Local Boy Scouts help Salvage Santa prepare bikes for Christmas

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Santa's Workshop may be in the North Pole, but "Salvage Santa's" workshop is in Panama City.

Mike Jones, Bay District Schools' Chief of Safety and Security and Police, has been serving our community as Salvage Santa for years.

He is known for repairing and building bikes to gift to children in need during the Christmas season.

Saturday, he received some extra help.

"Several troops here in the Panama City area have come together to help Salvage Santa build bicycles," Jones said.

This time around, Salvage Santa's "elves" are local Boy Scouts.

"We are going to make bikes for people that lost their homes in the hurricane," Alex Bush, representing Boy Scout Troop 321, said.

Thanks to Gulf Marine in Panama City, helpers had a place to set up shop.

"We started off by donating some bikes last year and then this year we're just trying to step it up a little bit," Rich Johnson, the owner of Gulf Marine, said.

The Boy Scouts are stepping it up to earn merit badges in the process.

"They helped us last year strip bicycles down, but this year, they're actually building new bikes, probably by the end of the day 150 bicycles," Jones said.

After Salvage Santa experienced his own losses during Hurricane Michael, he won't have to save Christmas alone.

"You know, these are our future leaders right here. These kids are doing community service at this age. These are the people that are going to take care of me when I get old and gray," Jones said.

By getting the gears turning at a young age, these Boy Scouts show a lot of promise.

Jones went on to say, "They're the ones that are going to build Bay County for the future."

He said families in need can sign up through their child's school. They have to give their child's name either to the student's principal or guidance counselor.

Distribution will take place the week of December 17th.