SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Most of us are familiar with Robert Charland, better known as Bob the Bike Guy.

Charland is also a deputy at the Hampden County Sheriff's Department.

He's been on a mission to bring other law enforcement agencies together through the act of giving back.

They all have different patches and different titles, but they all share the same goal...

"Make our communities better," Todd Mongeon of the Pelham Police Department tells us.

Massachusetts and Connecticut State Police troopers, Hartford, Holyoke, and Pelham Police officers, the Hampden County Sheriff's Department, and American Medical Response all took the oath to help, serve, and protect others.

All have become key players in Robert Charland's non-profit, Pedal Thru Youth and Homeless Outreach program.

"It's an awesome experience to be involved with everybody and work together as a team," Tanya Carreira of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department stated.

Charland started the organizations to show the positive side of law enforcement and bring different agencies together to make a difference in their communities.

"When you see a 6'2" state trooper down on one knee fitting a kid with a helmet, or you see another officer from another department teaching a kid how to ride around a gymnasium, that's magic right there," said Charland.

"It produces smiles and excitement and pride on their faces when their name is called for that bike. If you look really close, you'll actually notice that same pride and excitement and joy on the faces on the providers that are there voluntarily with Bob," EMT Amy Warner explained.

"I remember this one little girl. She was so excited when she was given a bike by a Mass trooper and she was like, 'This is the best gift ever. I've always wanted a bike'," continued Mongeon.

Holyoke and Hartford Police tell Western Mass News they don't cross state lines and work with each other often, but when they do, it's an honor.

"They see us and right away think it’s something bad. They see us and they’re like, 'Oh, the police are here. For what? Something happened.' Well, in this case, something good is going to happen," Emil Morales of the Holyoke Police Department says.

"Something, like, is changing their mindset, changing a thought of, like, 'Wow. These officers are here for us. They really genuinely care about us'," Jim Barrett of the Hartford Police Department stated.

And there's nothing more rewarding than the response they get from the people whose lives they touch.

"Just the other day we had an event in Hartford with Hartford Police. Bob came down and we outfitted the homeless with shoes, socks, coats. You don't really realize how much of an impact you have. I saw it for the first time or realized it for the first time where after the homeless were getting boots, coats, shoes, they were leaving and saying 'Thank you police for thinking of us. Thank you for helping us. God bless you.' It was an eye opening experience for me," Connecticut State Police Trooper First Class Kelly Grant said.

"It's great to get to know other people who you normally wouldn't work with. It's great to do community policing. As a state trooper, you don't always get to get down to that personal level and it's great to get into the schools and see the smiles on the children's face, as well as the parents' faces too. They're so grateful for the help to provide a child with a bike, which is a staple of a childhood. It's great to get out to the homeless population and let them know we are here to help. That's our function to help. I've had a man pray with me after I've given him coats and a jacket. He held my hand and prayed with him and that's really touching," Mass State Police trooper Katie Radebaugh added.

If you'd like to volunteer or make a donation to either program, you can click or tap here for more information.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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