By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
MOUNT VERNON - Plans are coming togther for the 2nd annual Memorial Toy Ride to honor Officer Thomas Cottrell who was killed in the line of duty in January of 2016. The motorcycle ride will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017 and begin at Mid-Ohio Suzuki-Honda-Yamaha-Kawasaki on Harcourt Road. The riders will leave Mid-Ohio and ride to Wilson Cemetery in Newark where a recognition cermony will be held for Officer Cottrell. From there the route will proceed to the Danville Police station and end at The Station Break, 160 Howard Street. Participants are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy or $20 per bike. All donations benefit the Salvation Army of Mount Vernon.
The event is supported by the Knox County FOP Lodge 147. Lodge president Sgt. Wayne Noggle of the Knox County Sheriff's Office said, "Tom [Cottrell] was big into helping kids. Tom really was involved in a lot of baseball, softball...kid activitites."
Noggle told KnoxPages.com that the FOP wants to make sure kids in Knox County don't go without things at Christmas that they need or want. "If we put a smile on one kid's face, this whole ride [will be] worth it," said Noggle.
Once the ride gets to the Station Break around 1-1:30 p.m. riders and anyone who didn't ride but would like to donate either the $20 fee or a new, unwrapped toy can enjoy food donated by local businesses, raffles, a 50-50 drawing, door prizes, a live auction and bluegrass music from Bailey & White. A commercial Dolmar chain saw and a portable generator are among the featured items.
Kevin Mishey, Salvation Army Advisory board member says the goal this year is $15,000. The money raised will help some 800 children and 200 families in the Mount Vernon/Knox County area receive toys and a Christmas dinner food basket.
Lt. Christine Baker of the Salvation Army says 100% of the donations to the Toy Ride will stay in Knox County. She said, "The Salvation Army works hard every year to service those in need who otherwise would go without a Christmas. We're very thankful for this ride and the sponsorships and the help that comes in ..this is the army behind the [Salvation] Army, people that give and volunteer and help us."
Donations are being accepted for sponsorship of the event. Checks can be made payable to Knox County FOP Lodge 147, reference 2017 Toy Ride. Mail to Knox County FOP, P. O. Box 327 Mount Vernon, OH 43050. Local businesses supporting the event include: Chipotle, Coca-Cola, Smithhisler Meats, Wendy's, Tim Horton's, WQIO radio.
Event T-shirts will be sold at the ride. T-shirt proceeds will go the FOP's Shop with a Cop event done in to help local children shop for Christmas presents for themselves and their families.