December 14, 2017
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  • American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.
    Photo Provided
    American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.
  • American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.
    Photo Provided
    American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.
  • American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.
    Photo Provided
    American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.
  • American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.
    Photo Provided
    American Legion Post 175 donned costumes and smiles when they mounted their motorcycles to participate in the toy ride on November 12.

Festive And Generous Bikers Cruise Through Severna Park To Donate Toys

Judy Tacyn
Judy Tacyn's picture
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December 5, 2017

Marines, first responders, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Animal and the Abominable Snow Monster were just a few of the more than 100 riders on 62 motorcycles rumbling down Ritchie Highway from the American Legion Post 175 in Severna Park toward Mission BBQ in Glen Burnie on Saturday, November 18. The third annual Anne Arundel County Toy Ride Parade delivered toys collected by the American Legion Riders of 175 in Severna Park to the Marines of Toys for Tots.

Allison Fox is a Manhattan Beach resident and an auxiliary member of Legion 175. Though she does not have a motorcycle license, she joined the fun by riding on the back of a bike with one of the riders.

“We had a marvelous time. I felt like I was in a presidential motorcade,” exclaimed Fox. “I so wanted to wave like the queen of England!”

The joyous event was the second leg of a two-part event hosted by Post 175 and sponsored by the American Legion Riders and the Desert Knights of America Motorcycle Club from Baltimore.

On November 12, American Legion Post 175 held a Toys for Tots drive and fundraiser. For an admission price or donation, the community could enjoy good food and festive music.

“Being a veteran organization, many of the charities we support are connected to the military,” said Erica Southern, treasurer for Legion 175 Riders. “The American Legion Riders as an organization has made it a priority to help children, so you take an organization led by the Marine Corps that focuses on helping children and you get something that fits right into our mission.

“Mike Nelsen, the parade director (Legion Post 226), is a Marine, as well as my husband, Jamie,” added Southern. “The two of them have always been involved with Toys for Tots, so to team up and make it a huge event for the area just made sense.”

Arnold resident Garth Munroe was one of the toy parade riders. “This is the third year in a row that I have done the ride. It’s a great experience for a great cause,” said Munroe. “I actually get pretty emotional while the ride is going on. It feels good to help people that can really use the help, and they really appreciate the effort.”

Munroe brought his youngest daughter. “She loved the experience and I hope it is something she will stay involved in with me,” said Munroe. “Hopefully we can continue to keep growing this event and make it the largest one around. It was a great time. I look forward to it every year.”

The toy parade moved nine large boxes of toys from the toy collection party site via humvee to Mission BBQ in Glen Burnie, where Marines from the Toys for Tots Foundation were waiting. Riders in the parade also strapped or tied toys to their bikes.

“So many people are intimidated by motorcycle riders, but in reality we are some of the most charitable people you will ever meet,” said Southern. “Anytime you see more than 10 bikers together on the road means we are headed to a charity event, raising money for a charity, or paying our respects to a fallen member.”

Many of the riders had decorated their bikes or wore costumes in order to be considered for the Best Dressed Motorcycle or Best Dressed Rider awards. The spectacle drew lots of attention along Ritchie Highway.

“We had people see us driving down the road who turned around and came to Mission BBQ to give more toys!” exclaimed Southern.

The Ritchie Highway route was a new wrinkle to the toy parade. Southern said the Anne Arundel County Police Department was a tremendous event partner and safely escorted the bikers from Severna Park to Glen Burnie.

Fox said that Legion 175 was a perfect staging area for the bikes and for neighbors to come out and join in the fun. As for the parade she, too, said the Anne Arundel County Police Department kept the event organized and safe.

“Anne Arundel County Police were just outstanding,” said Fox. “We all know how short-staffed they are, yet they came out with us and made sure the riders were perfectly safe. They really were outstanding to work with.”

Local businesses have Toys for Tots collection boxes out now, and the foundation accepts toys until December 15. Anne Arundel County Police will collect until December 13. Monetary donations can be made via the Toys for Tots website or by mail. Money collected is used to purchase additional toys. To make a donation or to learn more about the United States Marines’ Toys for Tots Foundation, visit www.toysfortots.org.


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