Motorcycle Penny Run supports Community Living Manitoulin

Keith Noble, right, was obviously delighted to be provided a ride by a one of the many motorcyclists at the Pennies from Heaven ride.

MINDEMOYA—The 26th annual Pennies from Heaven celebration was held this past Saturday at the Timberlane Lodge in Big Lake. The event not only provides the opportunity for members of the Brothers of the Blade and Brothers of the Wheel Motorcycle Clubs the opportunity to present donations to Community Living Manitoulin (CLM) and Community Living Espanola (CLE), but it allows the motorcyclists and CLM-CLE clients to have a fantastic day of fun. For anyone who has attended one of these celebrations it is the smiles of everyone that you will remember.

“Hope you had fun, man!” stated one of the motorcyclists after helping a client of CLM off a motorcycle as part of the ride each client was provided.

“This is priceless for the clients-the excitement in their faces and our’s (motorcyclists),” stated motorcyclist Mario.

“This is my fifth year attending this event,” said another biker. “It gives me goose bumps, it is so exciting to be here and see the smiles on everyone’s face.”

Bruce Arrowsmith, who helped to spearhead the annual event, welcomed everyone last Saturday. “Thanks for coming to our 26th annual Pennies From Heaven celebration.” He pointed out, “a couple of the clients, Linda and Ray,  have been here every year.”

“I want to thank my brothers from Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio, we couldn’t do this without you,” stated Mr. Arrowsmith.

Mr. Arrowsmith provided a history lesson of the event to the many people in attendance. “This year marks the 26th anniversary of the Penny Run. The run actually started the year before, when three of us made the trip up to my parents’ house. My sister (Arliss) was handicapped and was living at the Hope Farm. Parents and other parents on the Island had started the Working in Support of the Handicapped (WISH) group, to provide for things the  government would  not provide funds for. It was extremely touching to see what my parents and the other parents were trying to do.”

“Wayne Conner and Wally Lohti were with me on the trip up to Sheguiandah,” said Mr. Arrowsmith. Unbeknownst to him, his two friends had started up a penny collection in southern Ontario and “Wally brought my parents 44 pounds of pennies, leaving the money with the note, “Pennies From Heaven.”

Mr. Arrowsmith said the group holds a similar event in southern Ontario. “And we hold fundraisers throughout the year, and put on this party every year to do what we can to help.” He pointed out that, “we have collected between $450,000-$500,000 over the years that we have donated to help.”

“And this year, like every year, we ask (CLM) and (CLE) to provide a wish list of items that they can’t afford or the government won’t help them purchase,” continued Mr. Arrowsmith.

The CLM list included a new vacuum for Renie’s place as well as couches and chairs for all the clients residences.

Tammie Molenaar, executive director of CLM said, “we want to thank every one of you. You are so generous to our agency and the support you provide for our clients.”

The CLE had requested funding for a new gazebo for its clients home, as there is currently no where for clients of the group home to sit. The members provided a total of $3,200 in funding for this as well as for the clients to participate in the winter bowling league.

“It is because of all of you that we have this great time every year,” said a CLE client. “Keep up the good work. God Bless.”

“I would like to thank all the Brothers of the Blade and Brothers of the Wheel and their ladies for all the hard work you put in during the year,” said Mr. Arrowsmith.

During the day, along with the rides on their motorcycles that the Brothers provide to both the CLM and CLE clients, the clients took part in other games such as the egg race, weenie bite and tater hunt. ”We would like to thank Timberlane Lodge who do such a great job here for us. They put on an awesome spread for lunch,” stated Mr. Arrowsmith. “It has been a great year, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event.”