Motorcyclists play Santa
In 1995, Forest Grove resident James Pratt hopped on the back of his dads motorcycle and rode along for his first Christmas ABATE toy drive in Hillsboro.
Pratt hasnt missed a ride now officially called the Stan Johnson Memorial Toy Run in the past 20 years.
Its for the kids, man, Pratt said. Were a generous group.
Every year since 1984, the Washington County chapter of ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) has partnered with the Hillsboro Fire Department and the Hillsboro Elks Lodge to put on the annual toy run to help Washington County families who have requested assistance during the holiday season.
Every year since 1984, the event has gotten bigger and every year, more families have indicated they need help, including 800 who applied for assistance this year.
Last year the event saw nearly 125 bikers make the trip.
This year, on Nov. 21, roughly 140 bikers representing 10 riding groups from all over the U.S. met at Hillsboro Fire Station No. 3 and rode to the Elks Lodge on Northwest Quatama Road, where they presented a trailer stocked with 650 toys and a cash donation of $2,200 for the fire departments Toy N Joy program.
Christmastime can be rough for families in need. This is an opportunity to help out and its fun, said Ryan Grimaldi, HFDs Toy N Joy coordinator. Firefighters are always helping. We want this to encourage others to get involved and help people, too.
Its nice to be able to do this for the community and the kids, said Paul Hering, both an Elks member and the ABATE coordinator for Oregon. Some people have a bad image of motorcyclists.