By Sarah Stephens
Photos by Bob Ealum
For several months, the Regulators motorcycle organization has been planning their Blue Santa Poker Run to benefit the Operation Blue Santa Christmas event hosted by the Millbrook Police Department each December.
Last Saturday all of their hard work came together, as hundreds of bikers gathered at the Harley-Davidson shop in Montgomery for final registration for the Poker Run. At 1 p.m. it was kickstands up, with the bikers filing out of the parking lot and eventually to I-65, led by Millbrook Police Officers.
Their stops throughout morning and afternoon included the Thirsty Turtle in Millbrook, Big Star Tavern and Adrienne's Downtown Bar in Prattville, and ending the day at the Coosa River Craft House in Wetumpka.
The final total for the amount of money raised is still being tallied, but it is expected to make this years Operation Blue Santa event the biggest and best ever.
"This is our fourth year to host Blue Santa, and it was an idea that was first brought to me by Lt. Don Pugh," Chief P.K. Johnson, with the Millbrook Police Department said. "I have had to eat my words, because when the idea was first brought up I really didn't think we would be able to pull it off. We did. But we certainly could never have done it this long alone."
Johnson first came to the Millbrook Police Department in 1996 as an officer. Each year he said there has always been groups of officers and staff who would pool money and help families around the holidays. However, Lt. Don Pugh had a bigger thought in mind, and that thought has become a reality.
Johnson said each year businesses, churches and individuals have stepped forward with donations of toys, gift cards and cash. His staff and the committee for Operation Blue Santa event takes applications, sorts through them, and tries to narrow them down to those with a genuine need. A lot of the narrowing down is based on funds available each year.
"This really is Christmas in July, and I am so proud of the Regulators and everyone that participated today," Johnson said. "I thank all of the businesses that allowed for the stops. We are so blessed and so appreciative. I mean that from the bottom of my heart."
River Region News
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