By Carol Kerr, USAWC PAO 22 November 2019
He’s a husband and a father. He’s a retired colonel in the Army. He’s a professor to senior military officers. And, to international students and their families, he’s affectionately known as ‘Uncle Bike.’
From more than 100 nominations, eight were selected as “8 Who Care.” Lancaster-based WGAL’s annual awards play on its channel 8 identity and celebrate special people in the Susquehanna Valley who do great work in their communities.
“It’s about honoring people that may not always get the attention they deserve for the good things that they do in our community,” said WGAL’s Jere Gish, at a ceremony to honor the eight, Nov. 11 at Elizabethtown College. “We want to bring some recognition and hopefully inspire other people to do some of these great works.”
It’s really fun to meet these people, he added.
“We see so much doom and gloom, it’s a pleasure to work these projects,” said WGAL Today anchor Lori Burkholder who, with co-anchor Gish, created feature videos about each of the eight, and previewed them at the ceremony.
“Providing bikes to international fellows and their family members is a simple way to connect our community with those from across the globe,” said Allen. “Those connections have lasted now more than a decade,” he said at the event.
In 2008, Chuck’s wife Ann donated two family bikes to international fellows’ children she’d noticed watching their Carlisle neighbors on bikes. Since then, Allen has guided the program, expanded the donated collection to about 300, recruited the volunteers who maintain them and, in turn, expanded the number of international family members to add a bike to their American experience.
‘I’m happy when we see them smiling,” said Allen about fellows and families for whom a bike loan gives freedom and helps their kids fit in.
During short remarks, Allen threw the honor to all of his colleagues in the enterprise. “Thanks to the members of our Carlisle and United States Army War College communities -- volunteers who continue to donate their time, effort, and generous spirit,” he said.
He singled out his wife Ann for noticing a need in our community – and taking the action that germinated into a recurring program.
On Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day, Prof. Chuck Allen’s news feature will be broadcast on WGAL-8 in the 5 pm news show (and the next day at 5 am) and posted to their web site which can be found to the right of this article.