Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 14, 2013

An unselfish act

11-year-old Gavin Eckard gives away the bike he won

The Independent

ASHLAND — Even before the start of the recent Boyd County Health Department’s Bicycle Rodeo, Gavin Eckard said that if he won one of the two bicycle given away at the event, he would give his new bike to someone who needed it more than he did.

And that’s exactly what he did. However, the 11-year-old lad who will be in the sixth grade at Oakview Elementary School in Ashland this fall, expected to win the bike by demonstrating his knowledge of bicycle safety and his skills  on a two-wheeler at the rodeo, but it did not happen that way. Instead it was luck instead of skill that won him the bike.

Because of inclement weather, only 16 riders showed up to compete in the rodeo. Because of the lack of competitors, it was decided to have a raffle for the bikes. At first Gavin thought that doomed his chances.  

“I’ve never been good at raffles,” Gavin said. “I’d never won one.” That is until the day of the bicycle rodeo. When his name was drawn one of the bikes, most people would say that Lady Luck was on his side that day. But Gavin believes luck had nothing to do with it. “It was a God thing,” he said.

Regardless of how it was accomplished, Gavin was confident he would win a bike. He told his mother, Samantha Caudill, that he wanted to attend the Bicycle Rodeo and win the competition so he could give the bike to charity.

When he arrived for the rodeo, he told Holly West of the health department that his goal was to win the bike so he could give it away. When other kids showed up for the rodeo, Gavin told them, “I’m going to win the bike so I can give it to charity.”

Gavin chose to give his winning bike to a 4-year-old boy who was living at the Salvation Army. It came complete with a Spider Man bicycle helmet. The young boy has some physical handicaps and it should fit his motor skills, according to Maj. Debbie Kingsbury of the Salvation Army.

“At that age, most boys are only thinking about themselves,” Kingsbury said of Gavin’s generosity. “We’re real proud of him thinking of others. It says a lot about him and how he’s being raised.”

Indeed it does. Someone is teaching this child the  joy and satisfaction that can come from giving that most of us usually don’t discover until adulthood, if ever.

But Gavin’s mother said he has a good heart. He recently collected a box of Legos and had them shipped to Africa where his church has a mission and last fall spent “Grandma money” to purchase Bibles at a Family Dollar to give to classmates.

“I’m real proud of him,” said his mother. “Being a single mother, I’m trying to teach him the right way. We go to church and that’s helped a lot. We have a lot compared to what others have. I’m glad he has a heart for giving.”

So is a 4-year-old boy at the Salvation Army. There is a lesson for all of us in Gavin Eckard’s unselfish act of kindness.