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Motorcycle ride raises funds for abused, neglected children

July 25, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • A stuffed Santa is along for the ride during ABATE's Christmas in July event on Sunday.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

ST. THOMAS, Pa. -- It was hard to differentiate thunder from the rumble of motorcycles in the last few minutes of the Christmas in July motorcycle ride Sunday.

Sponsored by the Keystone Chapter of ABATE (Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education), the ride ended in the midst of a severe thunderstorm. Motorcyclists huddled under pavilions and awnings at the American Legion grounds in St. Thomas, but their spirits didn't seem to be dampened.

Chambersburg, Pa., resident Buck Hessler said the conversations and laughter were his favorite aspects of the event.

"You get to meet new people," he said.

Like Hessler, Bobbie Stewart of Chambersburg was participating in the Christmas in July ride for the first time. It was her first big group ride since she started riding motorcycles two years ago.

Stewart said she liked "being able to look in your rearview mirror and see nothing but headlights" from the group of about 100. She said the event was well-organized.

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"ABATE should be proud of themselves for today," Stewart said.

Proceeds from the ride and a corresponding "Give a Heart" fundraiser will benefit Royal Family Kids' Camps for abused and neglected children, organizer Lora Wolfe said.

"I'm hoping for at least $5,000," Wolfe said.

Her goal was less than half of the amount raised in 2009 because she said she expected economic concerns to diminish contributions.

Beth Christopher from New Oxford, Pa., participated in the color guard that led the ride, along with a motorcyclist dressed as Santa Claus. The ride began at M&S Harley-Davidson in Chambersburg, Pa.

Christopher said she likes to see people smiling and appreciating the military as the color guard passes.

"It's the right thing to do," she said.

Next year's route will be longer, as requested by some participants, Wolfe said. The existing route takes about 30 minutes to cross, she said.

The band Runaway Train was scheduled to play at the picnic after the ride. Local Boy Scouts and their leaders were serving food during the storm.

There were other plans for a prayer and patriotic music.

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