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Northeast Passages: August, 2017

By Loretta Jackson

Good work, here. The Blue Knights New Jersey Chapter IX hosted on Wednesday, June 21, at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, its Gooch’s Garlic Run. The 30th anniversary event was founded by member Al “Gooch” Monaco. The ride benefits kids with devastating illnesses or injuries. The beneficiaries this year included locals Hailey Rose Inserra, 11; Freddie Guzman, 12; and Teddy Dovel, 12. More than 800 bikers left the mall and rode Route 80 toward the Ironbound community of Newark. Multicultural restaurants are plentiful there and event organizers added music and vendors for the enjoyment of the crowd. A recap by writer Sophie Nieto-Nunoz, updated for NJ.com on June 22 noted that last year’s event raised around $60,000. I talked on the phone before the ride with Keith Hyche, road lieutenant for the chapter. “It’s all for the kids,” Hyche said. “Very little overhead is involved and many vendors donate everything they earn.” Unfortunately, young Teddy Dovel passed away in early June, succumbing to Cockayne syndrome, a rare disease that causes rapid, premature aging. His portion of the donations, his mother said to the writer, will be used by his family for final expenses and to pay medical bills. Information: bknjix.org… Elsewhere, I’m hoping the emphasis on motorcycle safety, so often reinforced in May through numerous public awareness messages, has become second nature to everyone on two wheels or four or 18. May brought heavy doses of publicity across the nation for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. A news flash in the Baltimore Times-Online on Friday, May 5, noted that the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) and the Washington County Chapter of ABATE of Maryland joined together in the effort to reduce motorcycle crashes by spreading the word to ride safe. It was ABATE’s Gary “Pappy” Boward who said there, “Drivers must park the phone before they drive and look twice when making turns or changing lanes.” I agree. Park the phone! And the GPS. And the iPad. And anything else that can get us killed or creamed… Can’t verify so won’t swear but is it possible that 900,000 attended Rolling Thunder XXX, held May 25–28 in Washington, D.C.? The patriotic recognition of POW-MIAs from all wars began on Friday with a Blessing of the Bikes at Washington National Cathedral. The opening event was noted by WMAU’s Ally Schweitzer online on May 26. She commended Lee Stalsworth, a Woodbridge, New Jersey, Rolling Thunder volunteer, Brenda Einhorn, board chairman for Rolling Thunder New Jersey Chapter 2, and Charlie Webster, vice president of the chapter for their help. I bless every volunteer and participant… Finally, hats off to members of the American Veterans Motorcycle Club and other bikers who heard about a 7-year-old Pittsburgh girl whose mom said on video, via Facebook, that the girl was bullied, threatened, knocked off her bike and tormented for a year by an 11-year-old boy, a neighbor. The post was called, “Justice for Ashley.” In the video, little girl shyly pleaded, “Please stop bullying.” Club members and other bikers soon arrived at her house in a show of support, like a bunch of protective uncles. The video was aired Wednesday, May 3, on Star Pittsburgh. The bully’s mom basically said, “Not my boy!”… That’s all for now, friends. See you down the road.

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