WELLS - Getting a "section 8" refers to getting discharged from
the U.S. military for being "mentally unfit." Apply the term to a
motorcycle club whose riders are clad in leather vests and a logo
of a helmeted skull and you may not feel like you're at a
But on Sunday, June 9, these Ryders held one of their basket
fundraisers at the Modern Woodsman of America (MWA) event hall in
Wells; an event that showcased their caring community of neighbors
helping neighbors. That's what the Granville-based Section 8 Ryders
"We currently have 22 members," notes the group's President,
Janice Paddack Rivers of Granville, NY, "and they are all
This group raised about $4,100 for Judy and John Doran of Ft.
Edwards, NY this past Sunday. Judy was diagnosed last year with ALS
(Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or "Lou Gehrig's Disease"). The
Dorans need assistance with related costs that include the need for
a wheelchair accessible van, an electric wheelchair and
construction of a fully accessible addition to a home, including an
exterior wheelchair ramp.
The June 9 event drew over 120 people and included a selection
of 250 gift baskets and gift certificates. "It's a whole lot
bigger than what we thought it would be," said Robert Dennison,
Judy Doran's son-in-law. "It's really moving to see the entire hall
full of people. The Section 8 Ryders are an amazing group and they
deserve a whole lot of credit."
Rivers founded the Section 8 Ryders with love six years ago as a
non-profit, having had over 20 years of experience dedicated to
local fundraising efforts.
"My second love is motorcycles," Rivers noted as people
continued to crowd into the MWA hall on the warm, sunny afternoon.
Her energy was clearly contagious. "I decided to combine the two
and then the group took off like a rocket! Our sole focus is
helping individuals who are sick and in need," she notes. All
individuals and families who receive assistance must be low-income
and many do not have any insurance.
The Ryders maintain a very busy schedule of basket party
fundraisers, holding about one or two every month to benefit local
individuals who live in the vicinity of Granville, some in New York
and some in Vermont. Typically these include drawings for the
baskets, raffle and refreshments. Local family members and friends
of those in-need, as well as local businesses donate all of the
basket items and raffle prizes.
The Ryders also hold other types of fundraisers such as dinners
and fun runs. According to Rivers, the basket parties typically
raise $2,000 to $4,000, although some have raised significantly
Sample basket items included "A Dog's Day" (dog treats, collar
and bedding), "BBQ Time" (bbq sauces, spices), "Boys Havin'
Fun" (nerf ball and hoop, Pez dispensers, toy dump truck), "Garden
Time" (seed starter, seeds, potting soil) and much, much more.
Admission to the event was $5, for which participants received a
sheet of tickets for the basket draw, as well as the chance to
purchase raffle tickets and a 50-cent buffet.
"This turnout is really amazing," said attendee Joyce Davis of
Argyle, NY. "I've been to other basket party fundraisers, but never
one with so many baskets!" she added.
"Growing up I was taught that neighbors and friends should
help each other out when they're in-need," said Doran's daughter
Rebecca Dennison. "If you've worked hard all of your life and done
the same, then you certainly deserve some support in your later
Dennison noted that family and friends have volunteered to help
care for her mother during the day, as Judy Doran's ALS has
progressed to the point where she must use an electric wheelchair,
has difficulty speaking, among other problems. Her father, who is a
combat veteran, has been forced to continue working in order to
cover rapidly increasing medical costs and to buy a used,
"So much isn't covered by insurance and it's all so expensive,"
said Robert Dennison.
Dennison noted that the family is working closely with several
organizations, including the New York chapter of the ALS
Association and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, to determine
what will be Judy's needs down the road as a result of her ALS.
Future plans are to move her parents from their inaccessible, Fort
Edwards home into an accessible addition to be built for them on
the Dennison's house in Argyle.
The Dennisons both said that many individuals have already
signed up to volunteer when work begins on the addition to their
The Section 8 Ryders have several other upcoming fundraisers and
are booked through the middle of 2014. This is partly because, not
unexpectedly, the need in the community is so great. But the
ever-altruistic Rivers, adds, "Sometimes we can throw together
something to accommodate those who can't wait because of their
The next basket party is scheduled for June 15 at the Whitehall,
NY Elks Lodge, to benefit a 5-year-old with medical needs.
Rivers is also working to purchase a house and furnish it with
furniture and other items that can be donated to people that lose
everything in a fire or other disaster.
Rivers notes that the Section 8 Ryders are always open to new
members, but they must understand that the purpose of the group is
to fundraise. If you are interested in joining, volunteering, or
donating a basket or prize for a future event, contact Rivers at