South Charlotte

Dad’s memory rides on with bike donations

Jenny Eban, a rising third-grader, recently received a new bicycle from a Amy Martinez, a community donor who gave eight bicycles to Brookstone Schools in honor of her late father.
Jenny Eban, a rising third-grader, recently received a new bicycle from a Amy Martinez, a community donor who gave eight bicycles to Brookstone Schools in honor of her late father. BROOKSTONE SCHOOLS

Eight students at Brookstone Schools will begin their summer with a new bicycle, thanks to a community member who wanted to honor her father’s memory.

Amy Martinez heard about Brookstone Schools through her church, All Saints Anglican, whose members meet at Charlotte Catholic High School on Sundays.

Brookstone Schools provides a private Christian education for about 135 children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The school, which recently moved into a space at First Baptist Church of Charlotte, was founded in 2001 to serve students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Martinez’s father, Thomas Leo McVerry Jr., died in April 2014, and Martinez had the idea of donating bicycles to students to remember her father.

Martinez said her father grew up in a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania and developed a deep appreciation for education. He was the first in his family to put himself through college, and he helped his three children and six grandchildren pursue their educational goals.

While McVerry worked hard, he also enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and their annual beach vacation.

“One of his favorite things to do was to ride bikes during his annual trip to the beach at Hilton Head,” Martinez said. “Family and friends rode bikes every day, and Dad always challenged us to go farther than the day before.

“Some of our fondest memories were made during those bike rides and trips to the beach.”

Martinez named her memorial endeavor “Pop Pop’s Wheels,” which she hopes to expand each year so that more bicycles can be given to under-privileged children.

Brookstone Schools delivered the eight bicycles to students’ homes at the end of May. Brookstone Schools teacher Steve Parker said that students responded with excitement, broad smiles and gratitude.

One family, a single father with three children, was particularly thankful, as their bicycles recently had been stolen.

“He did not have the resources to replace the bikes, so this was a huge godsend for him and his family,” Parker said.

Brookstone Principal Debi Preston said the donation came at the perfect time.

“We are so thankful for the generous outpouring of kindness this family has shown to our students,” Preston said.

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at martyminchin@gmail.com.

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For information about Brookstone Schools, visit www.brookstoneschools.org.

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