Meet ‘Hunk,’ the Operation Santa Claus Volunteer Behind the Bikes

When a child gets a bike from Operation Santa Claus, that bike is ready to ride. And that is largely because of Richard O’Connell.

Richard "Hunk" O'Connell works on a bike at the Operation Santa Claus headquarters on Stickney Avenue in Concord. The Chapter 1 member and OSC volunteer makes sure all bikes are ready to ride when children receive them.

O’Connell is just one of the many volunteers who keeps Operation Santa Claus running, and he’s been there for quite a while. After working for the Department of Transportation for 45 years, O’Connell – who says “they call me ‘Hunk’ ” when asked his name – retired back in 1996.

“About that time, I started working for Operation Santa Claus and I’ve been working with them ever since,” he said. “I’ve more or less settled into repairing bikes. As they come in, the tires are low or need air, and sometimes the brakes are not adjusted properly. Just general repair to bikes so the kids will be pleased when they get them.”

The donations are essential to Operation Santa Claus, but just as important are the volunteers who give generously of their time to help make sure everything runs smoothly. For O’Connell, that means making sure those who are less fortunate have a Merry Christmas.

“All these children that are unable to get presents, through Operation Santa Claus, they get their presents,” he said. “We’ve got quite a stack of presents here toward the end of the year.”

Operation Santa Claus is always in need of assistance, whether through donations or volunteerism. To learn more about Operation Santa Claus, click here.

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