For Hometown News
DELTONA - Volusia County Sheriff's Deputy Pat Allison noticed last week the same gaggle of six children, sharing three family bicycles for their daily trek to and from Timbercrest Elementary School.
Three were riding the bikes, with others on the handlebars. The youngest got by on foot.
"I asked the crossing guard about it," Deputy Allison said, "and she heard they come all the way from Howland Boulevard. I clocked it out, and it's 1.8 miles they walk - both ways."
So he hatched a plan.
"I was just sitting there thinking about what we can do," he said. "My daughter just turned 11, and she just got a new bike, so I thought, 'Maybe I can give (her old bike) to the kids.' I couldn't imagine walking to school 1.8 miles every day. And ... they're almost never late."
Crossing guard AnaBell Alicea brought in an unused bike from her garage, too. They also secured free helmets and neon vests for the children to wear during their morning commute.
"If I can help them out just by giving them a bike that was sitting in my garage," he said, "and make things easier and safer for them, it definitely makes me feel good."
Deputy Allison spent the beginning of his career as a New York City police officer in the four years before and four years after 9/11. He spent a year with Ormond Beach Police before joining the Volusia County Sheriff's Office in 2006.
The deputy and crossing guard have demonstrated, said Sheriff Ben Johnson in a statement, "that service to community is not just a job but something they truly take to heart."