Through a cooperative effort between Black Diamond Harley Davidson and the local chapter of the Harley Owner's Group, which is sponsored by the dealership, a check was presented to Mayor Eric Gregg Saturday morning to assist with long-term recovery efforts stemming from the Feb. 29 tornado.
The group met in the Walmart parking lot where a strip mall once stood, but was completely destroyed in the Leap Day storm.
Bryce Cramer, director of the Black Diamond Harley Owner's Group, said they have about 80 total members, some of whom volunteered in Harrisburg in the days following the tornado. All the members agreed they wanted to do whatever they could to help those affected by the tornado, so the HOG members, along with Black Diamond Harley Davidson Dealership, held a variety of fundraisers over the past few months.
In the end, the group raised $3,050 which they donated to the city of Harrisburg Saturday to assist with recovery efforts, especially those involving children in the community.
"Motorcyclists are often thought to be kind of rough," said Cramer. "But children pull at the heartstrings of every guy on a bike."
Before officially accepting the check, Gregg gave the group of Harley riders a little background information on the destruction and aftermath of the early morning tornado that devastated Harrisburg and surrounding communities Feb. 29.
"It was just an incredible force of nature," Gregg said, pointing to the path the tornado took through the city as it leveled buildings and destroyed countless lives.
Gregg agreed with the Harley owners that the funds should be used, at least in part, to rehabilitate the park in Gaskins City to help children whose lives were upheaved by the tornado's destructive power. Though it already recently received new playground equipment, Gregg said he would like to see additions to the Gaskins City Park like picnic tables, benches and other amenities.
"I cannot begin to say how much we appreciate this," Gregg said to Cramer and Chad Zimbro, co-owner of Black Diamond Harley Davidson Dealership, whose cooperative efforts led to the generous donation. "We are honored."