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V-vroom in their hearts for tots

October 16, 2005|By TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - They came in all shapes and sizes, on motorcycles of all descriptions, gathering for a ride in the autumn sunshine.

But this wasn't just any motorcycle trek - this one had a major purpose.

For the second year in a row, Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 hosted a Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run, which began Saturday morning at the post, took a circuitous route through Washington County and ended Saturday afternoon at Harley-Davidson of Williamsport.

The ride benefits the yearly Toys for Tots campaign, sponsored by the Marine Corps League. Each year, the Marines collect Christmas toys for needy children.

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In all, 102 riders climbed onto 81 bikes for the run. By mid-afternoon, Post Commander Frank Getz reported that more than $1,400 had been raised in registration fees alone.

That didn't count raffle tickets for the recliner donated by Dentler Brothers Furniture or the 50-50 tickets.

Before the ride even started, they had collected a couple of bins full of toys.

"We're thankful for the warm weather," Getz said as he pushed his small granddaughter around in a stroller, weaving around the bikers waiting for the run to begin.

The riders included Bob McCulloch, chairman of the county's Toys for Tots campaign this year. Though the program is sponsored by Marines, the Army veteran said he had been made a "Marine associate" so he could chair the campaign.

"It's just like in Vietnam - we're here to help the Marines," McCulloch said.

McCulloch, known as "Cavey" in rider circles, said toys collected here will be distributed in Washington County.

"If we have leftovers, we send them to other agencies," he said.

This year, any leftovers will be sent south for distribution to hurricane victims, McCulloch said.

Riders could pay a $20 cash registration fee or $10 with a donated toy.

The idea of bikers taking a ride for tots developed from a dinner conversation, according to Dave Andress, whose wife, Terri, spearheaded the event last year.

"We were sitting here in the Legion having dinner with friends, talking about different kinds of charities," he said, when Terri Andress thought of a Toys for Tots ride. She took her idea to the Harley-Davidson shop in Williamsport.

"They thought it was a good idea, so she talked to the people at the Legion," Dave Andress said.

And the Motorcycle Run was born.

Last year, there were 68 riders, participant Ken Conway said.

Andress said food and entertainment awaited the riders at the Harley-Davidson shop, where Terri Andress was setting up for the party to come.

Prizes also were to be awarded for the best festive bike and best festive rider.

A sure contender for both was Bob Holsinger of Maugansville, dressed in a Santa suit and with a bag of "gifts" flung on his bike.

Holsinger said he had played Santa "many, many times. I love kids - I love to watch their faces."

Which is just as well, since Holsinger has 16 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Another charity event years ago remains fresh in his memory. A small girl whose family had little for Christmas climbed into his lap after receiving gifts and said, "Santa Claus, I love you," Holsinger recalled. "That made it all worthwhile," he said.

"I think the message we could all get out is these kids, a lot of 'em don't have anybody to do for them," Holsinger said. "You need to do for the young people; little kids are so responsive. You can really make an impression."

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