By Travis Sloat
Jason Redfearn said filling his motorcycle with toys and delivering them to the needy gave him a feeling of doing his part to help the community.
“I’m here for the kids,” Redfearn said Sunday afternoon. “I’ve been a member for just about a year, and I’m the Sergeant at Arms now. This is the second toy run I’ve done this year. There are a lot of families struggling right now, and I just want to help bring some light to their lives.”
Redfearn was one of about 200 bikers who participated in the annual Muskogee Toy Run on Sunday, sponsored by A Brotherhood Aiming Toward Education (ABATE).
ABATE is a legislative organization that fights for the rights of motorcyclists in Oklahoma. They also team up a few times each year to provide children in the Muskogee and surrounding communities with toys for the Christmas season.
Troy Underwood, president of the Three Rivers chapter, said he’s been an ABATE member for four and one-half years, and he’s done the Toy Run every year.
“These toys will go to needy children who might not have a Christmas otherwise,” Underwood said. This year the toys will go to the legion riders, who will then contact the appropriate agencies to make sure they get to the right people. It’s a joint effort.”
The parking lot of Curt’s Mall was a sea of chrome, leather, and brightly colored packaging as the bikers gathered together before being escorted by Muskogee police across town to the Bedouin Shrine Temple for the delivery. Laughter and smiles were frequent as they gathered into small groups and talked about previous rides.
The Christian Motorcyclist Association was on hand to provide refreshments to the bikers. Vonda Haddock, who is the area representative for CMA, said this was the third Toy Run they had done this year.
“We’ll do even more before the year is out,” Haddock said. “Next weekend we’ll go to the Pryor chapter. We serve water, coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks to these guys. We all do bike blessings as well.”
The Three Rivers chapter of ABATE has about 80 members, and Underwood said they were constantly on the lookout for more.
“I’d like to see our chapter grow,” he said. “If you believe motorcycle riders have rights, you belong in our group. It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride or what other organizations you’re affiliated with.”
Those who are interested in joining ABATE to help with future Toy Runs can attend their monthly meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Cowboy’s Barbecue in Muskogee.