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POSTED: September 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Alena Parker/

George Screws, HFD deputy fire marshal, talks to the riders about what they are trying to accomplish.

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It was more than an entertaining ride when various brands of motorcycles rumbled out Stafford Park Saturday morning.
The city of Hinesville got a jumpstart in fundraising for the upcoming Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade in December by hosting Cycles for Charity, raising $2,925 in donations and sponsorships.
The Mayors’ Motorcade has been a Georgia Municipal Association program for 50 years, rallying cities to raise money for the state’s seven regional adult mental health hospitals.
According to GMA, “Many of these clients have lived in the hospital facility for much of their lives and receive little, if any, support from their families.”
For Acey Lewis, who’s been riding for about 35 years, Saturday’s run was a “smooth ride,” and the cause was a “good idea.”
“I think it’s really nice that somebody consider those people and the families they belong to,” he said.
Lewis realized it can get lonely in a hospital and thought he made a difference by giving a gift to show patients that people are thinking about them.
“It gives them a sense of self-being,” Lewis said.
More than 70 riders registered, including individual and groups, registered for the ride.
Jim Thomas, Hinesville mayor, was impressed with the increased participation, compared to last year and seeing “people get together to do good things.”
The motorcade also raises awareness about the needs of Georgia’s mental health hospitals, according to GMA.
“We don’t have all the medical services that we should have in the country and this is a good effort toward resolving some of that,” Thomas said.
Rick Perryman, Hinesville Fire Department fire marshal, and George Screws, HFD deputy fire marshal, were grateful for the community’s support, personally thanking the participants when they came back from the 89-mile ride and during the concluding luncheon at the pavilion.
“You have so many different groups at Christmas time asking for donations...it gets hard for everyone to bring a present, especially for an adult,” Perryman said.
He noticed a “camaraderie between military riders, civilian riders and just the community coming together...and all different walks of life.”
True Soldiers motorcycle club, a military-based organization, has participated for 10 years and had the largest presence.
But the group likes to do their good deeds “discreetly,” according to the president, who only wanted to be identified as Snake, his biker name.
“We’re not looking for any kind of publicity,” he said. “We’re just about needy families.”
The group participates and leads a number of local charity drives, especially around the holidays.
“Times are hard now, so maybe they need that extra charity,” Big Six, another member, said.
“Without the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, the staff at these hospitals has told us, many of their clients would not receive a gift for the holidays,” according to GMA.
Besides promoting the state cause, Snake hoped the event would also “change the outlook on bikers.”
“As long as it’s a clean, safe ride, hopefully the community will start looking at us in a different way,” Snake said. “They think we’re gangsters and bad guys, but a lot of us aren’t.”
Hinesville’s donations for the Mayors’ Motorcade in December will go toward the city’s closest mental health hospital, Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah.
 

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