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Toy run successful

Tops turnout of last year

POSTED: November 27, 2013 4:00 a.m.
David Renner Dawson Community News/

Santa Claus Don Parkinson headed up the 22nd Annual Buck Jones Memorial Toy Run on Sunday.

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Despite the brisk weather, motorcyclists filled the parking lot of the Dawsonville Municipal Complex on Sunday during the 22nd Annual Buck Jones Memorial Toy Run.

The event, organized by Bikers Dream of Atlanta, helps organizations provide Christmas presents for children in need. Riders brought at least three unwrapped toys, one for each stop along the ride - Cumming, Dawsonville and Dahlonega.

Jones, a former Cumming police chief who also worked for the Dawson County Sheriff's Office, started the toy drive after seeing a lack of charities helping families with presents at Christmas. Jones died in 2010 at age 70, but the toy run has continued in his memory.

Riders set out from the Cumming Fairgrounds on Castleberry Road and stopped first in Dawsonville, where lunch was provided by the Dawsonville Pool Room. They then continued on to Lumpkin County High School.

The toys collected in Dawson County went to K.A.R.E. for Kids, which provides Christmas presents to children in need.

"We just want to thank everyone who donated ... this year," said Calvin Byrd, the organization's president. "This is going to help so many kids and make them happy for Christmas."

Don Parkinson, owner of Bikers Dream, described the run as "very successful."

"We had about 240 or so [motorcyclists] leave Cumming with us, but we picked some up along the way," he said.

Parkinson added that the procession ended up with 230 motorcycles, totaling more than 320 riders and passengers.

According to Jones' wife, Treva Neal, the ride's continued success is due in part to Parkinson.

"When Buck got sick, Don was always helping. He asked Don and he said yes," she said. "Buck's been gone three years now, but Don has just done an excellent job. It's wonderful to see such a good crowd of bikers."

Betsy Barnes of Gainesville enjoyed the event.

"I got started with the group [of motorcyclists] that I ride with," she said. "I think it's a great group. It's a fun ride for a great cause."

 

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