Goodbye to 2020, let’s look forward to 2021!
Happy New Year to all our members. Let’s look forward, and hope 2021 returns us to some sense of normalcy!
Even with the challenges of COVID restrictions, the Chapter was able to execute over 30 Chapter rides, which were well attended on a weekly basis.
Some rides were more memorable than others, like the “Traffic Ride” to Storm King Mountain. Although, no matter which way the route turned, traffic was abound, but the frustration and comments made during the ride, made it a classic. Then there was John Mancuso’s first ride on a Boat (Ferry)…..Classic!
In the closing month of the year, the chapter added three new Road Captains, in order to manage the rides, which have become progressively larger, with our expanded Membership. Welcome aboard, Ray Palata, Larry Ashley, and Dave Werkmeister. Looking forward to working with you all.
With Ray Palata, moving to a Road Captain position, John Mancuso, stepped up to take the Sergeant of Arms position as well as Membership Officer. John will be addressing the membership issues, such as dues, and active National HOG memberships. John will also be the “Go To” guy for our Tee Shirts, and Sweatshirts, so if you need Chapter attire, please see John. Good luck John, in your new position, we know you will do a great job.
Also at the end of this year, Assistant Director Paul Pizzuto, with the help of Chapter Manager Pete Schappert, secured our new meeting hall, that being the Medford VFW Hall. Unfortunately, and with good reason, we outgrew our original meeting place the Blue Goose, in Patchogue. With this new Meeting location, we will be able to accommodate the entire Chapter at our Monthly meetings. The VFW has given us permission to use this Hall, free of charge, with the only one stipulation. The Commander requests that we participate in two (2) of their parades each year. Damn, good deal, if you ask me. After our meetings, please feel free to donate a few dollars to the hall. There is a box on the wall, near the entrance doors for that purpose. Every little bit helps our Veterans.
December also marked our Second Annual Ronald McDonald House Holiday Toy Run. Due to COVID, this year was a bit different from last, in that the House, not only requested Toys for the kids, but were in desperate need of cleaning supplies. As usual, OUR Members stepped up to the Challenge, and aside from having almost 300 bikers participate in our ride, we raised over $8,000.00 in Toys, Gift Cards, Cash and Cleaning supplies. An astronomical donation, which made me speechless. Jennifer Nicholson, the House manager was absolutely ecstatic, with our efforts. She communicated to me, that not only did they distribute gifts to children in the Hospital the next day, after our ride, she will be able to, distribute gifts throughout the year, on holidays, such as Easter, as well as individual Celebrations, such as Birthdays, throughout the year. I want to thank all of my team that helped me organize this event, as well as all of the members of the chapter that volunteered and “Stepped Up” the day of the event! Your efforts made this one of our most successful, events our Chapter has participated in, over our short, but very active existence. The entire Chapter deserves a hand, and I salute you! “THANK YOU!” I look forward to next year and topping our donations going forward!
Now, on to 2021. The Road Captains will be sitting down and begin drafting a Ride calendar. We have a few ideas in mind, and will be sharing with entire group, once we get things hammered out. I know Road Captain Bob Bronzo, has shared with me quite a few off Island Rides, as well as some overnighters, which will be very exciting. We will also be looking to once again have Road Captain, Jack Costa’s ride to the York Plant. Anyone who attended the original ride, will tell you it was an awesome ride, and I for one, are looking forward to going back to York.
Rides to Connecticut, via Ferry will also be scheduled this year. In addition, those who cannot make overnight rides, I will be looking to schedule day rides with the remaining Road Captains that stay behind.
The ride Schedule will of course start with Road Captain Paul Pizzuto’s “First Ride of Season” This ride is a tradition, and I look to continue it, going forward.
Right now, we are having our yearly membership drive at the dealership. Once the new members are “Officially” in Chapter, we will be scheduling a “New Members” ride, in order for the new members to get comfortable with our group riding.
This year, we will also be conducting our Annual ride in honor of our “Original Member” Richie Ortiz. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, this charity ride, in his honor had to be postponed. This year we look to make this ride, one of the biggest and successful in the history of our Chapter. In order to do this, we will need everyone in the Chapter to pitch in and lend a hand, because that is what Richie would do, and there is no better way to honor our brother.
In closing, I want to wish everyone luck in their new positions, and look forward to a great riding season in 2021. This chapter has grown from a handful of original members, to over 70 in a short period of time. It’s awesome to be associated with like-minded individuals, who share a passion for the open road. The best is yet to come, and look forward to our new adventures on the road! Ride safe and enjoy the ride!