HANCOCK COUNTY — A local veteran with a good story to tell might be the recipient of a set of new wheels from a winner of the city’s recent Bikes in Bloom contest.
The Hancock County Veterans Park group was one of two winners in this year’s inaugural downtown contest, in which businesses and civic groups elaborately painted and decorated bicycles to be placed in downtown bike racks. The idea was to beautify the historic district for spring, draw families and cyclists downtown and spur community involvement.
The veterans group acquired the talents of local artist Bailey Shelton, who transformed the group’s bike into a patriotic monument to the country’s veterans, past and present.
“We were fascinated how Ms. Shelton could (transform) an old bike into a work of art and at the same time convey the objective of the veterans park,” said Rick Walker, the group’s president. “When it won, it was a bonus delight.”
The veterans park group’s entry, along with that of the Hancock County Public Library, took home the honors in the contest, winning each group a new bicycle donated by local businesses.
“We asked that whoever won the top two places in the contest find a suitable purpose for the donated bikes within their sphere of service,” said Shelley Swift, Greenfield Main Street program manager.
The library received a girl’s bicycle from Greenfield’s Family Bike Chain that will become a prize in its summer reading program, Swift said.
For its bike, the veterans group to hear area veterans’ stories to determine who receives the mountain bike, which was donated by McCleerey’s Sporting Goods.
The group is asking veterans to submit a story about their experiences that might include a life-changing event or overall view of life, shaped by their experiences, Walker said.
“We want to hear anything about their time in the service and about themselves,” Walker said.
“Time in military service has its life lessons, and we want to hear about them,” Walker said. “I’m hoping we get a bunch of them.”
The bike can be used by the winning writer, or it can be passed on to a child or grandchild, Walker said.
All written submissions can be sent to the Hancock County Veterans Park at P.O. Box 844, Greenfield, IN 46140.