A disabled Army veteran, Vick and his wife took in foster children to give them a safe and loving home, and they frequently arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Once settling in, many of them asked if they could have a bicycle, something that represents freedom and independence, and something they left behind.
In a conversation with his wife, he once commented that when he died he didn’t want flowers. He wanted bicycles. He said bicycles would put a smile on a child’s face longer than flowers would do anyone any good.
He died about a year later of heart failure at age 48, and the request for bicycles was made and printed in his obituary, with the result that more than 100 bicycles were lined up at his funeral, and they kept coming in.
His family made it a continuing project and made arrangements with social workers to give bicycles to foster children every Christmas since that time, and this year their total since Vick’s death will exceed 3,000. This year volunteers joined family members at the Childersburg Church of God to help assemble 502 Huffy bicycles and start getting them where they need to go after each one is anointed with oil, and prayers of blessing are offered for the bikes and those who will receive them.
Many of the Vick family members have been involved in Gospel music and perform at events wherever they can. Phillip was involved in music, and his CD “From the Depths of My Heart” is still offered on the vickfamilymusic.com website as a fundraiser for the bicycle project.
Even though it is tinged with sadness, their story of giving these gifts at Christmas is a beautiful example of the very reason for the season.