Resident receives bike donation

Robert Rivera has enjoyed running and biking his whole life. Despite upcoming surgeries, the community came together last month to support a friend in need

Berlin Borough resident Robert Rivera is pictured with his new three-wheel bicycle after a donation from Costantino Funeral Home and a local councilman. Due to upcoming surgeries, Rivera will be unable to ride his traditional bicycle and a GoFundMe alerted the community of the need.

A local business recently decided to assist a Berlin Borough resident during his time of need.

Early in May, a GoFundMe page was created with the hope of raising at least $260 to help purchase a special three-wheel bike for Robert Rivera, due to an upcoming heart surgery and hip replacement. Rivera says he loves to ride his current two-wheel bike around Berlin, and wanted to be able to continue to ride, if possible, after the upcoming surgeries as well.

The goal was reached within one day to assist Rivera in being able to continue riding a bike, raising more than $100 more than the anticipated goal.

However, Costantino Funeral Home and a local councilman decided to help even more.

After his wife Michelle saw the post and fundraiser on social media, Tony Primo, both of Costantino Funeral Home, reached out to Rivera to make him aware that he wanted to assist in buy him his three-wheel bike in full so that the GoFundMe page money could be used toward safety equipment and additional bike accessories. Councilman Rick Miller also contributed towards purchasing the special three-wheel bike.

“His sister put up the Facebook post that he needed the new bike because of his health issues and they started the GoFundMe,” said Tony Primo. “We just thought it was the right thing to do.”

Primo said he and the funeral home have enjoyed being able to give back as much as possible to multiple different organizations and causes in the past, such as by supporting local emergency services as well.

Rivera is a five-time marathoner and would frequently bike to marathons before then running the 26.2 miles. However, after those years of running, he developed a hip problem, which is now one of his two big upcoming surgeries.

Despite their severity, Rivera says he is ready for the challenge because of his background of determination and strength.

“I always had determination, and that’s why I finished those marathons from 1995 to 1999,” said Rivera.

Rivera also says he’s extremely thankful for the outpouring of support he’s received from those in the community who have donated to the GoFundMe or reached out to him as the surgeries approached. The GoFundMe is no longer active thanks to the donations of local community members.

Although he’s not sure when he’ll be able to get back on the bike following the surgeries, he’s already looking forward to riding his post-surgery.

“I owe it all to my sister, she was looking into helping me get a three-wheel bike since I won’t be able to swing my leg over,” said Rivera. “I have to thank Costantino’s for getting me the whole bike and everyone that donated any money to help me.”

“I’m really overwhelmed, I’m just so excited. There are people out there that care, and I believe that when you’re good to people that you get rewarded,” added Rivera.

Councilman Rick Miller had helped connect Rivera and the funeral home to make the donation possible, and said that many people in Berlin Borough know about Rivera and his love for riding his bike around town.

“He’s like a local legend,” said Miller.