Chicagoland Toys for Tots

Thanks for showing your level of commitment to start the annual toy drives for both the Chicagoland Motorcycle Parade and the USMC Toys for Tots programs this past Sunday. Despite the rain and cold, the love in your hearts maintained a holiday tradition for our 30th Anniversary Motorcycle Parade, which aided the 2nd Battalion 24thMarines. Once again we were faced with inclement weather conditions. So we made the annual phone call to Santa Claus on Saturday night, as indeed he would not want to disappoint those needy children at Christmas time. At 4:30 am his satellite from the North Pole indicated a window of opportunity from about 9:30 am until 3:00 pm for Sunday’s toy bearing iron sleds. With that weather update it was a go. So once again, as the founder Ed “Aminal” Wisniewski previously stated, “the big hearts of bikers would be serving snot nosed children at Christmas”.

We would like to thank all those in the City of Chicago that aid us. Thanks to the Mayor and the City of Chicago Special Events Department, especially Steve Wagner and his parade staff. Also thanks to OEMC, the Fire department, and also streets and sanitation. Big kudos to all the Chicago Police Districts that parallel Western Avenue to assist traffic control at the intersections. Especially Rich Scott (8th District) and his CPD for the parade departure from 83rd street, and the 17th District for their staffing to guide us into the Reserve Center. Thanks to the Cook County Forest Preserve and their crew led by Darrel and Derrick at Dan Ryan Woods for accommodating all our needs to make the park safe. Thank you to the CTA for working out the logistics to accommodate our motorcade down Western Avenue. Ditto to their CTA staff at their North side bus terminal for doing what it takes to get the lot ready for motorcycle parking, despite it being under construction. Thanks to Stuart Coffee and the CMA for providing hot beverages and sustenance on both ends. Thanks to all the organizations that assisted us in guarding intersections while the parade was in progress among them: the various ABATE Clubs, HOG Chapters, Great Lakes Jeeps Thing, the many motorcycle, bus, van and car organizations, along with our stationary and riding road guards. Thanks to the following Harley Davidson dealers for distributing our product: Oak Lawn, Illinois, and Chi-Town and also Otto Brothers Honda. Thanks to Westfield Chicago Ridge Mall for providing us retail store space during the holiday season. Thank you to the KB Toy stores for collecting toys for us.

Thanks to Central Graphics, Overt Printing, Stars and Stripes, NES Traffic Safety, and Hiway Technologies for supplying us with advertising and safety materials for our community outreach. Thanks to the cartage carriers for assisting our deliveries among them: the Teamsters, TRX Inc, LaGrou, and Larry’s Cartage. Thank you to Cart Mart Plus, Wilson Rental and Communications Direct, Inc for the equipment you provided for parade day. Thank you to all the local newspapers, radio and television stations that provided public service announcements Thank you to all the pedestrians, families and businesses cheering us along the 17-mile route along Western Avenue. You made us smile and warmed our insides for our good deeds. Thanks to the 2nd Battalion 24th Marines on Foster Avenue for continuing a 60 year tradition for the USMC Toys for Tots campaign, despite your unit being deployed to the Middle East. May God Bless all our Marines and all our soldiers for a safe return home. Thanks to Santa Claus and Elves for making our parade and the weather forecast. Thanks to a great team of volunteers from the North side of Chicago to the South that gather every year to assist us and make up part of a great team of volunteers known as the, Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Organization. Lastly thanks to the “Bikers with Big hearts” that rode their iron reindeers bearing toys on a sloppy, cold and rainy day, showing us you have the love of commitment on the First Sunday in December in Chicago to make sure, “ Every needy child deserves a new toy at Christmas.”

If we forgot anybody, we like to thank you for whatever you assisted us with to make it safe for thousands of toy bearing motorcyclist on 12/2/07.

Thank you for your support for 30 years, and until next year on the First Sunday in December (12/7/08), we wish you and your families … A Joyous Holiday season and Safe and Prosperous New Year!


President of Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Robert “Cooch” Kuczera and all its Volunteers