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Students get new bike helmets.

John Thompson • Updated Jan 31, 2017 at 7:00 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A class at Harold McCormick Elementary School will now be safer when they ride their bicycles, thanks to their teacher and several people and organizations who cared.

It all came together last Friday in Laura Price’s extended resource class for students in grades 3-5. At 10 a.m., Price told the students to put away their books for a special event. At that moment, Tara Chadwell, director of the Children’s Resource Center at Niswonger Children’s Hospital; Heather Sifford; and Principal Eric Wampler walked into the room. They were carrying large cardboard boxes. Inside the boxes were brand new bicycle helmets for each of the 12 children.

Adults made sure the helmets were properly adjusted to each child’s head and reminded them to put their helmets on whenever they were riding their bikes.

“We don’t want you to hurt your brains,” Chadwell told the children. She said Niswonger treats many children who suffered head injuries from riding their bikes and skateboards.

The students loved their helmets so much they kept them on in their classroom, even though they would not be riding their bikes inside the school

The special day came as a result of Price noticing many of her students riding their bikes around the town. The Tweetsie Trail has certainly encouraged students to ride their bicycles, and the trail goes right by the northern boundary of the school. Not only are the students using the trail to go to school, but some even visit their grandparents in other sections of town.

Price kept seeing her students on the bicycle trail, but she also noticed they were not wearing helmets. She started searching for a way to obtain 12 helmets. She discussed the problem with Chadwell when she came to the school to discuss bike safety. 

As a result of the discussion, Gary McAlister of the Johnson City Rotary Club was contacted. The club provided funds for the purchase and contacted Joel Day of The Bike Shop, who helped McAlister purchase the right helmets for the children’s needs.

With the warmer weather this winter, the students are getting plenty of opportunities to wear their new safety gear as they continue to bike to their grandmother’s house and other important destinations.

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