Thinking about Memorial Day weekend may bring you images of barbecues and beaches, not necessarily community service. But some families do take vacations as opportunities to do some good for the communities they visit. Our Andrew Sorensen brings us the story of one west coast family giving to Syracuse kids in an attempt to make their vacation mean something.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- When Robert Anue's family gets together for a vacation, they can get pretty adventurous.
"We didn't have another project at hand, so we thought, 'Well, let's bicycle the Erie Canal,'" Anue said after they finished their ride Saturday.
They rode from Buffalo to Syracuse, staying at bed and breakfasts along the way.
"I'm struck with the greenery, the water, and the history," he said.
The family said that they like to take vacations like riding their bikes down the Erie Canal and spice them up a little bit with community service.
"It's really easy to have a vacation, but it's a double benefit if you can have a vacation and be doing something that's a service to the world at the same time," Anue explained.
Instead of transporting their bikes from the west coast, they bought new bikes and gave them away to Big Brothers Big Sisters when they rode into Syracuse Saturday.
"These wonderful people decided to call us and say, 'We'll be in Syracuse and we'd like to donate these for the children,'" Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Services Director Oscar Vergara said. "So obviously, I jumped at the chance right away."
Anue said that the idea of a service vacation is something they picked up from their father.
"When I was a child, he took us yearly for Christmas, and we gathered money to give to disadvantaged kids," he said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters said they wish more people would do things like this.
"We'll see a lot of happy faces this week," said Vergara.
Four kids in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program will get the bikes as rewards for academic work this school year.
And for everyone else, the Anue's generosity is a good reminder that any occasion can be a good opportunity to give to others.