BIKER NEWS: Annual Toy Run kicks off Salvation Army’s Christmas push | Outlaws Bikers News

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BIKER NEWS: Annual Toy Run kicks off Salvation Army’s Christmas push

BN- The 37th annual Highway Hiker Toy Run will take place Oct. 18, kicking off the Salvation Army’s annual toy drive to benefit local nee...


BN- The 37th annual Highway Hiker Toy Run will take place Oct. 18, kicking off the Salvation Army’s annual toy drive to benefit local needy children.

The Highway Hiker Motorcycle Club will ride from Medway through some of the major roads in Springfield to the Clark County Fairgrounds. There they will present the Salvation Army with hundreds of new toys, which will be given to help kids who are in need of presents this Christmas.

Over 3,000 bikers are expected to attend, including some from as far as Oklahoma. Each participant is asked to donate a toy or $10.

Ryan Ray, the Resource Development Manager for the Salvation Army Springfield Corps, says the event challenges people’s stereotypes.

“A lot of these biker clubs and groups, they get bad press, they get stereotyped, and so this is a statement that it’s not all bad,” Ray said. “The particular guys that are in this, they work 10 months out of the year to put this on, to make this possible. So it’s a statement to the community that there’s a lot of love there, and that these kids in our community matter to them.”

The media has portrayed bikers in a negative light, especially in TV shows, according to Barron Seelig, the club’s road captain.

“The whole Sons of Anarchy thing, television shows, it’s just that. It’s entertainment,” he said. “It’s not real. The Toy Run is real. The Highway Hikers are real.”

Salvation Army Springfield Corps Captain Justin Caldwell said the cyclists’ heart for children is unmistakable.

“A lot of people have different ideas about these guys and girls that are on these bikes, but they really love these kids, and you see them come out by the thousands,” he said.

Seelig, who has been a member of the Highway Hikers since its inception 40 years ago, said the toy run started because the group saw a need in the community.

“We found out that some kids weren’t getting Christmas,” he said, “and we just said, ‘That can’t be. We gotta help them get Christmas.’ ”

Seelig has seen the event grow over the past 37 years. The first year, he said, there were 17 riders. Last year, there were 2,160.

The event has become popular among bikers, Seelig said, partly because of its legacy.

“In the biker community, it’s almost a rite of passage to be on the Highway Hiker Toy Run because we’ve done it so many years,” he said.

Caldwell said he has a special appreciation for what these bikers do as the Salvation Army assisted him when he was younger. His mom rasied he and his brothers by herself, working as a nurse at night

“The Salvation Army helped her out when we were in a time of need, and I remember that,” he said.

Ray said partnering with the Highway Hikers for a greater cause is what the holiday season is all about.

“It’s an honor for the Salvation Army and the Highway Hikers to lock arms in a statement of love for the kids in this community,” Ray said.

The Highway Hikers will begin the Toy Run from the VFW Post 9684, 1587 Lake Rd., in Medway at 1 p.m. Oct. 18 and end at the fairgrounds between 2-2:30 p.m.

Source: http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/news/local/annual-toy-run-kicks-off-salvation-armys-christmas/nnyNq/

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Outlaws Bikers News : BIKER NEWS: Annual Toy Run kicks off Salvation Army’s Christmas push
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