BRAWLEY, CA â€“ Representing the small-town closeness Brawley is so proud of, some locals recently gathered donations to replace the stolen bicycle of long-time city employee Eddie Sanchez.
Employed by the City of Brawley Parks and Recreation Department for over 25 years, nearly everyone in Brawley knows Sanchez, whether theyâ€™ve see him landscaping one of the many city parks, or through his 29 years of coaching in the Brawleyâ€™s Little League program. He also umpired Little League for 35 years and was instrumental in founding the Gladiators, a wrestling program for kids.
With a heart for helping others, Sanchez has given much of his time to the people of Brawley, but due to a medical issue, he rides a bicycle instead of driving a car.
Sadly, his bike, his only form of transportation, was stolen at a local restaurant last month. Since the theft, Sanchez has resorted to walking everywhere while he saved to buy a new bike.
Recently, fellow Brawley resident Lupe Navarro spotted Sanchez walking and offered him a ride, like many times before.
â€œIâ€™ve known Eddie since we were about 12 years old and we grew up in theÂ same neighborhood,â€ said Navarro. â€œEddie was always on a bike because ofÂ a medical issue. If he wasnâ€™t on his bike, you knew something was wrong.Â I will always offer him a ride if heâ€™s walking. This last time, I askedÂ him where his bike was. I had not asked him other times. He told me it
had been stolen,â€ explained Navarro.
â€œI started thinking, â€˜what could I do to help him?â€™ I got on Facebook and asked friends for donations to help buy Eddie a new bike. The response was overwhelming,â€ Navarro said. â€œI didnâ€™t want to tell him untilÂ there were enough donations to buy a nice bike. I went to his house andÂ asked him if he had got a bike yet. He said no. I told him not toÂ because some of our friends want to buy him a new bike.â€
So Navarro took him to the bike shop and they ordered a bike sizedÂ especially for Sanchez. The bike has a maximum security lock.
â€œAfter I posted the request on Facebook,â€ said Navarro, â€œpeople wouldÂ come up to me, give me some money, and say â€˜Eddie coached me in littleÂ league 20 years ago. This is for his new bike and tell him thanks forÂ coaching me.â€™ He has contributed so much to the community and peopleÂ have never forgotten him.â€