Maplewood Resident Helen Thomas
OGDENSBURG -- With 100 bikes and 178 people for registered for dinner, The Ride for the Residents Motorcycle Poker Run raised $6,600 for United Helpers Residents.
“On behalf of the Society of the United Helpers and all those we serve, thank you and great job to everyone who helped make our Third Annual Ride for the Residents Motorcycle Poker Run a success,” said Lori A. Smithers, Development Director.
Residents from the RiverLedge and Maplewood Campus, as well as St. Regis Nursing Home in Massena were encouraged to come outside, take a look at the bikes, and engage in conversations with the drivers and riders. Some residents even reminisced about the days when they rode their own motorcycles.
RiverLedge Resident Jack Miller met his wife Tyke on Oct. 7, 1941. “Our first date, he showed up on a motorcycle,” recalled Mrs. Miller. “I had never been on a motorcycle before and since I was wearing a dress, I had to go and change into pants. Jack told me to just put my arms around him so I did.”
The motorcycle that they rode on for their first date was a 125cc Harley Davison. Mr. Miller bought it for only $350 and still has the bill of sale. In June of 1949, he traded that motorcycle with an additional $300 and purchased a Knucklehead. “I thought she was going to break my ribs on our first date,” Mr. Miller chuckled.
Drusilla Howland used to ride a motorcycle back in the 1970’s and still has her helmet today. Ms. Howland was unable to go on the ride, so she asked RiverLedge Director of Social Services Jeannie McNally if she could be a ‘Phantom Rider’ instead. “Drusilla came up to RiverLedge and asked if I would strap her helmet to the back of my bike so that she could go on the run in spirit,” said Ms. McNally. “I thought that was a great idea.” The ‘Phantom Rider’ and Jeannie McNally did complete the run.
Resident Helen Thomas was excited to watch the motorcycles pull up in front of her home on the Maplewood Campus. She was even more excited when she saw her former neighbor Edna Norton on a motorcycle. Ms. Thomas chatted with Ms. Norton for a while and asked for a ride on her motorcycle. Ms. Norton obliged and toured Ms. Thomas around the parking lot. What a great day to meet up with long time friends for new-found adventures.
A motorcycle enthusiast and an avid watcher of Orange County Choppers, RiverLedge Resident Eugene Jones presented the Residents’ Cup to the owner of his favorite motorcycle. The award went to Mike Wheeler of Morristown, NY, who owns a 2006 Softail Springer. “I used to ride a 1949 Harley Davidson Model 61,” said Mr. Jones. “It had a hand shift, suicide clutch and a kick start. I picked Mr. Wheeler’s bike because it stood out to me. I also really like Harley’s.”
The ride started at the RiverLedge Campus in Ogdensburg and made stops at St. Regis Nursing Home in Massena, The United Helpers Maplewood Campus in Canton, Amvets in Heuvelton and ended with dinner at The Freight House in Ogdensburg. “Events like these truly require a team effort and support from our community to be successful,” said Mrs. Smithers. “Thanks to all our sponsors and participants for their support.”