BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
Coordinators for the annual Danville firefighters’ poker run are looking for potential charities to receive the funds raised.
The annual event is entering its 15th year, started by the Friendly Tavern in 1999. Danville Firefighters IAFF Local 429 union has been involved for the last seven years.
Firefighter Justin Watt has been the coordinator of the poker run for several years. He said in the past, a number of charitable organizations have applied to receive the funds from this year’s event.
Coordinators then select a charity to receive the funds.
This year, only one organization — Kennekuk County Park for the nature education center under construction — has put in an application.
“I know there’s more out there that need help,” he said.
Watt said there are several organizations that annually apply for the money, but he has not heard from them.
For more than a decade, the funds raised by the event have helped a number of local organizations, ranging from Shop With A Cop and the Make-A-Wish Foundation to Faith In Action and Aunt Martha’s Health Clinic. More than $70,000 has been generated during the run’s history.
Last year, the poker run raised a total of $8,800 for two veterans’ charities.
The deadline for the poker run coordinators to receive the charity application is March 29. Applications are available online.
Watt said once the deadline passes, poker run coordinators will look over the applications and decide upon a recipient. The decision is based on factors including which is believed to have the most need. Sometimes the choice is based on a theme for the ride, Watt said, such as when Peer Court and CASA were selected under the idea of helping kids.
The event, in recent years, has grown to more than 500 motorcyclists up until last year. A group of only 80 motorcycles participated the first year of the poker run.
Charities interested in an application for the Danville firefighters’ poker run can find it online at http://www.danvillefirefighters.com or search for Danville Firefighters & Friendly Tavern Poker Run on Facebook.