Hot night, good cause

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Motorcycles of all makes and colors dazzled brilliantly in the sun as their riders registered for a run to help prevent child abuse.

The run started at the Texaco station on Louisiana Highway 21 and ended at the Franklinton Fairgrounds. All proceeds of the $20 per bike event went to Bikers Against Child Abuse, an international organization created to aid and defend children who are victims of abuse.

Jason Williams, president of the Arawyns Motorcycle Club of Washington Parish organized the event.

Williams said, “We had several riders in the parish who wanted to form a club to organize events to help local citizens. We have a motorcycle parade during Mardi Gras benefitting police officers, firemen and the fallen soldiers memorial just to name a few.”

Williams continued, “We have been around 13 years and sponsor an annual toy run. Last year we were able to help a family with four little girls. We gave them socks, shoes and jackets as well as toys. The parents were so appreciative that we all got choked up and just had to walk off.”

Bikers proudly displayed their clubs’ emblems and came from neighboring parishes as well as Mississippi to feel a little breeze in their face and ride for a cause.

Andy Freeman, a respiratory therapist at Northshore Specialty Hospital and a member of the Arowyns since its inception in 2001, said, “ I really think the toy runs we do are awesome. All proceeds go to help local kids.”

This inspiring group of men not only helps those in need in their own community but also reached out to children in Baghdad last year. Williams was stationed there helping to train local police officers and noticed many little children chunking rocks at the military. The Arawyns once again stepped up and sent 100 soccer balls to the culprits. These young children in Baghdad turned over a new leaf and began playing soccer instead of throwing rocks.

The group enjoyed an antique car show upon arrival at the fairgrounds. A good crowd came to listen to music and to check out the beautifully restored vehicles.

Johnny Corkern of the Franklinton Police Department especially enjoyed seeing Wendell Crain’s 1966 GTO. Crain, a retired milk plant manager, is the original owner. He drove the car until 1984 and began the restoration project in ‘05. He now enjoys showing off his beautiful antique car along with the original bill of sale with the whopping price of $3,818.95.

Joel Galloway’s bluesy rock sound delighted the crowd. He sang and played a variety of music including Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See,” which seemed to be a crowd favorite.

The Bowling Green School’s Academic Booster Club sold concessions, with proceeds used to benefit academics at their school. Many ducked into the concession area when a thunderstorm rolled through the area. Spirits weren’t dampened, however. Folks just changed gears a bit and enjoyed some great food for a good cause.