Key Peninsula Middle School’s Kady Soucie gets a surprise visit and is lifted onto a motorcycle last month by Tony Russo and Ron “Buffalo” Schmidt, middle. The sixth-grader designed a T-shirt for the annual July benefit run for the Key Peninsula Family Resource Center. A pack of friends honored her by rolling into school with a shirt to show their gratitude. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

Take a group of big-hearted motorcycle riders, an artistic 11-year-old, a 110-mile ride and a good cause, put them all together and you have the fourth annual benefit run for the Key Peninsula Family Resource Center.

According to Anna Clark-Russo, organizer and co-founder of the event, this year’s run will take place July 19. The run starts at O’Callahan’s Pub & Grill in Key Center and ends at Jimmy D’s 94th Avenue Pub, near Wauna.

The idea began four years ago when Clark-Russo, her husband, Tony Russo, and her brother, Robert Wright, “started talking about what we could do to help the families on the Key Peninsula,” Clark-Russo said.

“We had supported so many causes on the other side of the (Narrows) bridge for families, veterans and children, but nothing was going on out here on the Peninsula.”

The trio asked Jud Morris, program manager of the Children’s Home Society’s Key Peninsula Family Resource Center, what could be done to help families here. “We told him we wanted to put some kind of motorcycle run together,” she said.

The first year, 10 motorcycle riders participated and the event raised $752. The money went to Children’s Home Society.

“Last year we had 36 riders and we raised almost $1,100,” Clark-Russo said. “The event doesn’t have an official title. It’s just the annual run for the kids.”

Russo said, “We’re just a bunch of bikers that are buddies. We all come together for a good cause. It’s called the Children’s Home Society Run.”

This year, organizers got the idea to create an official T-shirt for the run and Clark-Russo, who happens to be a para-educator at Key Peninsula Middle School, suggested having art students design the shirt.

The design submitted by KPMS sixth-grader Kady Soucie was chosen as the winner.

KPMS principal Jeri Goebel called Kady “a very artistic, independent kind of girl and an excellent role model for all the kids at school.”

Kady’s design included a drawing of a motorcycle on the front. “I even signed it,” she said. She was surprised when “a bunch of motorcycles” zoomed up to the school to present her with her award –– the shirt.

“I think she’s a little embarrassed, because she doesn’t really like the spotlight, but I know she’s excited,” Kady’s mother, Kali Nesseth, said. “She’s such a great kid. She donates all of her time to helping people. She’s always volunteering for animals, for people –– everything. She’s just an amazing kid all around.”

Kady’s design was a winner in more ways than one.

“As soon as we brought the first shirt out, people wanted to buy them,” Russo said.

In addition to T-shirts, there will be “lots of raffle prizes” during the run, he added. There’s also a silent auction and a pig roast and live music by Snakebite at Jimmy D’s after the event.

“We don’t want to put the emphasis on bikers. If you want to ride a bicycle or drive your car, you can do the whole run with us. Because it’s about raising money for the community,” Russo said.

“My biggest goal is we’re just trying to help the kids and the families on the Peninsula,” Robert Clark said.

“Jud (Morris) will be there at the end of the run to talk about what the Family Resource Center is and what it does and has done over the years, and how much this means to them. And I just want people to know that there are people on the Peninsula who want to help others –– and if they can, they will. Every little bit we raise will help,” Clark said.

According to Morris, the resource center serves more than 3,500 people every year.

“We can always use help. We have a lot of programs that are open to everyone. There’s no economic requirement,” Morris said.

“I think these folks are fantastic. They’re demonstrating a community support that’s just fabulous. These are community people helping our community. They all live here so they’re all familiar with the kinds of problems we have on the Key Peninsula. They really want to pay it back and pay it forward and give back.”

To contribute to CHS, call (253) 884-5433.

The fourth annual Benefit Run for Children’s Home Society’s Key Peninsula Family Resource Center takes place July 19. Check-in time is 9:30 a.m. at O’Callahan’s Pub & Grill, 15610 92nd St. KPN. Entry fee is $20 per person; $30 per couple. For information, call 253-225-0050 or 253-576-7499 after 2 p.m.

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