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Bikers to make deliveries for Santa Claus

By Tammy Malgesini

Staff Writer

Published on November 28, 2017 6:21PM

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI
A group of bikers line up for a past Echo Toy Run. In its 14th year, participants will gather Saturday in downtown Echo to deliver toys to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI A group of bikers line up for a past Echo Toy Run. In its 14th year, participants will gather Saturday in downtown Echo to deliver toys to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston.

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STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI
Participants place gifts in bins at Good Shepherd Medical Center during a past Echo Toy Run. In its 14th year, the group will gather Saturday in downtown Echo to deliver toys to the hospital in Hermiston.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI Participants place gifts in bins at Good Shepherd Medical Center during a past Echo Toy Run. In its 14th year, the group will gather Saturday in downtown Echo to deliver toys to the hospital in Hermiston.

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STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI
Al Sells leads the pack during a past Echo Toy Run. The group meets Saturday in downtown Echo to deliver toys to Good Shepherd Medical Center for the 14th annual event.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI Al Sells leads the pack during a past Echo Toy Run. The group meets Saturday in downtown Echo to deliver toys to Good Shepherd Medical Center for the 14th annual event.

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The deafening roar of motorcycle engines will rumble in downtown Echo this weekend as participants gear up for the Echo Toy Run.

Organizer Al Sells hopes people will pick up a few toys or gifts for the 14th annual event. Anyone who wants to participate is invited to bring a new unwrapped toy.

The group will gather Saturday morning on Echo’s Main Street. Kickstands are up at noon for the ride into Hermiston to deliver toys to Good Shepherd Medical Center.

A 2004 Harley Wide Glide serves as Santa’s sleigh for Sells. The Hermiston man has been busy giving it a tune up in preparation for the annual run. In addition to leading the pack, Sells always straps a stuffed animal to the front of his bike.

“I’ve always taken teddy bears to the runs,” he said. “They are good for a boy or a girl.”

Sells said last year’s event attracted about 100 participants. Even during years when Mother Nature hasn’t cooperated, he said a number of participants are still eager and excited to make the special delivery. Neither rain, snow, sleet or hail, Sells said, will prevent Santa’s leather-clad ambassadors from completing their journey.

The former owners of the Echo Saloon started the event to help brighten the spirits of sick kids during the holiday season. Sells continues to coordinate the annual tradition as a way to give back to the community.

“It seems like everyone enjoys it,” he said. “And I enjoy getting to see everyone before Christmas.”

As the effort has revved up, it has expanded well beyond the holiday season. Nick Bejarano, director of marketing and communications at Good Shepherd, said hospital staff can give toys to children throughout the year. The gifts often help in reducing anxiety during hospital visits.

Those who don’t ride a motorcycle can bring toys prior to the noon departure or take up the rear of the pack as the group rides into Hermiston. Also, toys can be dropped off at the hospital administrative offices, 610 N.W. 11th St.

For more information, call Sells at 541-571-1820 or Bejarano at 541-667-3460.





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