Bryan Lyons, left, is pictured at The Catherine McAuley House in Plymouth with his donated bicycle a friend from the State Police, his mother Linda, Coordinator of the Catherine McAuley House Barbara Lewis, and his little sister.

Eleven-year-old Brian Lyons was understandably upset when his bicycle was stolen out of his yard in Plymouth last year. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long before two donors stepped up to replace it for him. Known about town and on social media as the Junior Fire Chief of Elm Hill Hose Company No. 3), Lyons is notoriously generous. He’s sold tens of thousands of cups of lemonade with most of the proceeds going to local fire companies. So, it’s not surprising that when the Pennsylvania State Police ended up with a like-new bicycle unclaimed in their evidence room, they thought of Brian.

With no need for a third bike, Brian automatically thought of helping others, his mother Linda told the Center. “He said ‘I don't want to be greedy, Mom. I want to give it to somebody who doesn't have one,” she said. “He spoke with the trooper that brought the bike down to him and asked if it would be okay if he paid it forward, and gave it to the McCauley house.”

 

Valued at around $300, the bicycle is meant for a child ages 7-11. Brian actually made the State Trooper ride the bicycle up and down the street to make sure it was safe, Linda recalled. A resident of Plymouth for 25 years, she has known about the Catherine McAuley House for a long time and often encourages her friends to make donations.

 

“I'm working on trying to get a helmet and a lock but I haven't had any luck with that yet, she said. “I thought that would be important to have after what happened to (Brian’s old bike). We have a fenced-in yard and I left it in the yard and the next day it was gone. So now Brian’s big on locks.”


When Brian was younger, she said, he spoke so rarely because of his autism they had begun to teach him sign language. Then one day as they drove by the fire hall, he saw the truck outside getting washed. “Brian started banging on the back window and he said, “STOP,” so we stopped and he got out and he was interested in the firetruck,” Linda shared. “I spoke to the Chief and I asked if he would show Brian the fire truck when he had time, and he literally dropped everything.” A few days later, The Chief contacted them to ask if Brian would like to go for a ride on the truck.”They let him spray the hoses and all this stuff, it was really cool,” she said.

 

Three months later, when Brian sold $500 worth of cookies for school he was told he could bring a friend to Grotto Pizza and Brian asked if he could take the Chief. They've been friends ever since and three or four years ago The Chief gave Brian a plaque reading “official Junior Fire Chief” for his birthday. Fascinated with the “jaws of life” he saw on other fire engines, Brian insisted on raising the money to buy one for Elm Hill Hose Company No. 3 when he found out they didn’t have one. His mother didn’t discourage him but she didn’t initially think he could raise so much money selling lemonade.

 

“He had lemonade stands in front of businesses, the whole Community got together,” she said. “They let him (sell lemonade in the Kielbasa Festival. In five weeks, he sold 10500 cups of lemonade and people started dropping off donations and he bought the jaws of life for his engine.” Since COVID-19 restricted public selling, Brian began a virtual lemonade stand. This summer he was able to donate $5,000 split between 15 different Fire Stations in Luzerne County.

Update: A helmet was later donated by Tammy Rynkiewicz. Thank you!