A passion for giving modified tricycles to children with special needs has netted new wheels for Naperville’s Connie Hankins.

Hankins, 69, has been assembling and modifying trikes for children with special needs since 1996, when she got involved with the telecom Pioneers, her husband Gordon’s retirement organization. Late last month, the project earned her a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle through the third annual Fox Valley Volkswagen LOVEbug “Share the Love” contest.
To date, almost 1,100 children have benefited from receiving a free tricycle, Hankins said. Many of the tots cannot pedal a regular three-wheeler, so foot pedal containments and special back supports with safety belts are added to each, along with upright handlebars if needed.
Most have gone to local recipients, Hankins said, until Diane Sawyer on ABC News and People magazine featured the project last year.
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