Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Toy run starts fundraising season

 


A motorcycle toy run will officially kick off one of Sweetwater County’s toy fundraising drives.

On Sunday, the 25th Annual Toy Run will once again start in Green River at 1 p.m. Flaming Gorge Harley-Davidson, Vietnam Vets and Legacy Vets M.C., are teaming up to host this event.

“It’s a kickoff to the firefighters in Rock Springs,” Lisa Maes, Flaming Gorge Harley Davidson motor clothes manager, said. “They have a toy drive every year for Christmas.”

Maes said the store has been collecting toys to drive over to Rock Springs for a few weeks. So far, local trona mining companies have stepped up to the plate and brought in a bunch of toys, but Maes is hoping more will be brought in before Sunday’s big parade.

Anyone who wants to join in on the parade, may do so. Maes said the toy run isn’t just for motorcycles, but other vehicles too. Anyone wishing to join the run will need to be at the store by noon Sunday. All of this is based on the weather, however Maes said it will have to be bad for them to postpone it.

“I have seen years when they rode in the snow,” Maes said.

Last year, 130 motorcycles participated in the toy run and the year before that there was even more, at 150. Maes is hoping more vehicles will also participate.

The run will start at the store, make its way down Uinta Drive, go over the overpass, down Flaming Gorge Way before the group will enter Interstate 80 just before the tunnels and make their way to Rock Springs. Once at Rock Springs, the group will meet up at Santa Fe Southwest Grill. Maes said a lot of Rock Springs riders should be waiting for them at the restaurant. In Rock Springs, the parade will continue until they arrive at Rock Springs Fire Station No. 1, which is on College Drive. After arriving at the fire station, all of the toys will be handed over to the firefighters.

Maes said the group is usually led by a Green River Fire Department fire truck and accompanied through Green River by Green River Police Department vehicles. The Wyoming Highway Patrol will assist on I-80 and the Rock Springs Police Department will help out in Rock Springs. Maes said this event would not run so smoothly if it were not for the help of these local agencies.

“When you have 150 motorcycles; and you enter the freeway it can be scary,” Maes said.

Even with the various police agencies help, Maes is asking residents to be patient. Last year, someone getting on I-80 just cut right into the motorcycle group. Luckily, no one was injured, but Maes said people still need to use caution.

“You don’t want a whole bunch of people getting hurt,” she said.

The Toys

Maes said Green River residents and businesses can still donate unwrapped toys before the run. If they are unable to bring the toys to the Green River drop off before Sunday, they can still donate toys by dropping them off at Fire Station No. 1. on College Drive.

“It’s for the children. There are a lot of kids out there that are not as lucky as others,” Maes said. “We’re helping children enjoy and have a happy Christmas.”

Once the toys have been dropped off at the Rock Springs Fire Station No. 1, Rock Springs Fire Chief Jim Wamsley and other firefighters will take the project over.

Wamsley said they will continue to accept toys and donations right up to Dec. 18. Then, the firefighters will sort the toys based on ages and gender.

Sign up sheets for those in need of toys will be at the Sweetwater County Food Bank in Rock Springs on Nov. 24 and Dec. 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. Those in need of toys must register during those times.

Wamsley said these toys are for any children within Sweetwater County that may need them, not just Rock Springs residents. He said the only reason it is at the Sweetwater County Food Bank in Rock Springs is because that is a central location; and a convenient drop-off location for them.

There are some restrictions on the toy donations, Wamsley said. No stuffed animals or used toys will be accepted. Wamsley said firefighters will check the sign up sheets to make sure they have enough toys for all of the age groups.

 

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