Riders come to aid of needy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2005

For the Western Tidewater Service Board’s roughly 2,000 consumers (those helped by the Board, usually mentally or physically disabled), Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year.

Many of those served have to live on $570 a month, Virginia’s allowed disability allowance. With food, medicine and rent already taking away from their monthly expenses, consumers’ heating bills are expected to rise in the coming months.

Fortunately, Saturday morning, a few dozen motorcyclists from around the area gave the consumers a little extra help. They hopped on their two-wheelers (some of which extended to four wheels, sidecar included) and spun around southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina in the Board’s second annual Riding the Road to Recovery event. The 76-mile trek added roughly $2,000 to the Board’s Consumer Fund, which is used to give the consumers a break if needed.

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&uot;The ride was nice,&uot; said Bill Buckhannon, who drove his Yamaha Roadster through the route, which roared down Godwin Boulevard and Little Fork Road, to Carolina Road, eventually finding a way back to Main Street, Pitchkettle Road and back to the Tidewater House. &uot;It was an easy ride down the back country roads, with lots of nice forest scenery.&uot;

It was Kyle Gilbertson’s rookie run.

&uot;It was something to do,&uot; said the Lakeland graduate and proud rider of a Yamaha Chopper. &uot;It was long, but it was nice. I saw a lot of land.&uot;

After the ride, the participants hung out at the House, where dancing contests, silent auctions and lunch were held. Mental Health Rehab director April Knight gave out plates of food.

&uot;We call (the riders) our angels,&uot; she said, &uot;but they’re not Hell’s Angels!&uot;