MIDLOTHIAN — In a community-minded partnership between Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association and Midlothian’s Manna House, 116 kids received bikes as part of a community service project.

“So every year TACA (Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association) does a community service project, and they wanted to do a project where they do their annual conference. So this year it’s in Dallas, and they wanted to something in Midlothian,” began Amanda Miller, Divisional Manager of Communications and Government Affairs of Martin Marietta’s Southwest and Cement and Southwest Ready Mix Divisions.

According to a press release from TACA, in 1951 business leaders in the ready-mixed concrete industry decided there was a greater strength in numbers and established the Texas Ready Mixed Concrete Association.

A year later, the Texas Aggregates Association was organized, and after operating for 22 years as a joint effort, the two groups consolidated in 1974 as the Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association (TACA).

The association speaks for all forms of aggregate, concrete, cement, admixtures, fly ash and construction material producers and allied industries in a united effort, not only serving the industry but its surrounding communities.

“So they were talking, and instead of spreading mulch at a dog park or something like that, they really wanted to do something more impactful. So they donated bikes to kids who would really appreciate them and use them,” Miller told.

Organized and lead by TACA’s Emerging Leaders Program, the project was held at the Midlothian Civic Center on June 17, literally building bikes with their bare hands.

“They wanted to bring the bikes in, have it completely hands-on, and put the bikes together on-site, while also interacting with the kids,” Miller affirmed. “So what that started was, we reached out to Manna House because we didn’t want to be the ones responsible for who did or didn’t get the bikes, and of course, they made it even bigger and better."

“They took an idea from something and made it even better. We worked with them through their summer program and created a 'fun day' for them along with the bike assembly,” she added.

What started as a simple project of a 100-bike goal and nine companies supplying volunteers, soon turned into an 116-bike total with nearly 275 people in attendance, beating all preconceived expectations for the project.

"We couldn't believe all the support and people who joined in," Miller admired.

“And because the cement industry has a strong sense of safety, we also purchased safety helmets for the kids to go along with the bikes,” she included.

From inflated water slides to the parking lot full of industrial trucks on display, and food provided – the project turned into a community event with that old fashioned Midlothian spirit.

“The intent is for the kids to learn about our industry, the trucks and the people behind it, and be educated about what we do and their options for the future,” Miller acknowledged the city's effort.

“The community has been great,” Miller also recognized. “I have to give a shout out to Midlothian Self Storage because there was a problem with the lease when we were storing the bikes, and it wasn’t their fault. But when the owner realized it was for Manna House and what we were doing, he said, ‘No problem, we can store it in a truck, and we’ll bring it over the morning of.’”

“The community has been amazing, and just the fact that they were so great about it was refreshing," she added. “This is a positive note for what is possible. Our industry is all about reaching out to the community and helping understand that we build communities and that’s our purpose. And whatever we can do to make the community better, we want to find those opportunities like this one.”

To connect with Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association (TACA), visit tx-taca.org or call (512)-451-5100.

To contact Manna House, visit mannahousemidlothian.org or call (972)-775-1800.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450