MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
The station Single Marine Program and Iwakuni Motorcycle Club hosted the 14th annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Rally at the Strike Zone parking lot here Sunday.
The rally is part of the Toys for Tots campaign, which gathers toys for underprivileged children 2 – 18 years old.
The toys are slated to be given out during future community relations projects in various countries Marines train in.
More than 100 Japanese and American motorcyclists attended the rally.
This event provided an opportunity for Japanese and American motorcycle riders to spend time with each other while helping less fortunate children.
“This allows the Japanese to donate toys for underprivileged children,” said Shaun Ally, SMP coordinator. “This rally is an added bonus, because it brings the local community here to help us with a noble cause while having fun showing off their bikes as well.”
Many Japanese riders placed a toy or two in the donation box when they first arrived at the event.
Bringing a toy was not a requirement for the rally, but the Japanese riders were encouraged to bring toys for donation.
“This is an opportunity for Japanese and Americans to get together for a common goal of goodwill to help out the less fortunate children here and around the world,” said Maj. Edward M. Bahret, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 executive officer. “The Japanese like the spirit of giving. We use our common interest in riding our motorcycles to attract them to support our goal of donating more toys to help out the less fortunate in a fun way.”
The event also gave station Marines a chance to show the Japanese riders the military equipment they use to help protect the station and surrounding areas of Japan.
Station motor transportation and explosive ordnance disposal Marines provided static displays and interactive demonstrations of equipment for participants to observe and interact with.
After the riders lapped the station, they were treated to food, live music and friendly competition set up by the SMP.
Marine volunteers played tug-ofwar and wrestled in sumo wrestler suits with some of the Japanese participants.
“I had a wonderful time today,” said Suehiro Kazuaki, a local motorcyclist who dressed as Santa Claus for the rally. “It is my greatest wish to have more activities like this in the future.”
Residents are still able to donate to Toys for Tots. Marines are posted in front of the Marine Corps Exchange to receive donations weekdays 6 - 8 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
All donated items must be unwrapped toys or articles of clothing.