Christmas on 2 wheels

Published 10:58 pm Saturday, December 20, 2008

Apparently, Saint Nick decided to ditch the sleigh and reindeer for something louder and shinier.

Santa — or Bob “Fatback” Green, as he is commonly known — and the Selma Riders Club brought holiday joy to 21 Dallas County children whose parents are incarcerated.

A group of kids saw Green stroll away from his motorcycle, and suddenly they didn’t care if Rudolph was around.

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“Santa loves everybody,” Green bellowed as he scooped a youngster off the ground.

The Selma Riders Club held a Christmas party Friday at Crosspoint Christian Church and handed out gifts as part of the Ministry of Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program.

Prisoners have to sign up for the program and specify what gifts they want for their children.

The club spent $75 per child and fulfilled all the requests on the list.

Pam Green, Bob’s wife, found out about the Angel Tree through an e-mail.

She called each inmate to discuss each of their gift choices.

“Basically we’re the messenger between the parent and the child … We tried to go right by what the parents wanted the children to have,” Green said.

This is the club’s first time working with the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree. It is one of the many charities the club supports, said charter member and vice president John Friday.

Sharing a gift this big with local families was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“Our interest is in making sure the children had a Christmas,” Friday said. “We wanted to bring them in and have them open these gifts while they watched and be a part of it.”

The children took pictures while they opened gifts, and all the photos will be sent to their parents.

The event also pulled in motorcycle riders from different clubs. Not surprisingly, several of them ride to promote the Christian ministry.

“We always take the opportunity to fellowship with other bikers,” said Jim Henderson. He joined several other riders here Saturday to discuss the formation of a Wheels of Faith Motorcycle Ministry chapter.

Selma Riders member Miles Thompson said the club’s charter states it is a charitable organization.

The group holds several fundraisers throughout the year to support events like the Angel Tree and other agencies and events.

Sixteen of the 21 families that were separated for the holidays celebrated with the riders at Crosspoint Church.

Latoya Sharp and her children — Kodell Jr., Albert and Jamiah — wrote letters to her husband before the night got going.

“It’s important because it makes up for some of the stuff their dad isn’t able to do for them,” Sharp said.