Toys for Tots rides in AtmorePublished 1:49am Wednesday, December 22, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
The rumble of more than 50 motorcycles, most of them Harley-Davidsons, thundered down Main Street in Atmore on a mission Saturday.
The leather-clad motorcyclists making their appointed rounds, only stopped at Bratt Elementary, Atmore City Hall, and Perdido. Police cruisers followed the group, keeping a close eye on them. At each stop, small crowds gathered in wonderment.
A large bearded man in red, apparently the leader of the pack, stepped out at each stop and directed the other riders in a flurry of activity. Children looked on, unsure of what to do, as parents held them tight. The men and women went on, undeterred by the flashing red and blue lights.
The leader in red, the man seemingly the center of attention, is a wanted man this time of year, his visage more recognizable than the face on a wanted poster.
His name is Kris Kringle, aka Santa Claus, and his crew worked better on this Saturday than the bearded man's famed helpers from the North Pole.
The men and women were actually from L.A. (Lower Alabama) Bikers and the mission was the annual Toys for Tots ride.
More than 50 riders gathered together, escorted by the Atmore Police Department to deliver a little Christmas joy to needy families in the area.
The riders gathered donations from close to home and from as far away as Indiana. In all, 48 children received toys for Christmas Saturday. Each family was given a turkey and the parents even received a little Christmas present, said Pee Wee Powell, one of the event's organizers.
"We had state workers and some people from out of town, and the riders' families also helped," Powell said. "I want to thank the Mayor and city council and the Atmore Police Department for all of their help with this project."
One of those folks from out of town was nine-year-old Coty Edwards of Lebanon, In. Edwards got the idea to help Atmore after hearing so much about the damage the city received from Hurricane Ivan. He took the idea to his church and the church members gathered numerous toys which were then sent to Atmore as part of the Toys for Tots effort.
Edwards sent a simple letter to Glenn Carlee, public safety director and one of the organizers of the ride. He asked simply, "Would you please take these toys to someone who needs them?"
We're happy to report the toys made it to their intended destination.