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Canajoharie, NY ,

Linda Kellett - Area motorcyclists pause as Father Dennis Murphy, of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Canajoharie, Fort Plain and St. Johnsville, offers a blessing prior to the start of Jim’s Irish Harbor’s fourth annual memorial toy run to Prattsville on Saturday.

Linda Kellett - Jim Blair, owner of Jim’s Irish Harbor and the organizer of the toy run, acknowledges the collection of toys donated by members of the Canajoharie Fire Department Saturday. Making the delivery were Suzanne Wells, president of the Canajoharie Volunteer Firefighters Inc., and Brian Montanye, department captain.

Linda Kellett - Mark and April Timmerman of Canajoharie admire this Harley trike.

Linda Kellett - George and Rose Frasier of Palatine Bridge await the start of the annual memorial toy run to Prattsville on Saturday.


4th annual memorial motorcycle run delivers toys to flood victims

Thursday, September 20, 2012 - Updated: 9:30 AM


C-S-E News Staff

CANAJOHARIE — Around 90 motorcyclists with soft spots in their hearts revved up their engines and rolled en masse to Prattsville during the fourth annual memorial toy run, dedicated to the memory of fallen friends and sponsored by Jim’s Irish Harbor on Saturday.

Theirs was a thunderous departure from the village, and the tumultuousness of the event wasn’t lost on its participants.

“It’s a lot of noise,” said Mohawk resident John Stegich. “It’s one of the best parts of it, so many [bikers] riding together.”

He said he keeps his “space” in mind, though, so that people who “only ride in events like this” don’t ride into him.

Stegich was one of many area residents turning out for the ride benefitting the Greene County flood victims.

Among those donating toys to the cause were members of the Canajoharie Fire Department, who delivered their collection of children’s gifts by fire truck prior to the start of the run.

Suzanne Wells, president of Canajoharie Volunteer Firefighters Inc., said she and other members of the department thought it would be nice to help Blair with his benefit.

“We were fortunate with Irene, and Prattsville was devastated. We always ask the community for assistance. This is our way of giving back,” she said.

Town of Root resident Owen Fuhs, a sergeant with the Amsterdam Police Department, said he’s been riding motorcycles since he was about 9 years old. He was taking part in the run, he said, because riding with so many riders is “the best.”

Additionally, he said it’s one of the safest ways to ride, and it affords one the opportunity to meet new people.

It’s also a good cause, he said.

While he didn’t have a motorcycle, Father Dennis Murphy of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Canajoharie, Fort Plain and St. Johnsville was also present at the start of the event.

He said he was asked by Blair to offer a blessing for the riders and their bikes.

He said it was the first time he’d ever done such a blessing.

When asked about it, Blair joked, “We decided to do something different. I need all the help I can get.”

The procession was led by a 1959 Mack truck owned and restored by Canajoharie resident Mathew Stegich. He said, “Jim asked for a favor. He wanted a leader to keep everybody in line,” he quipped.

During his blessing, Murphy made similar allusions.

Quoting from scripture, he noted that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. “Jesus said I’m the roadway,” he noted. “You travel with me, and you’ll come to the fullness of your lives.”

Murphy also noted Jesus loved children: “You will be doing what God has asked, bringing love, kindness and care to these little children.”


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