Axemen MC Discusses ‘Fill The Bus’ School Supplies Campaign

Jim Shanahan, left, and Keith Ecklund, discuss the Fill The Bus school supplies fundraiser during a Jamestown City Council work session meeting Monday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

A mantra for some motorcycle enthusiast is, “Two wheels equals freedom.”

During the next month in the greater Jamestown area, however, a new mantra might be, “Two wheels equals a Hello Kitty backpack.”

The Axemen Professional Firefighters Motorcycle Club New York Chapter 4 has started its annual “Fill The Bus” school supply fundraiser for the Jamestown and Falconer school districts.

On Monday, three members of the Axemen attended the Jamestown City Council work session meeting to discuss the school supply drive. Keith Ecklund, Axeman and retired Jamestown firefighter, said this is the fifth year for the fundraiser, which started out just for Jamestown schools for the first two years, but has included Falconer schools the last three.

He said collection points include all banks and credit unions. He added that Harley Davidson of Jamestown, Auto Credit, the South Side Redemption and other businesses and churches in the area are also collecting school supplies for the drive.

Ecklund said they mostly receive school supplies, but the group also receive cash donations. He said Cummins has donated $5,000 toward the fundraiser.

The collection at the various points throughout the community will continue through Friday, Sept. 21. On the following day, the Axemen will have a Fill The Bus event at Friendly’s from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ecklund said there will be a truck from the Jamestown Fire Department and a school bus in the parking lot of the restaurant. He said the week of Sept. 24 they will be distributing the school supplies to Jamestown and Falconer schools.

At the end of the presentation, the Jamestown City Council donated school supplies to the Axemen.

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and Chautauqua Striders also participate in the fundraiser.