Bikers raise funds for Greene family
Andrews – About 70 motorcycles filled the parking lot at Ronnie's on Saturday morning for the inaugural Bikers Benefiting Families – Ride for the Mountains poker run to support the Greene family.
Shortly before the kickstand went up, the fun began with a bike show, which awarded trophies for best custom, best rat, best trike and best all-around. As Brad Olmsted of Blairsville, Ga., inspected bikes, he said Johnny Walker's Cherokee Spirit bike was "hands down" his choice for best custom for its graphics and Native American motif.
Walker did will best custom, as well as the all-around trophy. Jody Officer went home with the trophy for best rat, while Ray Brown won for best trike.
After the bike show, the group rode toward Rib Country restaurant in Hayesville. They then headed to Altered Frequencies in Franklin, continued to Mountain Layers Brewing Co. in Bryson City, then to Cherokee Cycles in Andrews. They concluded the ride at Ronnie's, where raffle prizes were announced.
The benefit was created two months ago, when organizers Shane Headrick and Janice Walker were talking at the restaurant. Walker, who worked with and was friends with Kassandra Greene, told Headrick about Greene's injuries from an automobile accident in January, and the family's needs as a result.
Walker said she held two yard sale fundraisers for them. Headrick then told her they could hold a poker run, and hopefully provide a lot more financial support for the family.
The event raised $4,420.
Phil Close and his wife, Dottie, of Marble, saw information about the poker run on social media and in the Cherokee Scout, and participated because they knew the Greene family. Their children went to school with Greene's siblings, and Close was the soccer coach at Andrews High School at the time.
"We wanted to come out here and show our support," Close said. "It's good to see her up and around."
Greene was able to stop by for short period of time Saturday morning – she can only stand for about two hours without a great deal of pain.
"We live in a very blessed community, and I have very good friends who saw a need and jumped into action," she said. "This is amazing."
Greene said her medical bills accumulated to about $140,000, about $75,000 still left to pay.
Headrick is looking into creating an official nonprofit to help families in the area. He would like to make the poker run a regular event to help local families in need.