Editor's note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.
A new bike and a sturdy lock from a collection of community Santas would help this young man who works hard to maintain his independence.
Twenty-one-year-old Jamie is being sponsored by Living Opportunities. Staff members say Jamie has had an exciting year in 2012. He finished the high school special education transition program, moved into his own apartment, and this fall started a part-time job providing janitorial services.
Jamie does not drive, but he carefully budgeted for several years and proudly purchased a bike and lock, which has been his main means of transportation since moving into his apartment.
Unfortunately, Jamie fell prey to the rash of bike thieves who have been plaguing the Rogue Valley this past year, stealing bikes from everyone from judges at gyms to waiters at work to fledgling janitors trying to make a go at living an independent life.
Even though Jamie's bike was securely locked, someone broke through the chain and made away with his bike just a few days after he purchased it.
Living expenses barely are covered by Jamie's Social Security check and wages from his job. It will be a long time, maybe years, before he can save up the money to purchase another bike and lock.
Living Opportunities staff members have done a little research and are asking the community to help Jamie out. A 29-inch mountain bike works best for Jamie, who is a very tall young man. His previous bike was a Mongoose Ledge 3.1, available from Walmart for $219. Staff also discovered, in tests that pit bicycle locks against hacksaws, bolt cutters and power tools, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit U-lock consistently comes out on top in thwarting thieves. Experts say it's the toughest bike lock available in the U.S. and it includes a one-year, $4,500 anti-theft protection program. This special lock is available at REI for $107, they say.
If you would like to help Jamie reclaim his independence and have a happy holiday, please call Jim Gochenour at Living Opportunities 541-772-1503.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.