Pedals and a Purpose
Kurt Auzins has never forgotten that day in the late-‘70s. He was 11 years old and about to start junior high school when a girl who was headed to college gave him her high-end 10-speed bicycle.
“That bicycle became my pride and joy,” Kurt recalled. “It became my means of transportation.”
Remembering the joy of having that bicycle, Kurt — an Indianapolis-based business intelligence analyst for Cox Automotive Fleet Services — wanted other kids to experience that same feeling. About 10 years ago he started buying bicycles at Goodwill, and online, and giving them away to kids in underserved communities. What began with about a half-dozen bikes blossomed into dozens more that were donated by people in the community for Kurt to refurbish and give away.
Taking Meaningful Action
Kurt now buys or receives donated bicycles, restores them and donates them to underserved youth through a local church as well as through Caring for a Cause, an organization that supports and enhances the physical and emotional well-being of financially disadvantaged families in central Indiana. Over the years, he estimated he has given away between 300 and 400 bicycles — including more than 100 in the past year.
Dave Henchon, senior director of financial planning and analysis for Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services, added that now fellow employees know about Kurt’s efforts, they’re lining up to give him bicycles they no longer use. “Cox encourages people to be involved in the community,” Dave said. “What better way to be involved in the community than to refurbish bikes for underprivileged kids?”
Kurt’s service brings to life the 34 by 34 pillar of social equity by addressing the economic challenges of underserved communities, enabling each recipient to have a new level of mobility and independence.
Staying Behind the Scenes
While some people may seek the spotlight when it comes to their acts of kindness, Kurt is the exact opposite. “I do this anonymously,” he said. “In fact, I’ve never met face-to-face with the people I work with at the church. I like being behind the scenes and keeping everything low-key.” However, there’s nothing low-key about the sheer joy the kids get when they see their bike for the first time. “Giving a bike to a kid is the greatest feeling,” Kurt said. “Seeing the look in their eyes when they see that it’s their bike really makes me happy.”
About the Anne Cox Chambers Award
The Anne Cox Chambers Award recognizes Cox employees who are making a positive impact through volunteerism and community service, which aligns with our social impact goal of 34 by 34. Anne Cox Chambers was the late daughter of our company’s founder, James M. Cox, and grandmother of our Chairman and CEO Alex Taylor. Much of her life was devoted to community leadership and philanthropy.
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