‘It feels great to give,’ says biker who started Toy Run

Asgard Toy Run gathers gifts for Coast children

Bikers celebrate 32 years of fellowship and gift giving on Mississippi Gulf Coast.
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Bikers celebrate 32 years of fellowship and gift giving on Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Wild Child, age 8, is perched with a stuffed Tigger on the back of a Harley Davidson driven by his grandfather, known as Recall.

Wild Child happens to be Greggory Harrington’s “road name.” He’s participated every year of his life in the Asgard Motorcycle Club’s annual Toy Run to benefit underprivileged children. Grandfather Chris Walsh, club president for two years, said the Toy Run, in its 32nd year, has taught his grandson a good lesson.

“Christmas is not about getting presents,” Walsh said. “It’s about giving and being a good citizen.”

When Greggory goes shopping around the holidays, he’s always on the lookout for presents other children might like.

Asgard promotes its Toy Run each year in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Motorcyle clubs converge at two points, one in Gulfport and the other in Gautier, to meet up at Home Depot in Biloxi, where they load an 18-wheeler with toys and deliver them en masse to the Knights of Columbus hall on Water Street in Biloxi. The toys are distributed through Catholic Charities and other groups.

PF3 Logistics donated the truck, which has a 53-foot trailer this year, while Design Precast & Pipe donated bicycles. Both Gulfport companies are owned by Pat Fore.

“It’s a good charity to help children,” said Fore, who watched from the sidelines as sunlight glinted off hundreds of motorcycles parked at Home Depot on Sunday morning. “We’ve got to give back. Life’s been good to me.”

Bikers milled about in their signature leather, sporting patches from a variety of clubs, including the South Side Rydaz of Biloxi, the Pistoleros of Mississippi, the Bandidos out of Mobile and The Fugarwe Tribe of New Orleans.

The Toy Run started with about 30 bikes, said Alfred Stepputat, an Asgard whose road name is Smokey.

“It’s amazing,” said Stepputat, who heard about a similar fundraiser in California and started the Toy Run here. “It’s grown. Everyone just gets into the holiday spirit and enjoys the festivities and the ride. It feels great to give.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99