A Michigan man who “thrived on helping others” died while delivering free bikes to children in Florida who were affected by Hurricane Ian, his family said.
Steven Pringle, 57, was killed in a car crash in Punta Gorda, Florida, on Nov. 23 while driving a pickup truck of bikes, according to the Detroit Free Press. His truck was going through an intersection that had its stop sign blown away by the hurricane when another car collided with him, his family told the Free Press.
Pringle was an Army veteran, father of six, and grandfather of five who established Build a Bicycle Therapy and Rolling Wheels, where he dedicated his time to running rehabilitation programs centered around bike repair for fellow veterans, prisoners, and people with disabilities, according to a fundraiser set up by Pringle's family.
Repair work can be a form of therapy, he found, and the fixed-up bikes were then donated to those in need including children in foster care, victims escaping domestic violence, and church groups.
“One lady said, ‘We couldn’t afford a bicycle, and your father gave my son a bicycle.’ I was really blown away at the impact that he had,” Pringle’s son Jason Pringle told the Free Press.
Before his death, Steven Pringle was interviewed by the Free Press, telling the paper he established his bike shop after he’d fallen on hard times. The idea of “bicycle therapy” came to him, and it soon became a success.
“I’ve had people in the beginning who told me, ‘You donate too much,’” he told the Free Press in November. “But the more we donate, the more that comes back at the end of the day. I don’t need money. What am I gonna do with it, collect it and save it?”
His family is now hoping to continue his work. His daughter Torri Pringle said on a GoFundMe page that the family has been touched by the support they’ve received since his death and are looking to keep the bike repairs going.
“As his children, we want his name and charity work to live on,” she wrote. “We are hoping to continue his charity work for as long as possible and raise funds yearly in his honor.”