Silver anniversary golden for Silver Key Run
One of them was Terry “T-Bear” Barber, a founder and for many years the main organizer of the annual event by the local Pikes Peak Harley Owners Group (PPHOG). He led this year's riders into the Silver Key Senior Services parking lot on his 1990 Electra Glide Classic.
The former maintenance man for the Deaf & Blind School (retired in 1997) had announced beforehand that it would be his final Silver Key Run. “I'm getting old,” Barber told an interviewer. This prompted an irrevent comment from a fellow rider: “Maybe now you can start getting help from Silver Key.”
Lorri Orwig, volunteer coordinator for Silver Key, reported afterward that donations totaled 3,280 pounds of food and $1,000 in funds. “It's just humbling and heartwarming to have such terrific support,” she said.
The timing was also right. Less than a month before the run, Silver Key had sent out a press release seeking food donations for its pantry, noting how hard times have affected many area seniors.
The PPHOG members, joined by other bikers and supporters - and accompanied by a Silver Key van to store the groceries - rode through town together as they typically do during the event. Over about a five-hour span, the participants stopped at various grocery stores to buy or collect food and to pick up occasional financial donations for the Westside-based nonprofit that helps area senior citizens.
“It's not about me,” Barber said, expressing the hope that the charity effort will continue “another 25 years” after this. In a post-run speech to his fellow riders in the Silver Key lot, he exhorted them, “The country's in a downward spiral right now. People need our help.”
Two who plan to stay with it are Mark and Joy Ernster, who have been on all 25 Silver Key Runs. “We'll continue riding, till the devil gets us,” Joy laughed.
Asked how the event began, Barber said that PPHOG started both the Silver Key Run and the Toy Run - another continuing motorcycle event - at the same time. “We were all involved,” he said. “We wanted to do something for the community. We picked the elderly and children - people that can't help themselves. It's blossomed and gone from there.”
The first Silver Key Run numbered only about 15 bikes and “a grocery cart” of food, he chuckled. But it grew quickly, and Barber said it has collected more than 4,000 pounds in the past.
Westside Pioneer article