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Motorcycle run to benefit Hospice scheduled for July 26 in Norfolk


POTSDAM - A benefit motorcycle run that has raised $63,397 in 15 years for the Hospice and Palliative Care of the St. Lawrence Valley will be hitting the road again on July 26 from the Norwood American Legion.

Organizers Roger “Porky” Willmart, his wife Linda and family members and friends are hoping to add to the total during this year’s run, which is always held on the last Saturday of July. The 2012 ride raised $5,700 and last year’s effort raised $8,325.

“The weather was good,” Mr. Willmart said.

The weather is a determining factor in how well they do on their 100-plus-mile ride around the county, he said. They’ve had as many as 312 riders participating in the benefit ride. The run is held rain or shine.

“I think that’s one of the reasons I get a good crew - if the weather’s good,” Mr. Willmart said.

What helped boost the 2013 totals was a $2,000 donation from a man who had always donated, but whose wife had passed away two weeks before the run.

“He came up to us right in the middle of everything and gave my wife a check for $2,000,” he said.

This year’s ride, which is between 100 and 110 miles, will start at the Norwood American Legion and head to the Skunk’s Nest in Hermon before traveling to Dekalb and then the Madrid Hotel. From Madrid, they’ll ride along Route 310 to Route 56, head toward Massena and then on to Waddington, where they’ll stop at JC’s River Run Bar and Grill in Waddington.

“He’s right in the middle of everything. It’s a perfect place. It’s so easy to get to,” Mr. Willmart said.

Riders will then head back to Madrid and eventually wrap up back at the Norwood American Legion, where they’ll enjoy a roast beef dinner.

The cost for the ride is $20 for a motorcycle rider and passenger.

“I had $15 for the motorcycle rider and $5 for the passenger. With $20 I don’t care if you’ve got three riders on the back,” he said.

The cost for dinner alone is $10. Among the day’s activities in addition to the ride are raffles that will be held at each stop and a 50-50 poker hand.

“We’ve got a lot of gifts so far. All I have to do is ask and I’ve got so many people who help us,” Mr. Willmart said.

The benefit motorcycle run is Mr. Willmart’s way of paying back Hospice for the care they provided to his mother and father, as he says they’ve done for so many other people, too. But he never intended for it to last 15 years.

“I thought it was a two-year deal or a one-year deal. I just wanted to do something for them,” he said.

But the ride has continued, and every year Mr. Willmart digs out his paperwork and plans for another year of fundraising.

“I open this big book I’ve got and I go right from there. I try to keep track of everything,” he said.

For more information on this year’s ride, contact Roger or Linda at 265-5725.

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