11/05/06 — Giving Santa a little help

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Giving Santa a little help

By Lee Williams
Published in News on November 5, 2006 10:31 AM

Riding in a single file formation, hundreds of motorcycle riders from the Harley Owners Group of Goldsboro roared into the parking lot of Shelton's Harley-Davidson Saturday.

Spectators smiled, waved and some snapped their camera phones as riders decked in leather chaps, colorful helmets and shiny Harleys pulled into Shelton's parking lot on U.S. 70 East Bypass. Santa Claus perched on a Harley was the first to pass dozens of waiting fans, who braved the cold to watch the caravan.

As riders proceeded to the rear of the parking lot, members of the local Shriners organizations hauled bags of toys from pickup trucks that escorted the riders from Smithfield to Goldsboro and placed them in a large, yellow truck. It didn't take long for the truck to fill up.

Business owner Shelton Davis sponsored the ninth annual H.O.G. Toy Run and Fall Open House. Riders departed from Shelton's Harley-Davidson Mall Shop in Smithfield and arrived in Goldsboro about 1 p.m.

Proceeds from the event benefited children at the Shriners Hospital in Greenville, S.C., and the Shriners Burn Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Money raised during the event also benefited the Rosewood Volunteer Fire Department, the local Boy Scouts and NASCAR legend Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp that helps sick children.

Davis said he made a donation to Rosewood Volunteer Fire Department to make barbecue plates for the riders once they arrived in Goldsboro.

The firefighters plan to share a portion of their proceeds with the local Boy Scouts, who plan to build a scout hut, Rosewood Volunteer firefighter Jason Tew said.

Davis said he enjoyed sponsoring the event that helped so many organizations. He said it was his duty to give back.

"You always give back to the community," Davis said. "Goldsboro has been good to us, and we always give back."

More than 500 motorcycle riders participated in the event. About 600 to 900 bikers were expected, but cold weather kept some away, H.O.G. member Hillary Smith said.

But overall, organizers Noel Rose and his wife, Stephanie, called the event a success. More than 1,000 toys were collected during the H.O.G. Toy Run, Shriners said.

"That truck is full of toys," Mrs. Rose said. "We only required one toy, but some people brought two or three toys. It's been an incredible turnout."

Mrs. Rose is the director of the H.O.G. Goldsboro chapter. She also is the supervisor of the state-run Drug Abuse Recovery Treatment program. Noel Rose is the chief parole and probation officer for the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Noel Rose helped organize the law enforcement angle of the event.

The Toy Run attracted people from all walks of life including Stan Gainey of Dunn, who runs a wholesale distribution center for custom wheels and tires. Gainey, who is also a Shriner, said he enjoyed making a difference.

"I feel good that I can bring joy to children at Christmas and all through the year," Gainey said.

In addition to the toys collected, organizers raised $1,037 that will be donated to the gang camp, Noel Rose said.

Toys were collected by Wayne Shrine Club, Sudan Mini-Rigs and Sudan Wrecking Crew, who in turn will donate the toys to two Shrine hospitals.

Wayne Edwards, first vice president of the Sudan Shriners, lauded H.O.G. and Davis for collecting the toys.

"We're especially thankful to H.O.G. and Shelton's Harley-Davidson for allowing us to have these toys for our Shriners' children," Edwards said.

Meanwhile, the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club delivered toys to the Thunder Swamp Pentecostal Holiness Church on N.C. 55 West in Mount Olive Saturday afternoon.

People attending the church's Harvest Festival piled out of the Fellowship Hall to greet them. The 35 riders unstrapped the toys from their bikes, while others unloaded toys from a pickup truck.

Club president Frank Morrow said one year they had 70 motorcycle riders deliver toys to the church.

"It goes up and down, but it was a bit cold today," Morrow said.

The club members dropped off the toys and headed to their nearby club house for a turkey shoot. The club will donate proceeds from the turkey shoot to Falcon Children Homes, the church's orphanage.