In Memory of Dick Swain
In 2007 Dick Swain had an idea: collect, refurbish and donate used bicycles to put a smile on the face of kids who didn’t think they would ever get to experience the joy of riding their own bike. He recruited a few cycling friends to help and Wheels For Kids was born. From a modest beginning with a few kindred spirits it has grown to 35+ volunteers today and has donated over 4,600 bikes to kids, adults and families in greater Tucson. Work continues and each year about 400 bikes are collected, refurbished and delivered to those who could use a little help.
To build the organization and infrastructure that delivered those bikes and continues to do so, required visionary guidance, extraordinary leadership, and hands-on work in every aspect of the effort. Dick was that leader, resolutely determined to accomplish what he set out to do. There were many times when he relied on dogged persistence and during a few trying times showed unjustified optimism. It has been said: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” an apt description for Dick Swain. All Wheels For Kids’ work and countless hours were guided by Dick’s passion for helping others.
Dick often said that “everyone remembers their first bike.” It creates a lifetime memory for a child from a four year old who now can learn to ride on a shiny small bike; to ten year old who has the freedom to ride with friends, to a teenager who has transport to school, after school activities and, sometimes to work to help support the family. For refugees it changes lives – they can ride to work instead of walking or taking a bus which saves precious time and affords them more opportunities to get their life back on track. It is because of Dick’s vision and leadership that the world is a better place for many in Tucson.
Early morning on a day in January, 2023 Dick left this life. He was a man with a heart of gold who cared deeply about friends and family and Wheels For Kids. He served as an inspirational example of what it means to share blessings with those less fortunate. He was selfless with his time and talents. The world has lost an exceptional human being. We will honor his memory by carrying on with Wheels For Kids.
Thank you, Dick, for your vision, passion and contributions toward building this very special organization. Rest in peace.
Wheels For Kids - Board of Directors
Rick Haupt John Johnston Dave Pauley Tom Terfehr