Community Buys Man With Autism New Bike



The community of River Falls, Wisconsin is pitching in to help people who need new modes of transportation. Ty Burch gets around town on his bike. He can’t drive because of his autism, so over the years he’s developed a love of biking. A few months ago, the frame of Ty’s bike broke down, making it harder for him to ride. Someone noticed Ty struggling on the sidewalk and called River Falls’ police chief Gordon Young to let him know he had seen a young man having trouble riding a broken bike.

Luckily, River Falls has experience with this type of situation.

Francis Johnson, who was a food service worker at UW-River Falls, had worn out his bike a few years back and his coworker, Elise Koop, organized an effort to buy Francis a new bike. Francis passed away 10-months later of a heart aneurysm.

In the loss of her friend, Elise was inspired to give back to the community in the same way she was able to give back to Francis. So she created the Francis Johnson Memorial Fund. The fund is used specifically to help avid bike riders buy a new ride.

When Chief Young heard about Ty’s broken bike he knew there was a resource that could help him out. The Francis Johnson Memorial Fund bought a brand new bike personalized for Ty. Chief Young invited him down to the station to surprise him with it. There, before Ty, was a brand new three-wheeled bicycle.

Watch the video above to see Ty’s reaction to his new bike and to learn more about the generous River Falls community and the Francis Johnson Memorial Fund.

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