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BIKERS CHRISTMAS TOY RUN

by Janet Nesler

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They might wear leather and chains and have tatoos but you can't judge a book by it's cover if you haven't read the book. Their heart is as big as the highway they ride. Because of them this
Christmas a lot of children in the Portsmouth area believed there really was a Santa.

The joint efforts of the Scioto County Motorcycle Clubs made this happen when they joined forces and held their annual toy run for The Salvation Army on Sunday December 14 in Portsmouth. Along with a fire truck load of toys and big wheels the clubs raised
$500.00 for bicycles for next Christmas. More than 50 riders traveled behind the old fire truck from The Portsmouth Fire Dept. The parade traveled from the Portsmouth Motorcycle Club building at 101 Front Street to the Salvation Army, 1001 Ninth Street, and each rider paid a $5.00 fee or bought a toy.

Participating in the parade were members of Brothers of the Wheel, Portsmouth Motorcycle Club, Sons of Scioto, Friends In The Wind, and Southern Ohio Road Riders.

The motorcyclists were welcomed at the Salvation Army and after unloading the toys were given a hot chili reward.

This is one of many community contributions given by the united endeavors of the motorcycle club members. They also ring the Salvation Army bell at different locations in Portsmouth and
after two days six hours each day the motorcyclists took in $5,585 for Charity. "We were told by Salvation Army officials we had a better total than they do in New York City," said John
Thomas, a member of Portsmouth Motorcycle Club, "Last year we broke the state record. We all work together ringing the bell."

Motorcyclists in Scioto County are out to make a difference in their world and to change the image most people have of the motorcycle rider. "We have to take care of each other in this
world," said Charlie Collins, member of Brothers of the Wheel, "If we don't, who's going to do it? We will continue to do it for all the years to come."

"This is the fifth year for the Toy Run and the Bell Ringing for The Salvation Army," said Bud Royal a member of Brothers of the Wheel, "and in that time the combined Motorcycle Clubs have raised just a few dollars under $20,000 for The Salvation Army. Each year in May the combined clubs donate a $1000 Sports

Scholarship to a boy or girl in East High School in memory of Justin (Boo) James, the deceased son of Frank James, a member of Sons of Scioto Motorcycle Club."

It doesn't even stop there, a donation is made two times a year to the Special Wish Foundation. "Recently we raised $2,500 and gave it to a little boy with cancer who wanted to go to Disney
World. That was his special wish and it made him happy and that made us happy," said Charlie Collins, "It was also with the help of Janet Gregory who own's Someplace Else. She helps us organize our charities."

"Each year the clubs do a Marine Corp League Run for the Vietnam Vets," continued Collins. "then go to the Veteran's Wall in Tracy Park in Portsmouth and pay respects to all the local lost
brothers. We have a sermon and a ceremony there."

When there is a need for money for a charity, one of the ways the clubs raise the money is to go on a poker run. A bunch of the members get together and take a 60 to 70 mile ride and charge
$5.00 to go. Poker Runs start at one of the clubs and then go around to each of the other clubs, that way each club is involved in it. When the riders get to the end of the run they each draw
cards and whoever get the best hand wins a trophy as a little memento that they participated in the fund raising poker run. One poker run recently provided medical treatment for a little
girl with cancer because her family had no insurance.

"We will raise a certain amount of money," said Scott Mullins, Public Relations officer for Friends in the Wind Club, "then we will see if we can get a little more and member of the clubs will take money out of their pockets and raise another $1000. We've done it many times."

Mullins, also a radio DJ had a remote at Cedar Knoll in Ashland and 10 families in the Ashland area had Christmas from the proceeds.

Last spring the bikers made a run to Columbus after the devastating flood in Scioto County. They met with Columbus Bikers and 79 bikers ride back with them from Columbus and
brought toys, clothes and misc items to the families who lost everything in the flood. Thee was a need and it was met.

"A lot of what we do is second nature," said John Thomas, member of The Brothers of the Wheel. "It just kinds of falls intoplace."

The Motorcycle Clubs do a lot for the community. They get together and they work at it. Not just one club, but all clubs working together for the good of their community. They are
trying hard to change the image a lot of the public has for the biker.

"We get a lot of respect from a lot of people, but we also get a lot of disrespect," said Charlie Collins, "I personally think it's wrong to judge us. Just because you wear black leather and
have tatoos and ride a bike doesn't make us bad people. When we do wrong they never forget, but when we do good, they never remember. If you get to know us you will find out we are a bunch of good ole boys. Our clubhouse is open to the public and anyone is welcome at any time."

The biker ask for nothing in return for all their efforts but a little respect for all their accomplishments and the happy looks on the faces of the children and adults they have helped.

"We are all family men," said Collins, "Not Hell's angels, we are raising children. Most of the people who judge us have watched too many B rated movies. Lee Pratt, member of The Sons of Scioto works with kids all the time. He coaches basketball, baseball, football and goes out of his way to help any of them with problems.

The bikers take no profit for their efforts, they give every penny of what comes in to the charity.

We are all family and hang tight with each other," said Collins, "We have a lot of respect for one another. This is what we are all about, taking care of each other. We've got the manpower and
are more than willing to do it."

 

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