If you ask Paul Blatt, what he and other members of G.O.A.R. (Get Out And Ride) Charities do is nothing special.
“You will get none of us to admit what we’re doing is special,” Blatt said. “We are just doing what we all should be doing.”
Whether it’s helping an injured motorcyclist, a child with cancer or helping the less fortunate at Christmas, Blatt, Shawn Larkin and other members of GOAR do anything they can to help raise money for those in need.
That’s why in 2015, Sam Boley helped start GOAR, a non-profit organization based in Blue Springs, which gathers local and some out-of-town motorcyclists who pay money to go for a ride, which goes toward various charitable causes.
“A buddy of ours (Boley) started a Facebook page, and it started with 20 members, and it took off from there,” Blatt said. “As it grew, we decided it would be best to start our own charity rides.”
During any given ride, the motorcyclists will have stops on their route, with the last one serving as a place where the organization has auctions, games, raffles and other events to help whichever cause it’s supporting for that ride.
One of those causes is to help injured motorcyclists who suffer the effects of vehicle accidents. Blatt was the first one the group raised money for in October 2017. His nickname is T Bone, because in the accident a car T-boned him on his motorcycle, causing a serious leg injury, causing him to miss several months of work. He added that he couldn’t walk for four months.
“When they get hit on the road due to no fault of their own, and they miss work, those bills don’t stop coming,” Blatt said. “We help raise money for guys who go through that.
Added Larkin: “We usually try to help them cover some of their biggest bills like their rent or house payment.”
“When someone brings one of these accidents to us, we check every avenue we can that they were not at fault and they were not drunk. It’s a situation where they are riding down the road and someone hits them.”
G.O.A.R.’s most successful fundraiser was the Christmas Angel Tree Ride/Drive, in which they raise money to buy gifts for those who request things through the Salvation Army. Last winter, the organization raised more than $9,000.
‘We cleared 650 (of the gift requests) off of the trees,” said Dennis Adolehsen, co-owner of Misfits Bar and Grill in Blue Springs, who partners with G.O.A.R. Charities.
Added Larkin: “We want to double that this year and help twice as many kids.”
Their next charity ride will take place on June 29 to benefit a girl in Holden, Mo., who has a kidney disease. Then on July 7 and 14, they will host a ride that benefits a girl named Jasmine, a Blue Springs resident who has leukemia. The group averages 60 to 100 motorcyclists, travels between 90 to 100 miles with four or five stops per ride.
When some members of G.O.A.R. aren’t hosting their own rides, they join charitable rides of other groups, donating their own money toward similar causes.
“They are spending their own personal money for another charity,” Adolehsen said. “Nine out of 10 times, the guys (in G.O.A.R.) are helping others do their rides. It’s a give, give, give situation for them.”
Misfits Bar and Grill assists G.O.A.R. Charities with their endeavors, giving them a place to meet and plan event.s It also hold silent auctions to help benefit whichever cause G.O.A.R. is supporting.
Blatt said G.O.A.R. has mostly helped individuals, but he said the organization is moving toward raising money for established charities such as the Alzheimer’s Organization. G.O.A.R.
“Charity rides are a blast, we all have fun doing them,” Blatt said. “We love to ride, it just so happens that we can raise money doing what we love to do.
“I view it as I am lucky. If I wasn’t raising money, I would be doing the same thing (going for rides) except no money would be raised.”
For more information about G.O.A.R. Charities, and for those in need of their assistance or those who want to donate can visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GOARCharities.
“We try to help as many people as we can whether it’s our ride or not,” Larkin said.