ST. GEORGE – An outpouring of support triggered by Facebook posts raised enough money to purchase a new three-wheeled bicycle for a disabled man best known for his efforts to beautify the community.
Pearson Davis has been a fixture in the St. George community for decades; he is often seen with his industrial tricycle weeding vacant lots and common areas on the west side of town.
“He’s kind of famous,” Nathan Talbot, a manager at Bicycles Unlimited, said. “He’ll find a spot like a vacant lot or whole parking strip and you’ll see him there all day, and then the next day he’s there again, then all the weeds are gone and he’s on to somewhere else.”
Monday evening, Davis went into Lin’s Fresh Market to do his grocery shopping, but when he came back out his trike was gone.
“It’s such a sad story,” Dean Rein said. Rein volunteers as Davis’s Social Security representative payee, managing Davis’s funds, income and expenses.
“He rode his tricycle over to the Lin’s Market, went in to buy his groceries, came out and his bike, trike, was stolen. You can only imagine what went through his mind, how devastating that was,” Rein said.
Nathan Talbot, a manager at Bicycles Unlimited, woke up Tuesday morning and found the bike shop had been tagged in Facebook posts about Davis and his missing trike.
Davis is well-known at the bike shop and has been a customer there since the mid-1980s. Talbot spoke to owner Mark McLaughlin and a plan was quickly formulated. Information about the theft of the trike was posted on the business Facebook page along with a plea for donations.
“And it just started snowballing from there,” Talbot said.
The post was shared by hundreds of people including St. George Mayor Jon Pike. People started calling the bike shop to donate amounts ranging from $5 to $500.
Within 24 hours, enough had been donated to more than cover the $1,200 cost of a replacement tricycle. A bank account was set up in Davis’s name for the extra money.
“For the community to step up and raise funds and Bicycles Unlimited to provide a new trike – at the color of his choice – it does give hope that we live in a good society,” Rein said.
Support came from local residents including St. George City officials, employees and police officers and from as far away as Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
“And of course we wanted to do what we could do,” Talbot said of the bike shop.
“He’s one of those that, he’s just selfless, kind of goes under the radar and constantly serves the community.”
Bicycles Unlimited is providing the new trike at cost, donating the assembly of it and will add in some accessories.
“It’s kind of amazing and kind of cool to see how many people actually recognize him,” Talbot said; kids have grown up seeing Davis at work.
Haley Romberger Lewis posted on Facebook:
I never knew his name, we just called him the Mr. Weed, but he has was a regular sight in my life growing up in SG. What a great legacy of quiet, loving service. So glad the community is giving back a little of what he has given us over the years. I have loved seeing him, still pedaling around on his trike, when I’ve come back home for a visit.
St. George Police officers also helped with the fundraising effort, St. George Police spokesperson Lona Trombley said.
“A lot of officers at our police department are on a first name basis with Pearson and have witnessed his many good deeds throughout the years,” she said.
As soon as the department learned what happened, several officers anonymously donated money to the cause, Trombley said.
Rein said Davis is content with the work he has found for himself.
“He’s not really employable,” Rein said. “So this is his job, and he does it without hope of pay or reward.”
Davis enjoys the outdoors and the exercise has also benefited him.
“For almost 74 years old, he’s pretty spry,” Rein said.
Davis himself went into Bicycles Unlimited on Tuesday morning and requested a new bike.
“Because he doesn’t have a true concept of what things cost or where money comes from, so to speak, he just thought he could order it and it would magically get paid for. But in this case, it indeed is getting paid for magically by the outreach of the community,” Rein said.
Davis’s new trike will be manufactured by Worksman Cycles in New York and will take about four weeks to arrive, Talbot said. It usually takes five to six weeks to get the special industrial-grade trike, but the company agreed to fast-track the purchase due to the circumstances.
Anyone wishing to contribute to an account set up for Pearson Davis can contact a local Cache Valley Bank branch.
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