In Warren, Hunter gets new wheels

Utility workers on Water Street chip in to brighten honorary crew member’s day

EastBayRI.com ·

WARREN—They may look tough, but a group of laborers from Bristol’s CB Utility proved themselves to be a bunch of softies Tuesday when they boosted the spirits of a young Water Street man just when he really needed it.


For months, Hunter Thresher, 19, has been a breath of fresh air for the two dozen or so CB Utility employees working to install a new water line along Water Street for the Bristol County Water Authority. Theirs is tough work, and the construction and its noises, delays and other hassles hasn’t won them many friends along the often-closed road. But almost since they started, Mr. Thresher has been a smiling, positive presence. He lives on Water Street with his mother and grandmother, just up from the WFD Engine 5 station, and is always around.
“He’s just great, always smiling, even though you know he doesn’t have a lot,” said CB Utility’s George Knight. “But he comes here every day and is nice to everyone. He’s a happy kid, a real nice kid.”
Hunter has also become part of the gang, and CB Utility crews have given him his own hard hat, work shirt, tape measure, work gloves and chair. Despite some developmental and physical issues he shows up every day with a smile, sweeping up and helping as needed.
“He loves coming in,” Mr. Knight said.
Tuesday, they went a step further.
Hunter isn’t able to ride a two-wheel bicycle and, sadly, his trike, a three-wheel bike, was stolen three years ago. When CB Utility workers found out about his troubles, they passed the hard hat, raised about $400 among themselves and purchased a brand new trike at Benny’s. Mr. Knight assembled it at home Monday and brought it in Tuesday.
Just before 10 a.m., CB Utility employees sent Hunter to the coffee shop with another crew member. While they were gone, Mr. Knight ran over to an equipment shed, retrieved the trike and brought it over to the day’s work area, pulling a rag from his pocket to polish the two mirrors, chrome bell, handlebars and everything else that wasn’t shining.
When he was done, Mr. Knight stashed the trike behind a dump truck. When Hunter returned, the entire crew walked over with him on the pretense of checking out some new lights. There waited his new, gleaming trike.
“It’s yours!” someone yelled.
At a loss for words, Hunter grinned from ear to ear, hopped on and reveled in the friendship for a few minutes. Then he cut the handlebars, pointed the trike north and took off, disappearing right on Bowen Street. The crews didn’t see him for another 15 minutes, long after he’d done a loop of the neighborhood and driven the bike home to show his grandma.
“I love it!” he said.

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