COVID-19 has impacted many events nationwide, but this year, the annual Madison County Toy Ride will be different for more reasons than this. In early September, an officer of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources was struck and killed by a car. Capt. Stan Elrod will be honored at the 17th annual Madison County Toy Ride, the first time in the history of this event that it will be dedicated to someone.
Capt. Mike Burgamy succeeded his longtime co-worker and friend, Elrod, as the Region 2 Supervisor of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
“[Elrod] was a hard-working man who dedicated a good portion of his life to Georgia Natural Resources, the citizens we serve and beyond that,” Burgamy said.
Burgamy said Elrod was involved with the Outdoor Dreams Foundation, an organization that provides children with serious illnesses the opportunity to check off a dream nature experience.
“He was able to really give back to the kids who might not be able to receive what Stan was able to give them,” Burgamy said. “Stan made a way for them to go on their dream hunt, dream fishing trip, whatever they wanted to do.”
Patton said at the ride this year a few words will be spoken in memory of Elrod, so those who did not know him will understand the loss and why he was chosen to be honored.
“The fact that others have recognized all the good that Captain Elrod was able to do, especially when he worked for this department, it just means the world to us that he can be honored the way that he is,” Burgamy said.
Each year, the Madison County Toy Ride is a motorcycle ride hosted in Madison County to support less fortunate families in the community. Patton explains the money raised goes toward buying needy children and their families Christmas gifts.
To register a bike to ride, bring $20 to Madison County Memorial Park at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 14. Owning a motorcycle is not a requirement to participate. Spectators are welcome and are encouraged to socially distance along the route of the ride. All participants in the event, both spectators and riders, are encouraged to bring a mask and an unwrapped gift for a child.
“We have some faithful givers that help out every year, they don’t even own a motorcycle, but they just come for the cause and that’s what makes our world go round,” Patton said.
Maddie McQueen is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia.
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