The area public safety community gathered in force Saturday to raise funds for needy kids and to honor one of their own who lost his life earlier this year.

The annual Madison County Toy Ride was held at Madison County Memorial Park, with motorcyclists from various organizations gathering for an approximate 25-mile ride and a fund-raiser for local needy kids.

The route included a drive down Hunt Road where Department of Natural Resources Captain Stan Elrod, 49, of Danielsville lost his life while jogging Sept. 3 when he was struck by a motorist.

Magistrate Judge and event organizer David Patton got choked up addressing the bikers on hand before their ride, while detailing the route. He spoke moments earlier about Elrod.

“Captain Elrod was well known by a lot of us who have been in law enforcement for a long time,” said Patton. “He was a fantastic fellow. He supported young people. He would take days off just so he could take them on a hunting trip if they were disabled or if it was a last wish type thing. And that organization he was with, he put in a lot of time and effort. He was a good guy.”

Franklin County Game Warden Tim Vickery offered some words before the event about his close friend.

“Stan was my friend; he was a good friend, but after he got killed, the more I talked to folks the more I realized he was everybody’s good friend,” said Vickery. “Stan just had that personality.”

Vickery joked that his friend could be a “smart aleck,” but he was a “lawman’s lawman.”

“Somebody said it best the other day,” said Vickerky. “Going forward for a game warden, Stan Elrod will be the litmus test that you’re measured against. We’re going to miss him. It hurts now. Time will ease that a little bit, but there’s always going to be that void. And I appreciate y’all coming out and doing this for him. We’re going to miss him. We love him. We think about him every day.”

The gazebo at Memorial Park was filled with toys for kids and the motorcycles rolled onto Hwy. 29 toward Booger Hill Road on a perfect day for a ride for about 50 motorcyclists.

“Since we’ve done this, this has been the best weather we’ve been blessed with,” said Patton of the 17th-annual event. “Glad to see all of the bikers here.”

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