ARMC raises money, collects toys for local children

PLATTSBURGH The Adirondack Riders Motorcycle Club has organized a bike ride through the North Country for the past16 years to help raise money for local organizations. For the last two, they have specifically focused on helping the Altona Volunteer Fire Department, raising money and collecting toys for their Childrens Christmas Party Fund. ARMC former president and current member Walt Sears of West Chazy explained people from the community join with the members of club to travel 100 miles, each year enjoying a different route. We appoint a different ride director, the road captain we call him, and he picks the route, Sears said. Its nice that way, because then everybodys surprised. This year, the group traveled down from Plattsburgh to Willsboro then north to Champlain, before finishing in Altona. The ride originally began when ARMC was contacted by Vietnam veterans looking for help from them. They continued to do so for the next seven years, eventually moving on and helping out other organizations. Then, Altona had such a need for help ... So, we decided wed go with the fire department, Sears explained. The ARMC was the one to make contact with the fire department regarding the Christmas party fund, said Jamie LaBarge, president of the Altona Volunteer Fire Department. They said that they would be more than willing to help because they thought it was a great idea, LaBarge said, adding the Christmas party had a great turnout with more than 100 children in attendance, and everybody from the community is invited to attend. [ARMC does] a great thing for the community. Money is raised for the Childrens Christmas Party Fund when people register for the ride. They give a $10 donation or a new toy in its original box, explained ARMC treasurer Michael Thompson of Keeseville. The club absorbs the entire cost of putting on the ride and the entire cost of the refreshments, etc., said Thompson. The money thats collected for the Christmas party, all of it is going to go to the fire department. Last year, the club raised $1,300 and enough toys to fill a utility truck. This year, they had even more success with a total of more than $1,500 cash, about $2,000 worth of toys and about 60 bikers participating. Bikers are very warm-hearted, good, generous people and they donate generously, said Thompson. Sears had similar sentiments when he said, Were people just like anybody else. We have a compassionate heart, and thats why we did this. We wanted to help people that didnt have the opportunity to do these things. So, by doing this with the club, were able to reach more people. The ARMC was established in 1939 by George Gebo, a Harley Davidson dealer in Plattsburgh. It was then incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in 1948. Currently, the club consists of 21 members, including one female. Were just a family-oriented club that likes to ride Harley Davidson motorcycles, said Thompson.

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