Augusta-area bikers give gifts to military families

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It was an unusual scene Sunday afternoon at the Southeastern Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America on Deans Bridge Road.

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Dressed in her elf costume, Holly Harper does a little dance before hopping on her Honda.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Dressed in her elf costume, Holly Harper does a little dance before hopping on her Honda.

Men and women in full leather, boots, bandanas and badges rode motorcycles with pink dolls and teddy bears strapped to the back.

“I remember one year,” said Lynn Harshman, the director of Christmas House at Fort Gordon, “A big man in leather stirrups, a leather jacket, and a big beard came walking up with a Barbie dream house. It was great.”

Sunday was the 12th annual Augusta Motorcycle Toy Run to benefit military families. The 193 motorcycles started at the Augusta Museum of History and rode as a group to chapter headquarters at 4010 Deans Bridge Road. Each rider brought at least one toy to donate to the Christmas House.

“We average helping about 300 families a year,” Harshman said. “Somewhere between 800 and 950 children are given three toys and a stocking stuffer.”

So far this year, the Christmas House has approved 338 families are going to re-review about 30 more.

“We want to help everyone that qualifies,” said Harshman. “But we can only help as many families as we can afford.”

Harshman said donations have been down this year, so the motorcycle run could not have come at a better time.

The Christmas House’s goal is to assist service members with a traditional holiday celebration. Even though the name of the organization has Christmas in it, Harshman said members try to time it every year so all faiths can be included.

“We love doing it,” said Al Evans, the secretary of the Southeastern Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We’ve all been there when we had to make Christmas and it was just us.”

Evans said the motorcycle community has been eager to help. The chapter gets calls in August and September from bikers asking when the ride will be. They also collect money to give meals to the veterans.

“We are all one community,” he said. “We are still serving as best we can.”

The reason the chapter teams up with the motorcycle community in Augusta has to do with the vice president, Larry Dodson.

Dodson has been a motorcyclist for years and has ridden with all groups and types.

“Bikers are one of the most patriotic and giving groups you can imagine,” he said. “They will give when they don’t have it to give.”

He said a lot of the bikers are current and former military members.

“They know the sacrifice,” he said.

The parking lot was a sea of motorcycles, from Harley to Suzuki. Bikers from several clubs showed up to support the cause.

“I think it’s another successful year,” said Harshman.

Comments (7) Add comment
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RunningMan
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RunningMan 12/04/11 - 06:53 pm
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Good Stuff!!!

Good Stuff!!!

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 12/04/11 - 07:21 pm
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I was stopped at the red

I was stopped at the red light on Broad today as the bikers passed!! Very cool! I MISS BY BIKE!!!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/05/11 - 07:49 am
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Super. This is the kind of

Super. This is the kind of charity that puts things in the hands of the soldiers' families. Too many charities claim to be helping soldiers and wounded veterans, but do nothing more than pay enormous salaries to employees.

cytoranger
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cytoranger 12/05/11 - 09:49 am
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Been wearing gypsy leather

Been wearing gypsy leather for 19 years but looking to patch into a local (cruiser/Harley)club. That way I will know about these events in advance. Anyone reading with contact info please share. Thanks and merry Christmas from a 11 yr army vet in appling

cytoranger
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cytoranger 12/05/11 - 09:49 am
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Been wearing gypsy leather

Been wearing gypsy leather for 19 years but looking to patch into a local (cruiser/Harley)club. That way I will know about these events in advance. Anyone reading with contact info please share. Thanks and merry Christmas from a 11 yr army vet in appling

bucketbutt
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bucketbutt 12/05/11 - 04:35 pm
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cytoranger and anyone else

cytoranger and anyone else looking for a riding club, we have a Southern Cruisers Riding Club here in Augusta with members from all over the CSRA and who ride all types of bikes. Check out our website at http://www.augustascrc.net/. We would love for you to join us. There is also a Facebook page that posts events -- I think it is CSRA Motorcyle Events.

storiesihaveread
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storiesihaveread 12/05/11 - 07:16 pm
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I missed the ride due to

I missed the ride due to family issues. Will ride the next one. Thanks for the link bucketbutt.

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