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Motorcycle clubs boost Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes
Sheriff Jimmie McDuffie
Sheriffs Noel Brown (front row, from left), Jimmy McDuffie and John Wilcher hold a ceremonial check presented to them at the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 4. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Three Georgia sheriffs recently received a special and much-appreciated delivery.

ABATE of Georgia and the Wingmen Motorcycle Club of Savannah made a $6,000 donation that Jimmy McDuffie (Effingham County), Noel Brown (Bulloch County) and John Wilcher (Chatham County) will forward to Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes, which provides a safe, loving environment for abused, abandoned and neglected children. The money was collected during the 31st Savannah Toy Run.

Several members of ABATE (American Bikers Active Toward Education) and the Wingmen of Savannah were on hand for the occasion. They arrived on a variety of powerful two-wheeled vehicles.

“We pride ourselves on raising money for different causes,” ABATE District 11 Activities Director Susan Ragland said during the Jan. 4 check presentation. “If somebody needs a handicapped rail put up on their porch or something, bikers are always out to help people. We are not gangs.”

Ragland said the donation consisted of leftover funds from the Savannah Toy Run, which is also sponsored by Savannah Harley-Davidson and the Christian Motorcycle Association. More than $2,000 of toys were donated to the patients of a Savannah children’s hospital.

“We delivered those about a week and a half ago,” Ragland said. “It was awesome to see their faces. It touches your heart.”

McDuffie expressed gratitude for the contribution for Georgia Sheriff Youth Homes. It has provided quality care for hundreds of children for more than 60 years.

“These are all needy kids,” he said. “We try to provide for them and give them a good education, a good opportunity to go college, to get a job and all afterward. It takes a lot of money to do that.”

Educational support is offered in the form of daily tutoring, research training at the library, summer learning programs, college and vocational school scholarship options and more.

In addition, children in the program contribute to the home environment while learning to cook and clean, as well as money management — all practical skills they will need to live productive and responsible lives.

Children are also involved in extra-curricular activities in school and the community such as outdoor adventures, including camping, attending professional sporting events, movies, and other structured programs and field trips.

“We really appreciate (ABATE and Wingmen of Savannah) doing this,” McDuffie said.