by Tonia Fishback, Reporter
The House of Hope in Many benefited greatly from the first annual Gray Ghost Christmas Food Drive held on Saturday, Dec. 18 in the parking lot of Many Big Star. Over $1,150 and two truckloads of food were graciously donated during the event.
Members of the Gray Ghost Motorcycle Club SYLB, Many and Shreveport Chapters; Black Hawk MC, Christian Motorcyclist Association, Brothers Keepers MC, Patriot Guard riders and individual riders gathered at 11 a.m. in the Toledo Bend Big Star parking lot. The 50-plus riders were then escorted to the Many location by the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office where a crowd had gathered to welcome them and support the food drive.
John Curtis, owner of Big Star, was on hand to welcome riders and supporters. Others in the crowd were Sabine Index Publisher Robert Gentry and grandson, Jayden, who stopped by to look at the motorcycles on display. Father Joe Martina of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Many offered a Blessing of the Bikes during the event and was given a quick motorcycle course by Gray Ghost Freddie Grappe. Supporters from as far way as Dallas, Texas, traveled to Many to be a part of the days events.
Supporters enjoyed browsing through the motorcycles and cheered on their favorite riders during the bike games, while patiently waiting on special guest Billy the Exterminator to arrive. DeWayne “Mudcat” O’Bannon, Gray Ghost from Shreveport, won the Slow Race and winning the Road Kill pick-up race were husband and wife team, Wade and Brenda Springer, Gray Ghost members from Fisher.
Stephanie Carroll of Many had the winning ticket for the 50/50 drawing, splitting the $300 pot with The House of Hope.
Fans, young and old, of Billy the Exterminator were patient and forgiving when Billy Bretherton arrived fashionably late to sign autographs, gave away prizes and take pictures. The line of fans stretched across the parking lot and the star of the popular A&E show, Billy the Exterminator, stayed until the last fan left after 6 p.m.
The Gray Ghost Motorcycle Club SYLB donates time, money and offers support to many different causes throughout the year. Riders take time to honor veterans as Patriot Guard Riders, host benefits for families needing financial support and participate in other motorcycle club events. They are looking forward to hosting the Christmas food drive again next year and topping this year’s donation total.
A special thanks goes to Big Star’s John Curtis for offering the space for this special event to take place and for always supporting the community.
The House of Hope Ministries was established by North Sabine Baptist Association and the churches of the association in Feb. 1998 and receives most of its food from the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank. At this time 300 – 400 families are helped each month with food. An average of 15,000 pounds of food is given away each month to these needy families. All money that is donated to the ministry goes to buy food and operate the ministry. There are no salaries paid, the ministry is ran by volunteers. The House of Hope is located at 2600 Texas Hwy. in Many. Donations are welcome year-round. For more information contact, Director Marshall Ingle at 318-256-6124. (See related photos inside this week’s edition of The Sabine Banner.)