It’s hard to imagine biker Gregg Brown ever wanted for anything. His tough-looking exterior hides something in his heart that people might not realize: He knows what it’s like to be a kid who received nothing for Christmas.
“I’ve been there before, not getting anything for Christmas,” Brown said. “When a kid gets something for Christmas, it’s just a big surprise, shock and glad.”
More than 100 motorcycle riders paraded through town Sunday as part of the Woodlawn Ramblers Motorcycle Club’s 32nd annual Greenwood Toy Run.
Riders assembled at the Greenwood County Health Department and departed for a journey through Greenwood, ending at Carolina Tavern, where toys were collected by the Department of Social Services. Riders brought a new, unwrapped child’s toy to the event.
“It means more to me because you can give back to the ones that are not as fortunate as we are,” said Brown, who was participating for the 10th year. “It’s for a great cause. It’s a great bunch of guys — brothers and sisters doing a great job to help the children of the world.”
The event is always something special to organizer James Lollis. His father, Bub, started the event. Bub died in 2011.
“It now falls upon our club, the Woodlawn Ramblers Motorcycle Club, to organize and promote this event,” Lollis said. “Lastly, and most importantly, it is so rewarding to know that you can get out on a motorcycle and do good in the community and provide joy for those less fortunate than yourself.”
This ride was organized in 1989 by Bub, who saw a need to assemble and collect toys for needy children in Greenwood County. Other cities in the Upstate were already participating in these types of events that Bub had been supporting, so he met with the Department of Social Services office in Greenwood to start one for his hometown.
Bub was a local legend in the Harley-Davidson community, being the factory dealer in the 1950s on South Main Street in Greenwood, and running a Harley repair and customization shop.
As a member of the Greenwood Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) at the time, Bub and club members organized the first Greenwood Toy Run the third Sunday in November 1989 and set the third Sunday as the official date of the annual event.
Terry Ward said she knows bikers have big hearts.
“There’s no thinking to it,” she said.
Tears welled up in Ward’s eyes as she talked about why she participates.
“It’s about giving Christmas to kids who might not get Christmas,” she said. “I’m an emotional person. It’s the type of people we are. We help those who need help, whether it’s kids for Christmas or families for Christmas.”
DSS determines the families who receive the gifts.