Marshall County Group Plans Motorcycle Ride to Raise Money for the Augusta Levy Learning Center in Wheeling

Photo by Scott McCloskey Preparing for the special charitable “MASH” themed motorcycle ride Saturday to Toledo, Ohio, are from left, Robert “Hoagy” Carmichael, John Gruzinskas, Jeff Whitfield and John Wilson. The group will ride 500 miles to raise money for Augusta Levy Learning Center, which had a devastating fire July 7.

GLEN DALE — Robert “Hoagy” Carmichael and several dozen of his “heroes” will participate in a special charitable “MASH” themed motorcycle ride Saturday to raise money for the Augusta Levy Learning Center.

Hoagy’s Heroes Inc. will drive to MASH character Maxwell Klinger’s favorite restaurant in Toledo, Ohio, called Tony Packo’s Restaurant at 1902 Front St. (in the show, the character played by Jamie Farr is from Toledo). Carmichael said the group’s 500-mile round-trip motorcycle ride, called the “Maxwell Q. Klinger Special 500,” will take them less than 12 hours.

The riders will depart early Saturday morning from Carmichael’s home in Glen Dale and return back to his house before evening the same day.

He said each rider finds sponsors to donate funds toward the cause or prizes that can be won by participants in a drawing.

“Everything that we bring in pledge money, 100 percent will go to Augusta Levy,” said Carmichael.

Augusta Levy Learning Center lost its home the morning of July 7 when at fire destroyed the former Sacred Heart Church at 99 Main St. in North Wheeling, where it rented space. Since then, the center for children with autism has been working with its clients in their homes and at a new temporary location above the Children’s Museum at the corner of 10th and Main streets in downtown Wheeling.

Those interested in riding with Hoagy’s Heros need to sign up between 5-8 p.m. this evening at a sign-in and dinner at 315 4th Street, Glen Dale. At 6 a.m. Saturday, riders will drink coffee together before departing for Toledo at 7 a.m. When the group returns at 5 p.m., they will eat dinner again. Carmichael then will present awards at 7 p.m.

Carmichael said he expects 20 to 40 riders from nine states to take part in the charitable ride.

He said this will be the third ride event so far this year, and the group has donated the funds raised over the past few years to Augusta Levy.

Since 2004, under the dedicated drive and passion of Carmichael, the nonprofit agency has organized annual long-distance motorcycle rides to raise money for children’s charities, according to the group’s website. Each year, its goal is to increase the number of riders and funds collected to benefit those charities.

There is a fee for each rider or passenger, which includes dinner, a patch and a Hoagy’s Heroes ride certificate. For details about the ride, call Carmichael at 304-639-1863, or visit the group’s website at www.hoagysheroes.org.

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