Bikers make annual Gladewater toy run

An annual event took place Saturday in Longview that gives a little holiday cheer to those that are often forgotten during the Christmas season.  For one day every year, rough tough bikers shed that image for a cause that has become important to them, taking Christmas gifts to kids at Truman Smith Children's Care Center in Gladewater.

"We got our leathers on, and we all look rough and tough, but inside we're real people, and we feel for these kids," said rider David Belanger.  They raise money all year and even donate their own for a chance to see the faces of the kids when they show up with a sled full of presents.

"It's a good feeling," said rider Patty Smith.  These kids, once a year they get a chance to see us roll in, and they love seeing the motorcycles come through, and it's just the one time of the year that we can all remember them."  For people like Karen Smith, who's son is in Truman Smith, it's a godsend.

"These guys bring a lot of happiness to the kids and more so to us the family," said Smith.

"You go over there and see the smiling faces on the children when we all pull up out there and all the bikes and Santa Claus, it just brings a warmth to your heart knowing that you're doing something to help," said Belanger.  The toy run began 17 year's ago at Mom's Biker Bar and as long as there are special kids, the bikers will not forget them.

"There are people that care and take time out of their lives to come and help us," said Smith.  Nearly 300 bikers from all over Texas participated in Saturday's toy run.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com