PIONEER: July 26, 2014: Americans’ capacity for charity is unending; selflessness, concern for others, giving, caring, and the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor are traits ingrained in the American Soul; the number of participants at this weekend’s events in remembrance of Kaleb was heartwarming, and proves once again why the people of Northwest, Ohio are true, everyday heroes who define the American Spirit!
The 2014 “Kaleb McLaughlin Memorial Ride and Organ Donor Awareness Event,” was hosted by the Pioneer American Legion Post #308, and sponsored by the “Fire and Iron Station 84 Northwest Ohio Motorcycle Club.” Kaleb’s parents, Kevin and Kim Oxender from Pioneer were the driving force behind this weekend’s event, and the funds raised will provide a tremendous boost to several local organizations and agencies in Kaleb’s honor. The Oxenders’ lost their son Kaleb McLaughlin in an automobile accident on June 24, 2013, just 20 days after his 20th birthday.
Saturday’s festivities kicked off with the arrival of riders from all over Ohio, with some coming from as far away as Chicago to attend and support the Memorial Ride. Also set up were a number of children’s attractions, including the always favorite “dunk tank,” manned by Josh Sawyer of Pioneer, along with his fellow North Central High School classmates. Inside the Legion Post, the North Central FFA hosted a free will donation lunch along with a wide assortment of desserts and treats. The American Red Cross also supported the event with an onsite donation education center, which provided education on donor issues and why it is important. The memorial also included a Blood Drive, a Silent Auction, an onsite Gun Raffle donated and conducted by “The Archery Spot,” along with children’s entertainment such as face painting, play houses, and rides for the little tots. Everyone in attendance also sported the orange “Kaleb McLaughlin Memorial Ride” shirts specifically designed for this afternoon’s participants.
The big event began at 1:00 p.m. in front of the Pioneer American Legion when the Village came alive with the roar of the almost 150 motorcycles in attendance for the Memorial Ride. With the Pioneer Police Department leading the way, the orange shirted riders began to file out of the Village and their way for a 96 mile scenic ride in honor of Kaleb. Kim stated after the conclusion of Saturday’s activities “we experienced the harsh, bittersweet reality of Organ Donation, but God has given us an unexplainable peace. Everyone involved in today’s Memorial has been very supportive and the funds we raise today will go a long way towards supporting each of Kaleb’s causes, and we are very grateful for the exceptional support everyone in attendance has provided here this afternoon!” According to both Kim and Kevin, it is their intension to make this an annual event in their son Kaleb’s memory and continue to support the causes he believed in.