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Benefit ride for Parent-Child Center is a roaring success

August 05, 2007|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

Engines roared in a syncopated rhythm as helmet-clad riders straddled leather seats and clenched gleaming handlebars with outstretched arms.

Led by a Maryland State Police motor unit, the group exited the Improved Order of Red Men Conococheague Tribe 84 parking lot in Williamsport, creating a staggered formation, fumes billowing from glistening chrome down the stretch of road behind them.

Millie Lowman, executive director of the Parent-Child Center, stood by waving in a show of gratitude for the motorcyclists' support.

About 100 riders took part in Saturday's ride to benefit the Parent-Child Center, an organization that works to prevent child abuse.

"The bikers are a wonderful group of people," Lowman said. "They love doing things for children. Their response has been fantastic."

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Event registration began at 9 a.m., with motorcyclists paying $25 per rider and $15 per passenger. The Improved Order of Red Men provided coffee and doughnuts, and area businesses contributed items for a raffle.

The 42-mile procession began at 11 a.m., traveling through Sharpsburg, Boonsboro, Smithsburg and Leitersburg, then past the Parent-Child Center in Hagerstown before arriving at Cancun Cantina around 1 p.m. for a donated light lunch buffet.

Dick Everhart, vice president of the Parent-Child Center's board of directors, coordinated the benefit ride. Everhart said the organization hoped to raise between $8,000 and $10,000 through the event.

Everhart said the Red Men Riders Club, a subgroup of Improved Order of Red Men Conococheague Tribe 84, helped organize the fundraiser. Jeff Preston, 48, of Williamsport, president of the Riders Club, said the club exists, in part, to provide support for community needs.

"If some group is in trouble or if somebody needs something, we try to help them," Preston said.

Washington County Commissioners President John F. Barr was among the participants in the benefit ride. Barr, who rode his Honda Gold Wing, is a member of the Antietam Exchange Club, which also provides support for the Parent-Child Center.

"I am a big supporter of the Parent-Child Center," Barr said. "It's one of the best nonprofits in Washington County."

Merle Vaughn, 51, of Maugansville, said he likes to do group benefit rides on his Harley-Davidson Soft Tail Deuce. He participated with his brother, Donald Vaughn, 49, of Hagerstown.

"A lot of people like to get together and ride, to get into this big group and go," Merle Vaughn said. "And this is probably one of the better charities. Anything that has to do with kids."

Monty Jones, 43, of Williamsport, is a member of Red Men Riders, and enjoys motorcycle rides with his wife, Renee Jones, 40. Monty Jones is a former member of the Parent-Child Center's board of directors, and currently serves the organization as a volunteer parent aide.

"It's nice when you can put your interest in biking together with support of a cause you have a passion for," Monty Jones said.

Mike Hansen, 63, of Hagerstown, said though it was a sunny 92 degrees, the weather was OK for motorcycle riding.

"If you're out on the road, it kicks the wind up for you," Hansen said. "As you ride along, you realize why dogs stick their heads out car windows."

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