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Motorcycle group shares bounty with community

August 25, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Officials with a local motorcycle club that hosted the Motorcycle Mania event earlier this month in Berkeley County donated more than $11,000 to local organizations and West Virginia State Police Trooper Bobby Elswick Tuesday night.

The money, which totaled $11,700, was raised through admission to the event and motorcycle registration fees, said Jeff Wilkins, president of American Justice Freedom Riders.

Motorcycle Mania organizers had said they were going to support local causes through the event.

The money was distributed to Elswick and six organizations during a ceremony at the Martinsburg Lions Club on Virginia Avenue.

"This is what our club is about. We are going to help people in our community. Next year, we will be more successful," said club Vice President Bill Clark.

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Elswick, who was shot in the line of duty in 2002 near Hedgesville, W.Va., received $2,000.

Since Elswick was shot, thousands of dollars have been raised in the local community to help him and his family with nonmedical expenses and other costs related to his treatment.

On the stage, Elswick was seated in the center, in front of other organizations that received money.

Elswick, who was made a lifetime member of the American Justice Freedom Riders Tuesday night, received a standing ovation from club members.

The donation to Elswick was increased when Ryneal Medical Transport gave the $500 it received from the motorcycle club to Elswick.

The other organizations and the money they received were:

· Bethany House, a local women's shelter, $3,500.

· Berkeley County Parks and Recreation, $3,000.

· Martinsburg/Berkeley County Boys and Girls Club, $2,000.

· American Cancer Society, $200.

· Martinsburg Lions Club, $200.

About 2,800 motorcyclists attended Motorcycle Mania, which was held at Poor House Farm Park west of Martinsburg on Aug. 13, 14 and 15. Some riders came from different parts of the country for the event.

Organizers said they fought weather and politics to make the event happen.

Wilkins said the politics referred to getting permission from Martinsburg city officials and arranging for a police escort so participants could ride their motorcycles through town without having to stop for every traffic light.

"I think we owe ourselves a round of applause," Wilkins told club members Tuesday.

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