If there was ever an example of giving from the heart, one doesn't need to look any farther than the Hamilton Avenue School.
One youngster's joy in winning bicycle raffle was transcended by the angst of his best friend who didn't own a bike. So he decided to do something about it.
Flashback: The Silver Shield Association, the union representing the Greenwich Police Department's rank-and-file, had selected the elementary school in the Chickahominy section of Greenwich for its annual bike giveaway. Under the leadership of retired Lt. Thomas Keegan, the organization collects abandoned bikes or recovered stolen bikes that have gone unclaimed. The association arranges for the bikes to be refurbished and works with a local school to reward students for academic achievements.
This year, Hamilton Avenue students who completed a summer reading project were eligible to enter a bike raffle. There were nine bikes up for grabs and the names of students who completed the summer projects were entered into the raffle.
Enter: Nicky Frank, a 10-year-old 5th-grader, who confided to Ham Ave Principal Cynthia Womack that he "really hoped to win the raffle because (his) bike was too small to use." While in the school's auditorium Nicky realized his friend, third-grader David Brown, "was upset." It turns out that David wasn't eligible for the raffle because his guardian didn't submit David's completed summer reading project.
Upon the announcement he won the raffle for his grade, Nicky told his principal he wanted to give the bike to David.
"For a child to think of someone else...and a lot of times with kids it's 'all about me.' This was an act of selflessness that is so moving it needed to be recognized," Womack said. "I think I have some of the best students in the entire country," Womack said. "I'm very proud of my students."
Pay it forward: Nicky's parents, Ana and Matt Frank, said they're proud of their son's generosity and compassion. "We've always tried to teach him to things for others ... pay it forward," Matt Frank said. "He's just one of those kids ... he'd rather give up a new bike than have David be upset. He told us, 'At least I have a bike. David doesn't.' "
Even though Nick gave away his bike, he didn't go home empty-handed. Womack said, "The teachers and I decided right on the spot that the bike the staff had bought for the raffle would be given to Nicky."
Both boys are pleased. Says, David, "I love it. I get to ride (the bike) every day and I think of Nicky every time I ride it." And for Nicky, "Every time I ride my bikeI think of David being happy with having his bike."
And both boys, were quick to praise their principal. "Miss Womack is a very good principal," David said. Nicky quickly added, "If it weren't for Miss Womack, we wouldn't have the bikes."