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Riding with heart in Hernando County

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Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:27 PM

Call it stereotyping but when it comes to bikers they have a whole lot in common.

They wear a whole lot of leather and ride motorcycles with a whole lot of chrome. Their bodies are adorned with a whole lot of ink and they usually ride a whole lot of "Harleys."

Yet, there is one thing most people miss when it comes to bikers: Many of them have a whole lot of heart.

Take, for instance, the show of camaraderie and support earlier this month after a crash at Cortez Boulevard and Weeping Willow Street claimed the life of one biker, Patricia Drew, and seriously injured two others.

The word about the crash spread fast. Tricia and Dave Dorvee of Spring Hill put an action plan in place for an impromptu memorial service for Drew and coupled it with a fundraising benefit for Al Hagar, 64, and Sue Helie, 60, of Spring Hill. They were well-respected and well-known people in the motorcycle-riding community, said Dave Dorvee.

However the Dorvees wanted the event to serve as one more thing — they wanted the event to be a wake-up call for passing motorists to "Watch for Motorcycles."

Tricia Dorvee and some members of the riding organization 'Chicks in the Wind' mobilized their efforts and began posting information regarding the accident and scheduled a headlight vigil on various social media sites. The Dorvees also made a countless number of phone calls.

"Over 200 motorcycles participated," David Dorvee said. "Even on such short notice."

The bikes were lined up on the service road at Weeping Willow Street as far as you could see.

As the sun set, more and more motorcycles began to show up. They were all there to pay their final respects to Drew and participate in the headlight vigil for the hospitalized Hagar and Helie.

At one point, a motorcyclist stood at the top of the swale, not far from where the crash occurred. When he raised his arms, motorcycles revved their engines in unison like it was a 21-gun salute.

Standing on the edge of a parking lot outside a nearby auto parts store, the microphone was passed to DJ Dave Martini. Martini is a mild-mannered, suit and tie-wearing health insurance salesman by day. He takes on a whole new persona at night when he transitions to a leather-wearing, head-banded master of ceremonies and music disc jockey at many biker events.

On the night of the vigil, Martini worked the crowd and managed $266 in donations from some of them. Martini is also a member of the local chapter of Goodfellows MC Brotherhood.

Martini proclaimed the club's friendship with Hagar and Helie and pledged support by announcing, to approving applause, that the Goodfellows clubhouse would host a Dec. 9 benefit event for them.

Hagar and Helie weren't strangers to the Goodfellows pack. At times they rode with the club. The couple established a bond and friendship with many members.

Martini said the Hernando Chapter will put this benefit together and it will be open to the public.

Martini said the days of the image of the hard-core biker are pretty much gone.

A Harley-Davidson will cost you between $25,000 and $30,000 so you have to have a good job to buy a motorcycle these days, at least a Harley-Davidson, he said.

"We're more of a family organization," he said. "A biker group that is family oriented. We ride with our friends and wives and we don't have that hardcore biker image."

Having a membership of business professionals with a whole lot of heart has paid off.

"We do quite a few benefits, Martini said.

As far as Hagar's and Helie's physical condition now, Martini says they are doing much better, but they have their financial hardships.

Martini points out that the driver who caused the accident had minimal insurance and it was not enough to cover what happened Nov. 1 at the intersection.

Goodfellows members hope this benefit serves as awareness.

"We need to get some awareness out there," Martini said. "First off, all people need to start paying attention to motorcycles."

He also suggests some sort of legislative actions are needed to remedy insurance requirements.

The event will be held at 4469 Plyna St. in Spring Hill. Your GPS may warn you of an unpaved road, but Martini said those coming in cars can park near the entrance. There will be a shuttle service to get attendees to the clubhouse.

Live bands and disc jockeys, including Martini and MC "the Big Ragoo," will supply the music and entertainment throughout the day. They say they expect some musical guests, but are unsure if they're bringing their whole bands or "if they're just going to sit in."

Those with special needs are asked to call (352) 345-2407 in advance so a space can be reserved for their car or van with handicapped credentials.

Money that's raised at the door will go directly to Hagar and Helie for expenses incurred since the accident. Admission is $10, $15 for couples. Martini said the entry fee gets attendees a hamburger, hot dog, potato salad, baked beans and all the fixings.

Some of the big-hearted sponsors that kicked in are the Lowman Law Firm of New Port Richey and Brooksville's Fort Huffstetler. Martini was appreciative to Venom 2, a motorcycle bar and repair shop in Hudson, that donated the cost of the food.

People wanting to know more about Goodfellows can visit the club's Facebook page at Goodfellows MC Hernando.

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