American Legion Riders donate Toy Run proceeds for Tots

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Pratt American Post 86 Legion Riders and Legionnaires celebrated their successful Toys for Tots fundraising motorcycle run with a $600 donation presented Thursday, September 17, at Comfort Suites on State Road 61 in Pratt. Pictured, front, from left:  Pratt American Legion Riders Post 86 Road Captain Rick Wittig and Toys for Tots Coordinator Jason Leslie; back, Lois Ann O’Neal, Floyd O’Neal, Mike Schmidt, Mark Graber, Kristi Leslie, Autumn Wittig and Charmayne Callaway.

Pratt American Post 86 Legion Riders and Legionnaires gave Santa a $600 boost for Toys for Tots 2020 Christmas giving as they put the fun in fundraising on Saturday, September 5, with a 156-mile motorcycle run originating in Pratt with stops at Preston, Zenda, Medicine Lodge and Sun City.

“It was better than any run we’ve ever had,” said Pratt American Legion Riders Road Captain Rick Wittig.

Forty riders participated, Wittig said, including five police officers from Great Bend, plus riders from Sterling, Kingman and Medicine Lodge. There were also nine companion riders.

Participants had the option of adding to the fundraising efforts through the purchase of a $15 commemorative tee-shirt emblazoned on the back with big block letters “ESSENTIAL RIDER.”

Wittig said a silent auction, which included a .22-caliber pistol, also added to donation proceeds with 50 percent of the auction proceeds going to Toys for Tots.

Wittig presented the check to Toys for Tots Coordinator Jason Leslie at a joint American Legion-Toys for Tots celebration Thursday evening, September 17, at Comfort Suites on State Road 61.

Wittig said the Legion Riders have donated a total of $7,600 to Toys for Tots since 2005 when the first Pratt Legion Riders motorcycle run to support Toys for Tots was organized by the late Larry Melson.

“In past years we’ve donated $500, but this year we take pride that we were able to increase our support to $600,” Wittig said.

“We’re grateful to receive the donation from Prat and we’ll be putting that to good use to buy toys for our kids here”, said Toys for Tots Coordinator Jason Leslie. “It’s a great kickoff to our fundraising campaign which starts Oct. 1.”

Last year Toys for Tots provided over 3,700 toys, not including stocking stuffers, to almost 400 children, said Leslie, expressing appreciation to assistant coordinators Mike Schmidt and Scott Smith.

An official donation of funds took place last Thursday at Comfort Suites on State Road 61 in Pratt.