You can buy a lot of joy for a toonie

If only it were spring. Tim Cormier can’t wait for the snow to melt. Sitting snug in his new tricycle in the lobby of the Employment Placement and Support Services building on Friday, he rolled back and forth, raring to get outside. “You’ll see me around,” Cormier said, grinning.

Tim Cormier tries out his new custom fitted tricycle at the Employment Placement Services

Tim Cormier tries out his new custom fitted tricycle at the Employment Placement Services

If only it were spring.

Tim Cormier can’t wait for the snow to melt. Sitting snug in his new tricycle in the lobby of the Employment Placement and Support Services building on Friday, he rolled back and forth, raring to get outside.

“You’ll see me around,” Cormier said, grinning.

He was the guy lucky enough to receive a Catrike Villager, a three-wheeled recumbent customized for his particular needs. Cormier, whose disability makes balance difficult, can lie back and stay steady, and the gear-shift and brakes were moved to the left side, since he has better control in that hand.

He called the ride “smooth,” and wasn’t afraid to reach down and give the bike’s crocodile-encased horn a squeeze.

“I come to work every day for moments just like this,” said Theresa Stevens, Red Deer Telus service manager, looking on.

Telus employees, through their payday lottery fund, gave EPSS a $3,000 cheque to pay for the trike and several years of maintenance.

Through the program, participating employees give up $2 from every paycheque for a 50/50 draw.

Half the money raised goes to charitable organizations that apply for funding through telus.com/community.

“This is what it’s all about. You never miss the $2 off your paycheque, but it all culminates to something good. To see it, it’s a great thing,” said Ron Penrice, Telus installation and repair technician, who was also on hand for the bike’s delivery.

Graeme Esau, the EPSS community inclusion specialist who has been working with Cormier for the last six months and arranged for the Telus funding, said he was happy to see the trike finally in his client’s hands.

“He’s been super excited about the possibility,” said Esau, as a laid-back Cormier posed for snapping cameras.

“He does things in the community but he had trouble getting to them, and he always relied on people. And as a matter of exercise, too, his physiotherapist recommended it would be good for his health to do something like this, so it was kind of perfect.”

Esau and Pat Deboer, who lives with Cormier and helps him out, are planning to get him to start his own delivery business with the trike.

“He can go down the bike paths, he can go down to the library,” Deboer said. “My two little ones, grandchildren that live at home with us, too . . . they have bikes, and now I’m getting a bike, and then we’re all going out together on the bike trails. He’ll be able to experience so much more.”

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com