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Virginia Beach firefighters take action to replace man's stolen bike

Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 17:59:16-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - One of Virginia Beach resident Travis Thereault’s favorite things to do is to cruise the Oceanfront on his specially-made, three-wheeled bike.

“People with Down syndrome have balance issues.” explains his mom, Martha Thereault.

Earlier this month, the bike was stolen - the thief had managed to cut the lock.

When Beach Fire Captain Bill Roestenberg heard about Travis’ bike, he jumped into action.

“I used to be assigned to the Chick's Beach Fire Station and we became friends with Travis, who works at that Kroger, and we just shop for groceries there.” said Roestenberg.

The captain started a GoFundMe account and raised the money to get Travis a new ride.

“Coming from the fire department guys, it's really special," says Travis.

Capt. Roestenberg is now at Station 11 at the Oceanfront, which is where we all showed up to surprise him.

“Captain! Captain! I’m going to chase you down," I yelled as I ran down the hall to catch him.

Like most heroes, Capt. Bill - or "Bull," as most call him - didn’t want any attention or accolades. But those around him felt he deserved it, and we did, too.

So, we bestowed upon him a People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

“He’s a very humble guy - doesn’t take a lot of credit. [He's] probably the most giving person I’ve ever seen. I’m very proud of him," said the Battalion Chief in charge of Station 11.

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Travis’ mom, Martha, also showed up with a gift.

“It’s a fire bird and an aloe plant for burns.”

And Travis had his own present for the captain.

"What do you have, Travis?" I asked.

He gave Captain Roestenberg a plant.

"Thank you so much; thank you!”

“I really do love them with all my heart," said Travis with a big smile on his face.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, email us at takingaction@wtkr.com.