WATCH: A massive rumble roared through the Alberni Valley Saturday to the cheers of children lined along the roadside. 700 motorcyclists took part in the 34th Annual Port Alberni Toy Run carrying toys for needy families and their efforts will make a lot of happy faces on Christmas morning. Skye Ryan reports.
Tom Wall wouldn’t have missed this ride for the world. With 31 Port Alberni Toy Runs under his belt now, neither age nor aches were about to keep him from this one.
“Until I can’t ride no more,” said the motorcyclist.
“And I’m 70 years old now and I hope another 10 years at least,” said Wall.
Riders say it is an adrenaline and tear-inducing experience, being part of this annual event.
One that shuts down traffic in Alberni and stirs up goodwill between strangers and recipients who are lined along the roadway to welcome them. Some, whose children have long ago grown up.
“And I come every year I don’t miss it,” said Alberni resident Mary Brawn.
“It tugs at your heart that you know you can help,” said Tom Wall.
700 motorcyclists converged on the west coast community that’s seen its share of economic woes. All bringing toys and donations for families in need, as part of the largest motorcycle rally on Vancouver Island.
Riders say bringing all the toys into town is a lot like Christmas coming early for them too. As the spirit of giving rubs them free of their tough guy exteriors for a while and turns them into softies packing stuffs.
“It’s the best feeling to come into Port Alberni,” said Port Alberni Toy Run Chairman David Wiwchar.
“People are lining the streets and saying thank-you to all the riders who show up and donate tens of thousands of dollars every year and it’s really appreciated by that community and the riders love that too,” said Wiwchar.
“It’s changing lots of children’s lives what we do here,” said Tom Wall.
So come Christmas Tom Wall and fellow riders will all share a smile in their homes around B.C. and beyond. Knowing what they did together on this day in September will make that one big December morning one to remember.