Riding ahead of Santa

Published 3:48 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

Bikers, get your wheels ready for the 11th annual Robert A. Hill Toy Ride. The fundraiser and collection drive is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 28.

Helping to coordinate this year’s event is Courtland police officer Richard Walker, vice president of the State Trooper Robert A. Hill Fraternal Order of Police Lodge. He said the lodge on Main Street in Courtland will be the gathering site with registration starting at 9:30 a.m. and kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. The bikers will have a 90-mile course and meet for the conclusion at Fred’s Restaurant on Main Street in Downtown Franklin. There, said Walker, lunch will be generously provided.

Door prizes and raffles will also be part of the day’s activity, he added.

Last year, over 400 families in need were helped at Christmas time with 1,100 new toys given away. Walker recalled there about 100 people participating then, with 90 of the bikers each bringing new toys as well.

The names of recipients are given by Southampton Social Services and the Franklin Cooperative Ministry, he said.

Both the lodge and toy drive are named for Hill, a native of Courtland who was struck and killed while conducting a traffic stop on Route 58 by the driver of another vehicle.

The late officer “was the kind of guy that he saw a child in need, he would buys toys,” said Walker. “He was famous for buying bicycles and did that numerous times. Hill was a very generous soul. He genuinely cared about the community.”

Hill would also ask fellow officers for toys to donate to local children, and soon after his death, the lodge took up both his name and tradition.

If you want to contribute to the cause, but aren’t able to ride along, come on by anyway and bring your donation of either money or new toys or both. Walker said he’ll be at the lodge as early as 8 a.m.

For details on participating in the ride or the toy drive, contact him at 617-1052 or email walkerra1@live.com.