I belong to our local Harley Owner’s Group, commonly known as H.O.G. When two of our own recently have battled cancer, we wanted to do something to support them. We were originally going to just do a ride to support them, but something different transpired along the way. When our dealership talked to one of them and asked her who SHE supported, what charities, or causes were important to her, a new idea was born.
We decided to not only hold an event in support of these two, but the ride would support services in town that relied on donations to help others. We picked causes close to their hearts and started advertising for donations.
As a group we manned the grills at the Harley dealership for free will donations on several occasions. We would use this money to buy even more! Friday was the day we had to end donations as it was the day before the event. We divided the goods, then the money, sent some members shopping and anticipated the next day!
Early Saturday we headed to the dealership to sign up our riders. We headed out to the first stop, followed by a truck FULL of our donations. This was going to be fun! Little did I know how truly AMAZING it would be.
Our first stop was a ‘fairly’ new place. Patriots for Pets.They rescue dogs and find them their forever homes. What a great place, doing great things! It was our honor to help them. They greeted us with coffee and doughnuts and we got to visit some of the dogs!
As we were leaving, we stopped for a group picture. This was taken by them and used with permission.
Our second stop was a place that helps parents of newborns and young children that are struggling. The parents earn points and they use them to buy things. Another wonderful service! It felt great to help.
Then we went on to our last stop. THIS one really touched all our hearts. It was a place that many young children live at, for reasons unknown to us. They were all standing outside waiting for our arrival. They clapped, jumped up and down and were very excited to see all of the motorcycles. They were thrilled when they were allowed to climb on them, honk the horns, and even turn the throttle! Each one of them received their own Harley shirt and we left a large pile of toys, games, videos and other things around a tree outside. Felt like Christmas in the summer! The looks of joy on the faces of these kids and all of the thank you’s from them, made my heart swell. One girl wrote us each a ‘thank you’ on a piece of paper and handed each one to us! Mine is on the refrigerator! I think THIS stop will stay with us more than any, as we got to interact with the kids. We want to do it again!
After this stop, we rode back to the dealership with our two survivors leading the way. There is a catch in my throat just thinking about it. We had the DJ..who btw, met one of these people and offered his services FREE if we ever had a benefit, play a song requested by her as we drove in!
The day was filled with music, grilling, a kid’s game area and rides on the Harley train! Free will donations were given freely all day. The weather was perfect. Everything was!
At the end of the day, after counting the donations, we gathered our HOG group together and presented each of our survivors with half-something WE intended all along, even if they didn’t know! I sit here again with tears in my eyes, remembering it.
I wish I could describe to you the feeling I had yesterday being a part of this. There really are NO words to describe it. I just know that there really is nothing better than to be a part of such an experience. If you possibly ever can, I hope you take part in one. I truly think you get SO much out of giving to people and services who need it. I can’t wait to do this again. Maybe it will become a yearly adventure. I hope so!!
I want to thank everyone who helped in any way-from many many long hours of planning, to the dealership who did SO much, to those who manned the grill for long hours, for the donations of money and goods, and time and to those who attended yesterday. I will never forget! I know those who we helped never will, either!