Toys Take Motorcycle Ride With Marines
HONOLULU — The warm exhaust of an estimated 5,000 motorcycles and motor bikes blew dust across Ala Moana Beach Park as the 38th annual Street Bikers United Hawaii Toy Run Parade roared off, Dec. 2.
Motorcycle enthusiasts and riding clubs statewide participated in the annual event, which included entertainment, food and other booths at Magic Island followed by a parade through Waikiki. Participants brought brand new, unwrapped toys to donate to the local U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
“This is our 38th year,” said Ray Pagan, the state treasurer of Street Bikers Hawaii. “It’s been great. Every year it’s been getting better. I have more people that want to get involved.”
According to Pagan, the Street Bikers United event has the biggest collection of toys each year, with as many as 10,000 toys donated by participants.
This year even actor Daniel Dae Kim, from the TV show “Hawaii Five-0” rode his motorcycle in the parade and donated toys.
Windward Oahu Chapter Harley Owners Group members Gary D. Lloyd and Bob Shampoe sat in a sea of motorcycles and toys, chatting prior to the parade.
“We love motorcycles and biking, and it’s a way to combine that with helping the keiki,” Shampoe said.
Shampoe donated a Cabbage Patch doll while Lloyd donated a Nerf pistol.
“There are a lot of underprivileged kids on the islands,” Lloyd said. “(The families are) really encouraged by the support that the kids get.”
Many decorated their bikes in ribbon, tinsel, wrapping paper and more. Honolulu residents George and Barbara Townsend, dressed up as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus for the event. The Townsends’ motorcycle was covered in stuffed animals and carried a large red bag of additional toys. George Townsend said it took about five hours to decorate the bike. He also spent a year growing a beard for his Santa role.
“January — it’s gone,” George said of his beard, with a chuckle.
George, who is a member of the Sons of Hawaii motorcycle club, served in the Marine Corps from 1979 to 1984, and was stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The bikers roared out of Magic Island and drove through Waikiki, accompanied by Honolulu Police Department escorts and Marines at the front.
Marines from various units were on hand at Magic Island and Kapiolani Community College to collect the donations. Some of the Marines volunteering came from other units outside of MCB Hawaii. Sgt. Jeffrey Tang, who is now stationed in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, is a Honolulu native and wanted to volunteer for Toys for Tots while he spent the holidays at home. Aside from his love for volunteering, he said he appreciated the fact that all of the local drives will be supporting local kids.
Sgt. Jerel Bersalona, a rifleman from Fox Company, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, was among the Marines volunteering at the event. Bersalona said he volunteered for Toys for Tots to give back to the Marine Corps.
At Kapiolani Community College, motorcycles crowded the parking lot while participants rested after the parade and turned in their donations to the Marines. The toys filled nearly four large vehicles.
“I think we probably got over $100,000 worth of toys, easily,” said Staff Sgt. Edward Hans, this year’s Toys for Tots coordinator, with 4th Force Reconnaissance Company. “We got everything from matchbox cars to stuffed animals to train sets to remote controlled cars, it’s unbelievable … it was a very good turnout.”
The Marines will be accepting donations until Dec. 14. For details, visit http://kaneohe-bay-hi.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx, or call Hans at 348-4532.