GRAFTON—A group steeped in brotherhood and helping the community made a visit to Grafton on Saturday afternoon to make a donation to a worthwhile cause.
The Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club is a non-profit fraternal organization that prides itself on providing a bridge between law enforcement and the general public.
The club began as a way for current and past law enforcement officers with a love of motorcycles to come together to share in brotherhood and has grown into an extended family that cares deeply about one another, as well as the communities in which they live.
To help build their communities up, they hold fundraising events and then donate to local clubs, organizations, sport teams and projects.
On Saturday, the local chapter, West Virginia Chapter 2, paid a visit to Grafton to make a contribution to a project that Chapter President Ed Martin thought was very worthwhile.
After being informed about the International Mother’s Day Shrine’s Stained-Glass Restoration Project, the North Central West Virginia Chapter decided to help keep history alive in Taylor County
“Brother Lou Stevens came to one of our meetings and told us about the window restoration project and asked if we would be able to help,” revealed Martin. “This is about Mother’s Day. You can’t let something this historical and important just fall apart.”
He said that it was decided that every quarter this year, they would collect funds through their bingo and other fundraisers and make a donation quarterly to the program.
“We decided that each quarter, we would donate $1,500 to the stained-glass window restoration project, which would give them an extra $6,000 a year toward their goal,” Martin disclosed.
During their trip to the International Mother’s Day Shrine, they presented Board of Trustee Members Larry Richman and Marvin Gelhausen with the final check in the amount of $1,500, completing their $6,000 total contribution.
“Our fundraising has slowed down because of the current pandemic, but we are hoping that once it picks back up, we will be able to make additional donations to the project,” Martin said. “The amount of money donated will depend on how well our fundraisers go.”
According to Martin, the Blue Knights International Motorcycle Club West Virginia Chapter 2 began in 1987, and since that time has made nearly $160,000 in donations to local organizations, clubs, and sports teams, as well as individual causes.
“The money that we take in comes from our communities, so we try to give back into those communities,” he explained. “And in this instance, we wanted to do what we could to help out. This building must be taken care of.”
According to Richman, five windows have already been restored to their former glory, but the project is expected to be completed in 2022.
“We have two more that will be coming back soon and an additional two that will be taken to be worked on,” he shared. “At that time, we will have to write a check for $25,000, which covers the remainder of the cost of the restoration for the returning windows and a deposit on the two they are going to take.”
During the duration of the project, Williams Stained Glass Studio, of Pittsburgh, will be working restore 14 windows that measure 14 feet high by 11 inches wide, 11 windows that are 7.5 feet tall and 39 inches wide and one window measuring 19 feet tall by 48 inches wide.
“During the project, they will be re-leading windows, working to replace any broken glass and repairing or replacing the wooden window frames,” Richman disclosed. “They are also removing the old storm coverings on the outside of the building and replacing them.”
In total, the project is estimated to cost $400,000, a large undertaking. According to Richman, the International Mother’s Day Shrine Board has expensed $78,496.50 to date for the project.
“We are very happy to have received this generous contribution,” said Richman. “We have received wonderful support for our project this far. We will be using the interest on the trust fund that we received to help fund the window project.”
He said that the money in the fund will go to other projects for the building including an upgrade to the heating system, making the front entrance handicapped accessible and working to restore the bell tower, just to name a few.
Gelhausen voiced his appreciation for the continued support saying, “We are just very appreciative of all of the donations. Each contribution helps continue the work on this worthwhile entity that we must preserve and maintain.”
Those wishing to assist with the project are asked to mail donations to the International Mother’s Day Shrine, P.O. Box 513 Grafton, WV 26354. Contributions may also be hand delivered to the City of Grafton Finance Department, located at 1 West Main Street, Grafton.
Checks will need to be made payable to the Mother’s Day Shrine Stained-Glass Window Fund.
Additionally, donors may also make contributions through PayPal at www.internationalmothersdayshrine.org, or through GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/restore-the-mothers-day-shrine.