ARVADA, Colo. — Dozens of Arvada second graders were surprised with new bicycles Friday in honor of fallen Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley.
Beesley, a 19-year veteran with the department, died in the line of duty in 2021. He was a school resource officer at Oberon Middle School who worked patrol while school was out for the summer.
"I know all the kids loved him. He would go bicycling with them. That's what got us, gave us the idea of the bicycle event we're holding today,” said Jeff Townsend, CEO of Townsend Retirement and Investment Planning.
Townsend Retirement and Investment Planning and the nonprofit Wish for Wheels teamed up to make the donation possible.
Arvada police officer, 2 others killed in Olde Town Arvada shooting
Volunteers put together 82 bikes outside Secrest Elementary School in Arvada Friday. Half of the bikes stayed at Secrest, while the other half were loaded into the back of a truck and taken to Swanson Elementary School.
The kids at Secrest lined up outside, thinking they were coming out for a scavenger hunt. But instead, they were surprised with a free bike.
"Just the smile on their faces and the fact that we keep it a secret from them is just fun. Nobody spoiled this year. None of the kids had any idea,” said Secrest Elementary Principal Cathy Baune.
For some students, it was their first bicycle.
"We're a Title I school. And so, about 65% of our students do qualify for free and reduced lunch. We have a population that lives in apartments. They don't always have a yard to play in. And now, they can have a bike to ride and enjoy outside,” said Baune.
Hundreds gather at vigil for Arvada Officer Gordon Beesley
“It's really cool,” said second grader Andrea Carroll. “I really like the navy blue.”
"It's cool, and it's my favorite color blue. And I like this 'Rock It.' It says it here and everywhere,” said CJ Sadaj of his new ride. "Thank you for the bike.”
Beesley's wife and son helped with the bicycle assembly and distribution Friday.