This visit, which originated with Cpl. Larry Martin of the Griffin Police Department, formerly the Crossroads school resource officer, has become an annual event at the school, which serves special-needs students within the Griffin-Spalding County School System.
“When you do that type of work, as a school resource officer, you develop a special relationship with the kids,” Martin said. “That’s what I have with the kids at Crossroads. I enjoy being able to go back over there to visit - seeing some of my old students and meeting some new ones. They are great kids.”
In addition to club members spending time with the students, the annual visit serves yet another valuable purpose - the donation of can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House charity, which provides housing for the families of seriously ill children receiving medical care at hospitals a distance from their homes.
“The kids and teachers all collect these tabs - it’s a group effort,” Martin said. “These are kids with special needs of their own and they spend their time helping other kids and their families who otherwise might be separated while the children are hospitalized. These kids are something else.”
“We collect the can tabs for the Southside Riders Olivia Andrews Tab Run. This is the fourth year we’ve done this,” said Mike Brooks, president of the Blue Knights. “The tabs go to the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus.”
Brooks said the 2006 tab run collected enough aluminum to pay the charity’s utility bills for approximately a full year.
“The Ronald McDonald House is an excellent place,” said Brooks, who added that the participation of the faculty and students of Crossroads is a bonus to Blue Knights members.
“They’re special kids over there. Larry Martin use to be the SRO at Crossroads and he got us started going over there,” Brooks said. “We just took a liking to them and they took a liking to us.”
Martin agrees that Blue Knights members get as much out of the visit as the children do.
“We love doing stuff like this. Anything that we can do for anybody with special needs, we’re all up for that,” Martin said.
The Ninth Annual Olivia Andrews Tab Run will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, at Applebee’s in North Griffin Square. Registration will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. with a fee of $10 per rider and passenger. For information call 770-227-6174.