Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Leon Rook Memorial Christmas Adopt-a-Family Project-Greater KC HOG - Blue Springs, Missouri

Written by  January 22, 2017

Several weeks before the Christmas season, Jim Orr brought an idea to the officers of the Greater Kansas City Chapter, Harley Owners Group. The suggestion was to raise money to help make Christmas, 2016, special for one or more families in need and to do this in memory of Leon Rook, a beloved chapter member we lost on May 22, 2011. Chapter director Chad Schmidt, Leon’s grandson, was very appreciative of the idea, and all of the officers enthusiastically approved. Joining Chad and Jim on the planning committee were Amy Both, Diana Bray, Tammy Edgmon, and Ted Resch.

The original goal was to raise $800 of more, but as contributions poured in from Greater Kansas City H.O.G. members and friends, it became apparent that the amount would be sufficient to adopt two families. Dennis Moore, pastor at LifePoint Crossing in Blue Springs, Missouri, recommended two families with financial burdens that would make it difficult to celebrate Christmas. One family included a mom with two boys, ages 8 and 14, and a girl who was about 4 months old at the time. The other mom had an 8-year-old girl and a 5-year old boy.

The total amount raised was in excess of $2,000 making it possible to help out with necessities such as rent and utilities as well as buying Christmas gifts. Both families indicated their willingness to attend the December 20 chapter meeting at Blue Springs Harley-Davidson to receive gifts and express their gratitude to chapter members. Chad began the meeting by thanking the chapter for their support of the Leon Rook adopt-a-family project and sharing a few memories of his early days with the chapter as a youngster riding on the back of his grandpa’s Harley. To those in attendance who were involved with the chapter during those days, it was heartwarming to recall many rides with Leon and Chad including the later ones when Chad was aboard his own Harley, often leading the pack as a road captain.

Chad continued his story with a review of how the adopt-a-family project had succeeded. Then it was time for the presentation of the gifts to the families. I observed that Santa Claus was a bit taller and thinner than I remembered him. It turned out that chapter member Tony Oryall was the Santa-suited stand-in who volunteered when it was learned that the real Santa had a previous engagement that evening. The Christmas spirit was felt by all as the children gleefully opened their packages. There is no doubt that the Leon Rook Adopt-a-Family project will become an annual event for the Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter.


Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at stripe@cycleconnections.com