A toy is strapped to a motorcycle as Quincy Washington of Chicago gathers with the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Indiana for the sixth annual Toys for Tots Ride from the 529 Club in Gary, Ind., on Oct. 6, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 16, 2012 6:08AM
The sixth annual Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club Toys for Tots Ride recently started at the 529 Club on East 5th Avenue in Gary.
Sixty bikers from the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Buffalo Troopers Motorcycle Club, 219 Riderz, XX Cel, Cobras and more were joined by 10 members of the Northwest Indiana Corvette Club. They were escorted by Gary Police Department and Indiana State Police motorcycle units to the Church of God In Christ on West 9th Avenue.
The Buffalo Soldiers, Indiana Mother chapter, hosted the ride. Before the event, participants gathered inside the former restaurant to get warm and enjoy donuts and coffee while networking.
Terry Hollis of Gary is a member of a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Hammond. He saw some fliers there about the Toys for Tots ride and wanted to join.
“I brought some toys along,” he said. “This is the best thing we can do ... make Christmas happy for children who may not receive any presents because their mom and dad can’t afford to buy them.”
Northwest Indiana Corvette Club member Ralph Clark said this was the club’s first time doing the ride.
“We were invited by the Buffalo Soldiers this year, so some of us brought out the Corvettes and put new toys inside,” Clark said. “It’s a great feeling to do something for the community. We’ve always done things in and for the community; this is just something extra.”
Frederick “Pony” Smith of Gary joined the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club two years ago.
“It feels good to give back and help out needy families and children,” Smith said. “The only reason I joined the Buffalo Soldiers is because they are a family and we do things for each other and the community.”
Quincy “Sir Q” Washington of Chicago is vice president of the Buffalo Troopers Chicago chapter and is an Army veteran. He said when he is not deployed, he participates in the Toys for Tots Bike Ride and other activities.
“With Toys for Tots, you have kids and families dealing with this (bad) economy and … people are struggling, so donating toys so the children can have something is what we are about,” Washington said.