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Motorcycle group rides for Habitat for Humanity

May 07, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - The walls will go up next week on Women Build's second construction project for Habitat for Humanity in Washington County. But the group is already thinking about the next one.

The organization raised nearly $70,000 to build the house on Wayside Avenue in Hagerstown, according to Gidget Gallahan. Funds are raised through events like a golf tournament, auction and Sunday's motorcycle ride that Gallahan organized.

The ride was Women Build's first, but Gallahan said it could become an annual fundraiser. More than 100 riders were expected to participate in the 88-mile ride through Washington County. It ended with a picnic dinner at Washington County Regional Park.

"We're women, and we support women, especially when it's a cause as worthy as this one," Genevieve Cooke said.

The Myersville, Md., resident was at the ride with Motor Maids Inc., a motorcycle organization for women who ride. Cooke said about 10 Motor Maids were expected at Sunday's ride, which began at Hagerstown 10 Cineplex on Leitersburg Pike.

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Women Build, an international organization, first formed in Hagerstown in 2005, said the head of the chapter, Pam Meredith. It now has about 60 members.

Tickets to participate in Sunday's ride cost $15 in advance and $20 Sunday. All proceeds from the tickets, a raffle and T-shirt sales went to Women Build.

"If these women can build houses for other people, we take a ride for them," said Bonnie Printz of Hagerstown, a member of Motor Maids.

Ellie Bowles of Hagerstown, another Motor Maids member, was riding Sunday with the group and with her son, Shannon Bowles of Frederick, Md. She said the group enjoys riding for charity and has been involved in many similar motorcycle rides.

"It allows us to do something we love," Bowles said.

Gallahan said the number of women riding motorcycles is growing, which was one reason she helped organize the ride.

"The women riders population is skyrocketing," she said. "I thought we could gear something to them."

And while there were many women at the fundraiser, many men were there to help Women Build raise money.

Fuzzy Henning of Waynesboro, Pa., president of the Western Maryland chapter of U.S. Military Vets - a motorcycle club - said he was there to support Women Build, but also to present a better image of "bikers."

Tuck Koontz of Hagerstown is Master Sgt. At Arms for Washington County's chapter of A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE). He said the association defends motorcyclists' rights and rides for charity fundraisers. He said about 20 members of ABATE were at Sunday's ride.

"If you ride, we'll be there to help you," Koontz said.

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