By Kara Witherow, Editor
It was more rumbling and revving than prancing and pawing when a group of Macon-area bikers played Santa and delivered Christmas gifts to Wesley Glen Ministries’ residents.
And instead of reindeer, the group rode in on Harley-Davidsons, Hondas, and Indian Motorcycles.
“You could hear (the bikes) before you could see them!” said Dr. Tyler Plaxico, president and CEO of Wesley Glen Ministries. Located in Macon, Wesley Glen is an agency of the South Georgia Conference dedicated to serving adults with developmental disabilities.
On Saturday, Dec. 12, the BYKR BROZ Christmas Run brought about 75 bikers together to ride from Warner Robins to Wesley Glen’s Macon campus. Once there, they slowly paraded through campus three times, honking, cheering, and waving, before stopping at each of the seven residential cottages to meet residents and deliver Christmas gifts.
They handed out Amazon Kindles, clothing, games, music compact discs, purses, and more. The residents received most or all of what was on their wish lists.
“(Our residents) were so incredibly grateful,” Dr. Plaxico said. “They love motorcycles and they were overwhelmed with gratitude and joy by all the gifts. Seeing their excitement brought tears to our eyes.”
With their big motorcycles and black vests, the BYKR BROZ, a social and recreational motorcycle club based in Warner Robins, may look tough, but their hearts are soft.
“We try to do a lot of benefits. We have a large group and we look for causes to support,” said BYKR BROZ President Tim “HARDROCK” Harvey. “We just have a lot of folks who care.”
Supporting the community is in the club’s DNA, Harvey said, and when they learned of Wesley Glen and its mission, they wanted to help.
“We heard about Wesley Glen from one of our individuals who has a daughter with special needs. They were talking about what a neat place it is,” he said.
Because of the global coronavirus pandemic, Wesley Glen’s residents have been under shelter-in-place orders since March. Their ability to see family members, socialize, attend worship services, and participate in recreational activities has been severely impacted. Wesley Glen’s day program, which serves 45 participants, had to be suspended for eight months. Safely bringing groups to campus helps show Wesley Glen’s residents they are loved, cared for, and remembered, Dr. Plaxico said.
“In a year like the one we’ve had, it’s so good and almost crucially important to see the innate goodness in human beings and how people can come together and benefit and bless those they have never met,” Dr. Plaxico said. “(The BYKR BROZ) wanted our residents to know that they are thought about, that they matter. It was huge. For a group who has not been able to go out into the community, it was great for the community to come to them.”
For Harvey and the BYKR BROZ, the Wesley Glen Christmas Run was a fun, special day to spread some Christmas cheer.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and this was probably one of the best events I’ve been a part of. The excitement was contagious. It was awesome and we loved it.”
The BYKR BROZ visit was a true Christmas gift for the Wesley Glen residents, said Dr. Plaxico.
“It warms your heart to see a bunch of road-hardened bikers tearing up and excited about what we do,” he said. “They have the softest hearts and are incredibly kind people. They were the embodiment of the Christian spirit rolling around on motorcycles.”