STAMFORD, Conn. - The Stamford Police Association held its 20th Timothy Coppola bicycle helmet giveaway Saturday, handing out about 1,000 helmets to children in Stamford to promote safety.
Timothy -- the son of a retired Stamford police officer -- was hit by a car while riding his bike without a helmet over 20 years ago. He died 22 months later at the age of 10.
The police association quickly moved to start the program -- and continues it two decades later -- working to get helmets to families that can't afford them.
"I love it," said Lynette Powell, of Stamford, who picked up a helmet for her 5-year-old great-granddaughter, Skyye Newton. "Some parents can't really afford them, then the children will be riding their bikes without them. ... So I think it's a good idea. She's very happy - she hasn't taken it off yet."
John Buehler, of the Stamford Police Department, said the response to the giveaway, which started in 1996, has been overwhelming.
"It just makes you feel good to give a kid a helmet," Buehler said. "It brightens your day.
"The Stamford Police Association gives away the helmets," Buehler added. "We get donations from corporations to help with the cost ... and the Backyard Humanitarian group helps with the giveaway. It's a great organization. The response is overwhelming. We gave away almost 1,000 helmets today. People love it. We did a presentation on safety at the school about a week ago, and the kids were overjoyed. They were just happy we were there."
The helmet giveaway was held at the Fairway Market on Canal Street and was aimed to help children ages 4 to 16.
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