By Frank Lewis
November 27, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
As familiar as Santa Claus, snow, and red kettles is the appearance each year of the Bikers for Charity. This year will be no exception. When you see them in the roadway or standing by the side of the road wearing their familiar black biker garb, remember what you are looking at - the difference between a merry Christmas and no Christmas at all for many area needy children.
Bikers for Charity is made up of the Portsmouth Motorcycle Club, Brothers of the Wheel, Stray Dawgs, Southern Ohio Ridge Riders, Bikers for Christ and American Legion riders from the various posts in the region.
“They’ve been doing this about 18 years,” Shawn Gee, Commander of James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion, said. “They have collected a lot of money over the years, and they give some to the New Boston Police Department; some to the Portsmouth Fire Department and then to the Salvation Army. We take that money and we go to the different schools and find out what the kids need, whether they need food or other things. Every penny solicited every years goes straight to either presents, clothing or food for our community’s children and our veterans.”
Gee said the Biker’s for Charity are also involved in the annual summer veterans picnic and veterans Christmas party, which will be held this year on Dec. 11.
“They’re not doing it for recognition. I asked Al Odle of the Portsmouth Motorcycle Club about it, and he said, ‘we’re not doing it for that,’” Gee said. “They do it twice a year and I heard some disparaging remarks from other people, but these are good people, a very diverse group of people, who love their community and they love the people in it. I just think they need a good pat on the back.”
Gee said the Portsmouth Motorcycle Club does a Christmas Toy Run every year and return, bringing the toys they have collected to their club house and the Salvation Army. Gee, a firefighter, said he has seen the group bring up bags of money, sometimes $12,000 to $15,000. “They would set it on the table and say, ‘take care of this for us,’” Gee said.
Gee said the satisfaction of helping others has been worth every bit of the effort.
“To be a part of this over the years, when we used to deliver presents for the fire department, we got to see the difference that it makes in these kids’ lives,” Gee said. “It is really amazing.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.