Pfizer employees participate in Build-a-Bike program for military families

Pfizer employees participate in Build-a-Bike program for military families. (WWMT Andrew Bissett)

A major operation at the Pfizer plant in Portage where employees from various departments got to work, not on pharmaceuticals, but presents.

Newschannel 3's Rachel Glaser reported on these special gifts for military families.

While Veterans Day is this weekend and Christmas is 46 days away, on Wednesday afternoon Pfizer employees got to work as Santa’s helpers to assemble bikes.

Every time a bell rings, a bicycle gets its wheels

U.S. Army Recruiter Sgt. Nicholas Nelson Hall said, “It's like getting your first car.”

Bikes are a big ticket item that's on lots of Christmas lists and assembly is required.

Hall said, “We are figuring it out.”

The fire station at Pfizer became a workshop, and like elves in the North Pole, Pfizer employees put each piece together with speed.

Jesse Palmer, a Pfizer team leader, said “I'd be going to a lot of meeting on a day like today so it's nice to be here.”

Employees put together 75 bikes in four hours for children of active military men and women around the Kalamazoo area.

Palmer said, “There are a lot of veterans' families out there struggling, not only with just trying to make ends meet, but just the struggles of everyday life.”

Partnered with United Service Organizations, Pfizer builds bikes to bring those families some cheer.

Palmer said, “It's really going to make a lot of kids smile come Christmas morning to get a bike like this.”

A child’s first bike is a milestone and hard to forget.

Hall said, “It was a burgundy colored mongoose.”

Hall also remembers the struggle military families face while mom or dad is away.

He said, “It's tough for sure having been deployed. I know what it's like to be away, she knows what it's like to have family away.”

The holidays can be especially hard, but hopefully each bike will bring a military family some cheer.

Hall said, “Still miss that bike. It was a good bike.”

And creates a moment the kids will likely hold onto for years to come.

Wednesday marks Pfizer’s fourth annual build-a-bike, but this is the first year employees in Portage participated.

Pfizer put together 1,000 bikes for military families at eight locations around the country.

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