MELLENVILLE — Over 120 bikers and riders revved up their engines for a motorcycle ride benefiting Coarc on Sunday.
The ride started at the Plaza Diner in Hudson and ended at Claverack Town Park in Mellenville.
When Coarc representatives first reached out to the Columbia County chapter of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education three years ago to do a ride, its treasurer mentioned how people have stereotypes of both bikers and people with special needs, Coarc community and employment coordinator Danielle Palleschi said.
“He said, ‘We share this common thread,’ and that’s kind of how the conversation started,” Palleschi said. “They’ve just been phenomenal.”
The chapter was happy to help with the fundraising efforts to help the people Coarc serves, chapter president John Boice said. The bikers were joined by four Coarc residents on the ride, who love seeing chapter members riding through the county.
“Wherever we go, we see them,” Boice said. “Sometimes they’ll run right out in front of a car to come over and see us.”
Along the bikers’ journey they made two stops where they received about $400 in donations for Coarc, Boice said, adding the organizers have no specific fundraising goal.
“They [Coarc representatives] tell us what they want and we just help them out in any way we can,” he said.
Fellow motorcycle charitable organization East Coast Riders participated in the run and its president, Marc Martino, said he was touched by a homemade poster he recently received made by a Coarc resident.
“It’s nice that they appreciate that stuff,” Martino said.
The two motorcycle organizations raise money throughout the year for abused animals, hospice care patients and Tim’s Run, a charity that brings toys to less fortunate children, Boice said.
“They ride the bikes and they’ve got Santa Claus. It doesn’t matter how cold it is, they do it,” Boice said. “We do a lot for the community, both ABATE and East Coast Riders.”
Local businesses and larger companies such as Stewart’s Shops and PepsiCo Inc. help to sponsor the ride, Palleschi said, adding the Coarc board provides assistance, too.
“The community outpouring of support for this event is great,” Palleschi said.
Garre Coon, of Ghent, participated in last year’s ride and was eager to come again, he said, adding the food is a highlight for him.
“I can’t wait to eat because it’s so good,” Coon said. “I absolutely love it.”
Julian Caprni, of Chatham, has participated in the event since its inception and was happy with Sunday’s turnout. He initially heard about the ride through word of mouth.
“It’s a good cause and a good group of people,” Caprni said.
During the post-ride activities at the Claverack Town Park, Coarc Employment Trainer Gina Marcou was invited up to the stage by Palleschi where she spoke about the generosity of bikers.
“I love my biker family,” Marcou said. “If you ever need support, call on a biker. They will never turn you away.”
To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.