(From June 6-17, SSI will be highlighting the winners from April’s SAMMY Awards. Guardian Protection Services won the SAMMY for Best Community Outreach Program.)
Mary Lynn Moriarity describes the rising anticipation just prior to the moment when two special needs children would be on the move along a decorated bike path of sorts after each receiving a “ticket to freedom” in the form of their very own, custom-built adaptive bicycle. Moriarity, vice president of marketing for Warrendale, Pa.-based Guardian Protection Services, describes the scene, thusly:
The driving route was narrow but well-marked thanks to yards and yards of duct tape, a few trusty X-Acto knives and some very hardworking individuals. Enthusiastic supporters from Guardian would be lining either side of it.
The route, located in the corporate headquarters of Guardian Protection Services, headed straightaway from the employee cafeteria, took a roundabout near the central monitoring station, made a sharp right past commercial customer service and then traveled through open glass doors into the sunshine of a surprisingly warm day for a Pennsylvania November. It was as though Mother Nature knew something special was underway at Guardian, on the day before Thanksgiving , no less!
The untiring, months-long fundraising efforts by Guardian employees in support of Variety the Children’s Charity were coming to fruition. Artie Rhone, 10, and Alvin Brown, 4, would mount their new rides and off they went among cheering onlookers — many of whom were moved to tears as the boys experienced a newfound sense of independence and freedom.
Since 2008, Guardian employees have participated in many fundraising activities for Variety, which channeled the funds to disabled and disadvantaged children in the communities of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. But when Variety launched its My Bike program in 2012, Guardian employees were inspired to work even harder to cover the purchase of custom-built adaptive bicycles. Last year, the staffers reached their goal to underwrite the purchase for two of the bikes.
“Consistent with Guardian’s objective that its community outreach programs be inspirational to the employees who devote their time, money and effort, Guardian decided to invite the lucky children and their families to corporate headquarters to receive their bikes,” Moriarity says.