike and certificate. I put the certificate in my safe VIP folder. Being at Pedals to Possibilities reassured me that I will keep my bike life alive,” he said.
Having a bicycle has secured for Jeff a means of transportation, which he uses to get food for his family. He has four children: two daughters, ages 28 and 16, the latter in foster care, and two sons who reside with him. He also has three grandchildren, two of whom live with him, and one on the way. The lovely woman in his life is working toward her GED, and has influenced Jeff to study for his GED as well. A man of all trades, Jeff has learned plumbing, landscaping, drywall, general construction and housing maintenance, however is out of steady work.
At Brady, Jeff finds purpose and work. He helps with deliveries, picks up donations, shovels and fixes bikes. He became interested in fixing bikes after watching Patrick Coyne, a volunteer bike repairman for Pedals, fix his bike a few times. Now, after lessons and hands-on experience, Jeff repairs bikes alongside Patrick.
“Getting approval to fix bikes at Pedals has been a great and exciting gift,” Jeff said with a can’t-hold-back smile. “It is a great feeling to be involved with fixing bikes and making quite a few friends!”
The staff and community at Brady comforted and supported Jeff after he was hit by a car on Jan. 3 while riding his bike. Jeff thanks Brady for its presence through his injury, and for providing advocacy support and Christmas gifts.
“Being at Brady taught me how to keep my cool, stay calm, be safe. Brady helps me with my problems. I don’t stress about food or other family necessities. At Brady, where there is a staff or volunteer, there is a way. Amen!” Jeff said. He plans on sending his boys to Brady’s kids programming, grateful for Brady’s efforts in keeping kids out of street gangs.
Jeff reflects on his time at Brady with relief and pride. “My time at Brady is a good escape. It provides me with a safe environment. Brady is my little safe house,” he said.
Brady Faith Center would like to thank Mr. Jeff Martin for his presence at Brady, his work at odd jobs around the center, and for volunteering as a bike repair specialist.