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2001 - Individual Achievement Award - Environmental Improvement - Maria Wilkinson

A surprisingly massive recycling project was born on Earth Day 2000 when Ardmore’s Maria Wilkinson saw a repairable bicycle discarded by a dumpster, slated for the crusher. In short order, she had contacted the Optimist Club, become a member, and immediately started them on a bike repair project.

About 40 bikes were collected over the summer and news stories brought in even more bikes and volunteers from all segments of the community, ranging in age from 7 to 80. Maria’s project now has expanded its work space and has volunteers working twice a week all long to keep up with the donated bicycles.

The project so impressed bicycle-maker Huffy in February that the company donated half a semi load of parts that was delivered 1,100 miles to Ardmore at no cost on a Wal-Mart truck. Our judges called Maria’s work “magnificent” and said she has put “a human face on the reclamation of a ‘waste’ product.” MARIA WILKINSON PEDDLES GOOD DEEDS AND GOOD NEWS FOR OKLAHOMA’S ENVIRONMENT!