Floars working to memorialize son with motorcycle run for children
By Gary Popp
Published in News on August 14, 2011 1:50 AM
Allen Floars lost his 17-year-old son, Jacob, in an automobile crash in October 2010, and there is not a day that goes by when he does not think of that painful loss.
But this year, he is going to make good on a promise he made to himself a few weeks after he lost his son much too young.
To help cope with his own grief and to memorialize his son, Floars decided to raise money in Jacob's name for the children at University Health Systems Children's Hospital in Greenville.
He hopes the motorcycle run, which is scheduled for Sept. 10, will bring in thousands of dollars for the hospital and the children it serves.
The reason for the choice of the beneficiary is simple, he said.
"I just wanted to do something for children because I couldn't help my own son," Floars said. "Anytime you help children, you get blessed in your own life."
The run will start at Shelton's Harley-Davidson in Goldsboro at 12:30 p.m. and will end at Hometown Harley-Davidson in Winterville.
Floars is expecting 200 to 600 motorcycles to participate in the ride, which he estimates will raise between $5,000 and $10,000.
And he said he knows his son would have been proud to have been part of such an effort.
"He had a real passion for children, even though he was a kid himself," Floars said.
The process of bringing the bike run to fruition has been healing for Floars.
Jacob's Run has helped him focus on something positive instead of sitting around and thinking about his loss, he said.
Still, even with something else to think about, the last few months have been a rollercoaster emotionally.
"I get a big boost of joy, but then I break down because my son is gone," Floars said.
For some of the riders, the bike run will include a stop at the hospital, where some of the children will be allowed to come down and sit on the motorcycles, and a small number of riders will be permitted to enter the hospital and interact with the children.
Floars said the support he has received from people in the community has been overwhelming.
"It is just an awesome feeling. It makes you feel like you could do more good," he said.
Support for the run has come from many local businesses that have offered donations for the festive event following the ride at Hometown Harley-Davidson.
Floars said Uncle Yammy's Rib Shack is providing barbecue plates and a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, Tuesday's Gone.
Floars said area businesses including McCall's BBQ & Seafood, Wilber's Barbecue, Builder's Discount Center in Wilson and Auto Zone in Goldsboro have all stepped up to provide door prizes. BJ's Cafe in Eureka has also showed support by offering discounts to customers who buy the T-shirts that were created for the event.
The shirts are $15 and are available at Country Time Tavern in Goldsboro, Igloo's in Fremont and First Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Floarses' home church.
Since Jacob's death, Floars said faith has been a big part of his life.
"It is the Lord that has helped change my life. Instead of focusing on myself, I am thinking how I can help other people," he said.
The members of the church have given support to the Floars family, which includes Jacob's mother, Catherine, and his sister, Jessica, while they have grieved.
Church members have also been instrumental in the planning of the motorcycle run, Floars said.
The church's motorcycle group, M25 Ministry, has shown special support.
"They have been really, really great," Floars said. "These people in the church are really giving, and I love them."
The price to participate in the run is $10 for single riders and $15 for double riders. The entry price covers food and entertainment. Motorcycles are not required for participation in the festivities in Winterville following the run.
Additional details and registration forms for riders are available online at www.jacobs run.info.