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Riders deliver bunnies, smiles to area children

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
Colorful, furry Easter bunnies are quite the contrast to leather vests and roaring exhausts, but that difference becomes irrelevant when it comes to putting a smile on a child's face.

That contrast was the setting for the sixth annual Pennsylvania Bunny Run as more than 200 motorcycles departed the grounds of the 193rd Special Operations Wing, Middletown, Pa., to make their first stop at the Hershey Medical Center to deliver Easter related items to children hospitalized there.

"We want to do something for the kids other than what's done at Christmas so they know they aren't forgotten," said Master Sgt. Timothy Greiner, co-founder of the Pennsylvania Bunny Run.

The 193rd Motorcycle Club hosts the Pennsylvania Bunny Run annually, with this year bringing in the largest amount of riders and participants. More than 250 participants rode motorcycles or drove vehicles to deliver more than 1,400 bunnies to the children of 24 local area hospitals.

The Bunny Run is open to any motorcycle rider wanting to participate. Greiner said the motorcycle clubs in the area are what helps keep the run going year after year. Some of the clubs in participation this year include the Warrior Brothers, Guardians, Red Knights, Gold Wing Chapter V, Susquehanna Valley Big Twins, and Lancaster Hog.
With there now being satellite rides out of York, Woolrich, New Jersey, and Reading, the future of the Bunny Run is expanding, Greiner said. "Next year a larger expansion is being planned for the entire Northern tier of Pennsylvania."

He said their goal is to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania within the next three years.

"It's like watching your kids grow," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Fanning, co-founder of the Pennsylvania Bunny Run, of the growth of the event. "It's gotten a lot easier and gone a lot smother because there's now so many people involved."

For Master Sgt. Sue McMurray, 193rd material management supervisor, it was her first time participating in this ever-growing event.

"To be part of such a great event and to see the children smile when they were given the animals was out of this world," she said. "It made me stop and think that no matter how bad my day is theirs' is worse, yet they seemed so happy that someone came to visit and would think of them in their time of need; it melted my heart."
McMurray said this will not be her last time riding in the Bunny Run and that she's actively recruiting fellow riders to join in next year's event.

Greiner said the hard part about the ride is that there are children in the hospital during a holiday, but the best part is getting to see the kids smile and being able to have a part in that. "It's emotional every year," he said.

With the conclusion of this year's Bunny Run, their sights are already set on making plans for next year's Greiner said.

"We're making plans for next year to incorporate a pancake breakfast at the Hummelstown Fire Department," Greiner said. "So not only will the motorcycle club be helping the children, we will be able to provide a fund raiser for the fire department."

Fanning said as planning for next year's Pennsylvania Bunny Run begins, the 193rd Motorcycle Club will do so with the goal of combing two loves; the love of riding and being able to put a smile on children's faces.