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Police perform act of kindness

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By John Whitlock

Doug Schwartzman had put a lot of miles on his old bike.

He had been living in Florida for several months, making a humble living playing the guitar and hustling pool when he decided to go home to Pontiac, Mich.

Schwartman, 51, gathered up his few possessions, bought a bus ticket and made plans to head home.

But his plans suddenly changed.

He missed his bus.

Instead of catching the next one, Schwartzman said he decided to hit the highway under his own power. He loaded up his bicycle and headed out.

Although Michigan was his ultimate destination, he decided on an out-of-the way route through Connecticut and Maine.

“I was out there and I just wanted to ride,” Schwartzman said.

During his trip, he discovered that he had gotten into some trouble with a check-cashing operation in Nashville, Tenn.

“I was up north and figured I should go take care of that before it became a real problem,” Schwartzman said.

His trip through Kentucky was going smoothly until he hit Owenton.

His bike, which had served him well on the journey from Florida to Maine, finally broke down. The frame was bent and the tires had given out.

He was spotted by members of the Owenton Police Department who talked to him about his problem and where he was headed.

“They were real nice,” Schwartzman said. “Sometimes, police wanna give you a hard time but they were real nice.”

But without a bike, Schwartzman was short on options.

“The bike was in pretty bad shape,” Owenton Police Officer Gary Alcorn said. “The bars were gone. It was in just sad shape.”

Along with Officer Marvin Goodrich, Alcorn started to look for ways to help Schwartzman.

“We try to do more than just arrest people,” Alcorn said. “We try to help people when they need it. We try to help everyone in our community.”

Alcorn and Goodrich offered Schwartzman a bike that had been in storage at the Owenton Police Department for several years.

“We had this bike for about five years,” Alcorn said. “It had been left at a local restaurant and no one had come back to claim it.”

With the help of Gaines Auto Body, the officers rigged the new bike up to carry Schwartzman’s belongings.

“We just wanted to help him out,” Alcorn said.

Schwartzman said he appreciated the help he got from the officers and he learned something about rural life.

“I guess that’s the difference between city life and country life,” Schwartzman said. “I’m really grateful for the help.”

After taking care of his business in Tennessee, Schwartzman plans on going home to Michigan but he was unsure of his route.

“That’s what I figure I’ll do, but you never know what might happen,” he said.