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Bikers celebrate Thanksgiving with residents of Hope Enterprises

LANA MUTHLER/Special to the Sun-Gazette Above, Hope Enterprises residents are helped through the food line by members of the Susquehanna Valley Big Twins Motorcycle Club who annually hosts a Thanksgiving Dinner for the group.

WOOLRICH — It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to help someone less fortunate than yourself.

Just ask members of the Susquehanna Valley Big Twins Motorcycle Club, who’ve been preparing a Thanksgiving Dinner for residents of Hope Enterprises for the last 31 years.

On Sunday, the event was held again at the clubhouse in Woolrich.

And as in other years, it was the bikers and others involved in hosting the dinner who felt privileged to be sitting down for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings with these special people.

“This is one of our favorite events. They’re all smiles. It makes all your problems go away. It’s humbling. They love it and we love it, too,” said Brad Derby, club secretary, as he watched the men and women of all ages enter the clubhouse, some walking unassisted, others walking with help or pushed in wheelchairs.

And yes, they were smiling.

They were excited to see old friends. They remember the place and the faces of the members of the bike club, who escort them to the dining area, all decked out in holiday attire.

Soon, it’s time to enter the area filled with the wonderful smell of turkey, ham, home-baked pies and so much more.

The residents line up, and with help from members of the club, their plates are filled with everything their hearts desire.

“This is something they look forward to every year. One guy has been telling me for weeks that it’s almost time to go to the motorcycle club for turkey dinner,” said Rob Labatach, president of Hope Enterprises Inc., of Williamsport.

“It’s just such a wonderful thing they do for them,” Labatach said, looking out over the crowd, as they were glued to the after-dinner entertainment on the stage.

It was a magician and his lovely assistant, who did some fantastic magic tricks for the gathering. The beautiful assistant escaped from a straight jacket and “ate” fire.

There were also two check presentations made by Big Twins.

Big Twins president Keith Harman presented a check to Labatach to be used for Hope residents in any way the organization sees fit.

Harman also presented a check to Pastor Susan Champion. The bikers have worked with Champion’s church, Bald Eagle United Presbyterian in Mill Hall for years, delivering hand-knitted items to hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities. The items are knitted by the Prayer Shawl ministry of the church.

When all was said and done, the care-takers bundled up their special guests and they were out the door, helped to their vans by members of the club … and still smiling as they waved good-bye for another year.

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