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Motorcyclists play Santa

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Through ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education), 10 national biker groups -- such as Brother Speed, The Shadows, Alky Angels and Bikers for Christ -- came together to raise awareness of motorcycle safety and collect toys for Hillsboro children in need. In 1995, Forest Grove resident James Pratt hopped on the back of his dad’s motorcycle and rode along for his first Christmas ABATE toy drive in Hillsboro.

Pratt hasn’t missed a ride — now officially called the Stan Johnson Memorial Toy Run — in the past 20 years.

“It’s for the kids, man,” Pratt said. “We’re 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.HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Elks and ABATE members Mary and Troy Ceballos (front) prepare for the 31st annual Stan Johnson Memorial Toy Run in Hillsboro on Nov. 21 while ABATE events and fundraiser coordinator Veta Holscher gets a head start at collecting toys. Its all about charity, Holscher said. We love to give.

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 department’s Toy N Joy program.

“Christmastime can be rough for families in need. This is an opportunity to help out — and it’s fun,” said Ryan Grimaldi, HFD’s Toy N Joy coordinator. “Firefighters are always helping. We want this to encourage others to get involved and help people, too.”HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - At the Stan Johnson Memorial Toy Run on Nov. 21,  more than 200 people -- including 140 bikers from 10 national biker groups -- joined together to collect 650 toys to give to Hillsboro families this Christmas through the Hillsboro Fire Departments Toy N Joy program.

“It’s 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.”