American Bikers Aimed Toward Education members are all about giving back and helping others.
Whether it’s conducting a motorcycle ride to raise money for a cancer patient or someone who has lost their home to a fire or to collect toys for Head Start kids and their siblings, the men and women involved in the motorcycle rights group are revved up and ready to help.
On Monday afternoon, four members of Jackson County ABATE were joined by Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman and Jackson County Head Start students and staff in dedicating three new additions to the Seymour facility’s playground.
[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]Click here to purchase photos from this gallery
The cycle-go-round, teeter-totter and bench were purchased with money left over from ABATE’s annual Shari Stahl Memorial Toy Run and Christmas party for Head Start kids and their siblings. The equipment cost around $2,100 and was installed by volunteers from Cummins, Valeo and Ruler.
“The biker community has a very large heart,” said Bryan Layton, ABATE representative for Jackson County. “Some people see the guy dressed in leather and long beard and tattoos, but he has probably given more money to charity and done more for children needing special stuff than most corporate people ever think of.”
Rain or shine, you will see a large group of motorcyclists participate in a ride to help others in any way they can, Layton said.
“It doesn’t matter the cause,” he said. “The biker community has a very, very large heart.”
Layton also was quick to mention that ABATE couldn’t do what it does without its sponsors. Co-county representative Don Boling agreed.
“We’ve got a lot of real good sponsors that are dedicated to us every year,” Boling said.
“That’s the big thing, that none of this would happen if it wasn’t for the smaller businesses of Seymour and individuals donating their money to help us out,” Layton said.
Darrell Crockett, safety officer for Jackson County ABATE, said he has had the pleasure of playing the role of Santa Claus at the annual Head Start Christmas party and seeing kids smile when they open their gifts.
One year, Crockett said a boy asked for a remote-controlled helicopter, and he wasn’t sure that would be possible because it cost more than $100. A sponsor, however, came through and bought the gift.
“When he opened the gift, that’s what it was. Santa about fell out of his chair. It’s so wonderful to do that stuff to help,” Crockett said.
“It fills your heart with joy to see them happy, how happy they are when they open their gifts,” 12-year ABATE member Debra Boling said.
Gloria Quicksell with Head Start said the 52 boys and girls enrolled in the 3-, 4- and 5-year-old preschool program will enjoy the new playground equipment. Head Start is especially grateful for the donation because there’s a freeze on spending, so they don’t have money to spend on playground equipment or field trips, she said.
While the ABATE members weren’t able to see the kids using the playground equipment because of the rain Monday, they know it will be put to good use.
“I think they’ll enjoy it,” Debra said.
“All of the elves in North Pole city were more than happy for us getting this for these kids,” Crockett said.
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
What: 41st annual Shari Stahl Memorial Toy Run motorcycle ride, sponsored by Region 7 ABATE Jackson County
When: Sept. 28 (sign in between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; kickstands up at 1 p.m.)
Where: Starts and ends at American Legion Post 89, 414 W. Second St., Seymour
Cost: $10 per person; after-party is $5 per person; T-shirts will be available for purchase; food from the American Legion kitchen will be available for purchase
Who: All ages are welcome on the ride and at the after-party; the event is open to the public, and ABATE membership is not required
Details: Kill’n Smalls will provide live music; no outside drinks are allowed
Information: Call Bryan Layton at 812-216-3575 or Don Boling at 812-521-2709 or email [email protected]