web1_WEB0813Brooks

LaGrange riding club event to help give children Christmas in memory of supporter

By Matthew Strother

mstrother@civitasmedia.com

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_WEB0813Brooksflier.jpg
Tommy Brooks
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_WEB0813Brooks.jpgTommy Brooks Submitted

LaGRANGE — A local riding club is set to ride Saturday to raise money to give local children in need a proper Christmas, and to commemorate one man’s devotion to helping local youth.

If it wasn’t for Tommy Brooks, there may not have been a Guardians Riding Club. Brooks passed away April 6, 2013, while riding his motorcycle, said his son Chuck Brooks, an officer with the Guardians club.

“A group of friends that rode together decided that a ride to help with the final expenses associated with my dad’s death should be done,” he said. “It was done, not really knowing what to do, but it all came together and there was a huge turnout. This ride led to the idea to start a riding club that did benefit rides for other people.”

Current club Vice President Joseph Doss, his wife Amy and other members spearheaded the first event, said club President Troy Evans. Out of that, the Guardians Riding Club was born.

“Once the Guardians were officially formed, we decided to do the ride (annually and) we asked chuck where he wanted the proceeds to go,” said Evans. “And he said, ‘Daddy always supported the kids, let’s do something for the kids.’”

For Brooks, the decision to support children was obvious.

“Daddy was a hardworking man who was fun-loving, outspoken and would do anything for anyone,” said Brooks. “He had a huge heart with a real soft spot for kids. … For as long as I can remember, my dad participated in the Toys for Tots charity and attended any other charity event for children.”

Evans also attested to the late Brooks’ love of helping children through charity rides. He had met Brooks through riding at charity events.

“As a club, we wanted to do a toy run, and we wanted to make sure that the toys received or money raised was given to Troup County kids,” he said. “With Tommy’s devotion to children when he was alive, and him being an honorary member of our club, we felt it was a fitting tribute to his legacy to have a ride in his honor that contributed to both his love of motorcycles and local children.”

Evans said all the proceeds from Saturday’s ride, the third annual event in Tommy Brooks’ memory, will go to buy items for Christmas, like toys clothes and even a dinner. Last year, the club raised enough to provide to two families with a total eight children, Evans said.

“Our hope is that every year we will get additional support from the community,” he added. “The additional support means we can help more kids.”

The support over the last few years for the ride in his father’s name has touched Brooks.

“It’s amazing; it’s awesome knowing that so many people cared about my dad and still do. When they come out to support this ride, they are still supporting him and his cause,” Brooks said. “I personally, and on behalf of the Guardians, want to thank everyone that comes out and supports this ride. It keeps my dad’s dream alive, and it means the world to my family.”

Continuing to do the ride, and others like it, meshes with the club’s goal of being focused on community support, noted Evans.

“We, Guardian RC members, spend countless hours in meetings about where our efforts and contributions should go,” he said. “We get requests from people all the time that need help, but inevitably, we always come back to the kids. Of course, we would love to be able to help everyone, but kids have a special place for all of us; they depend on someone to take care of them. If we can help, that is what we will do. This is where our motto comes from, ‘Supporting our community one ride at a time. Love thy neighbor as yourself.’ This is what we strive to do.”

The third annual Tommy Brooks Ride for motorcycles and Jeeps starts 3 p.m. Saturday from the Guardians Barn, 23 Gordon Road in LaGrange. Registration is 1 p.m. at the barn and cost is $20 per vehicle. There also will be raffles, entertainment and food at the barn following the ride. For more information, contact Guardians club President Troy Evans at 678-215-3023, Vice President Joseph Doss at 706-298-1266 or Sergeant at Arms Jay Freeman at 706-594-7756.

YOU CAN HELP

The third annual Tommy Brooks Ride for motorcycles and Jeeps starts 3 p.m. Saturday from the Guardians Barn, 23 Gordon Road in LaGrange. Registration is 1 p.m. at the barn and cost is $20 per vehicle. There also will be raffles, entertainment and food at the barn following the ride. For more information, contact Guardians club President Troy Evans at 678-215-3023, Vice President Joseph Doss at 706-298-1266 or Sergeant at Arms Jay Freeman at 706-594-7756.

Matthew Strother is editor at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.