Christmas cheer? Watch these kids get a bike at Lockheed Martin
Nine-year-old Michael Bux looked over the rows of bicycles before carefully selecting the one that would forever be his.
The magical machine he chose was a green and black Kent bike with 20-inch wheels. The bicycle also came with several small gifts sitting on a miniature sleigh that straddled the bike seat. Among them was a Nerf Zombie Strike foam gun, stuffed animals of Grinch and his dog Max and a green helmet that resembled a character in one of Bux’s favorite video games.
“The helmet looks like a creeper from Minecraft!” Bux, who often goes by the nickname “Jameson” or “Jamo,” said excitedly.
It was a big day at a big place for Bux and nine classmates at the Child Study Center at Jane Justin School, which specializes in teaching children with learning and behavorial disabilities. The youths visited Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ massive fighter plane plant in Fort Worth Tuesday, where employees treated them to a parade across the factory floor, a visit with Santa Claus and the selection of their very own bike.
The annual event is billed as the Lockheed Martin Holiday Charities Parade.
A Marine Corps Color Guard and a drum corps from Brewer High School provided the beat for the parade marchers.
“Employees came together to make the holidays a little brighter to those who maybe have a little bit of a challenge,” Mike Cawood, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-16/F-22 project development, told about 200 people in attendance. “You’re making your lives meaningful through your giving.”
In all, Lockheed Martin employees in Fort Worth raised more than $182,000 in cash and goods, including more than 120 bikes that will be distributed to needy children through Toys for Tots — which in addition to the bicycles also received $50,000 cash and 2,046 other toys.
Other organizations receiving contributions included:
▪ The Star-Telegram’s Goodfellow Fund, which received $10,000 to provide low-income area residents with clothing and shoes.
▪ Catholic Charities Fort Worth. Lockheed Martin employees will sponsor 14 children, who can submit a wish list through the charity’s Christmas Angels program — including clothes, jackets, shoes and toys
▪ Cowboy Santas, which received $15,000 to provide toys for needy children.
▪ Tarrant Area Food Bank, which received 750 pounds of food.
▪ Salvation Army. Employees sponsored 1,650 angels for the angel tree, in which needy children can write wishes on a card placed on a Christmas tree. The total value is $105,000.
In addition to the $182,000 raised for holiday charities, Lockheed Martin employees in Fort Worth have donated $1.5 million this year through payroll deductions as part of the company’s AeroCARES program. Employee workers also have contributed 187,000 hours of community service, said Susan Wright, AeroCARES administrator.
The Fort Worth plant is Lockheed Martin’s largest fighter jet manufacturing facility, and employs about 16,400 people.