Green with honor

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By Ashley Lisenby

Digital Editor

WGN-TV anchor and reporter Micah Mattere stopped by Greenline Wheels, an Oak Park bike shop on Marion Street, last week not to purchase bikes for the station, but to feature Greenline employee David Poppei as "One of Chicago's Very Own."

The slogan launched as a promotional campaign at WGN in 1983. At the beginning of 2013 the station sought to celebrate 30 years of acknowledging Chicago's Very Own by producing 30 news reports of notable Chicago area people and places, complete with a social media campaign.

Last week Poppei joined the ranks of other Chicago area residents to receive the honor.

"I've always had a love for bicycles," Poppei told WGN. "I love that you're exercising, burning calories."

Poppei's enthusiasm about bikes partly comes from how much the device, as well as a swing his dad installed in his childhood home, helped him developmentally.

"I was actually born with no muscle tone," Poppei said in his interview with Mattere. "Doctors actually told my parents that I would never be able to walk."

The success he had with bikes, however, inspires him to provide the same resources to children with mobility challenges.

The Purple Beast, a two-person bike that Poppei received through a partnership with Freedom Concepts — a company that specializes in mobility bicycles — is a unique addition to the shop.

Poppei rents out the Beast for free to anyone who needs it. One of those people is Trina Bauling. She rents out the bike for her and her daughter, who has autism, to ride around town.

"When she's on it, it's clear that she's 100-percent happy," Bauling said in her interview with WGN. "And that's a hard thing for us to find with her."

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