Community Gem: ‘You get back so much more than you give:’ West Carrollton man repairs bikes for children, adults

Charlie Gau works on a bike in West Carrollton. CONTRIBUTED
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Charlie Gau works on a bike in West Carrollton. CONTRIBUTED

WEST CARROLLTON — Charles Gau has been repairing bikes to give to children and adults for the past decade with his West Carrollton church.

Gau was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by his niece Tammy Gau.

“He is just a outstanding guy. He’s really well known in the community,” Tammy Gau said. “A lot of the kids call him ‘grandpa.’”

Charles Gau, or as many community kids call him, “Mr. Charlie,” said started working on bikes when he was about 10 years old and living in West Dayton. He had a paper route and often his bike would get stolen and he’d have to repair it or find new parts to make it rideable again.

“I know what it is to have a hand up,” Gau said.

He will work on bikes given to him or find bikes in the trash to recycle and give to a new owner. The Kettering Bike Shop also gives him bikes that are too expensive for the shop to repair. Various police departments will give him unclaimed bikes. Gau works on the bikes in the basement of West Carrollton Nazarene Church and in his friend’s garage.

Last year, Gau was able to give out 300 hundred bikes.

Charlie Gau works on a bike in West Carrollton. Gau was nominated as a Community Gem for the work he does repairing bikes and giving bikes to children and adults in the Dayton-area. CONTRIBUTED
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Charlie Gau works on a bike in West Carrollton. Gau was nominated as a Community Gem for the work he does repairing bikes and giving bikes to children and adults in the Dayton-area. CONTRIBUTED

“You get back so much more than you give when you do stuff like this,” Gau said.

Gau said he likes giving the bikes to children so that they feel special or important. The best part of giving a bike to a child is to see them “laugh a bit and light up,” Gau said. Giving bikes to adults so that they can get to work is also fulfilling, he said.

Gau said he hopes other retired people or churches could do similar work for their community and children.

“He’d go out of his way to help anybody,” Tammy Gau said. “He wants to make sure everybody has at least a bike to get around on.”

If you know a person in your community who has done something great in the community, go to DaytonDailyNews.com/communitygems and nominate them