St. Vincent foundation and Spoke Shop replace Billings students' damaged bikes

Highland bikes.jpg
Posted at 8:35 AM, Apr 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-30 10:35:18-04

A suspected drunken driver on Tuesday caused several crashes, including one at Highland Elementary School.

Nobody was hurt, but three kids lost their bikes, so the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation and the Spoke Shop decided to replace those bikes.

Aubrey Williams, a third-grader at Highland Elementary School, looked for a new bike on Friday.

"Special," she said. "It is fun to get a new bike instead of just riding in the boring car every day."

Aubrey is one of three students whose bikes were damaged on Tuesday.

Wiley Phil, a second-grader at Highland also lost his bike. And he'll replace it with the same one from REI Co-Op.

"Mostly that was definitely bigger than my small bike," Phil said.

"We're just feeling pretty spoiled to have our community reach out and take care of the kids this way," said Julie Donald, principal at Highland.

Donald was in a meeting when the crash happened and said some students were outside in an after-school sports program.

"I got outside and that's when I found out that they were all okay," Donald said. "It was a pretty intense scene to walk in on and so just so grateful."

Donald said a neighbor gave one family money for a new bike the day of the accident.

Aubrey chose hers and Wiley came to The Spoke Shop while he waits for his to be delivered.

"We didn't even have to reach out to anyone that just all happened," said Donald.

The St. Vincent Health Care Foundation and The Spoke Shop agreed to help.

"We're just so relieved that nobody was hurt in the incident but felt terrible that kids lost their bikes," said Tyler Wiltgen, the foundation's executive director.

"I was contacted about partnering with St. Vincent's foundation," said Dean Cromwell, owner of The Spoke Shop. "That's kind of how I heard about it and I thought, what a great thing we can do to help out."

"It's great to see the look on Aubrey's face and on Wiley's face knowing that they're getting new bikes and getting back to the lifestyles that they love," Wiltgen said.

"Remember when you were a kid?" Cromwell asked. "I remember when I got my first new bike. It's the best day of the week, that's for sure."

"They've seemed to be bouncing back from that just really well, " Donald said about the Highland students.

"I'm excited to ride with my friends on Monday again," Williams said.

"Thanks for the bike," Phil said. "It was really cool."