Monday, December 16, 2019 04:39am
North Adams, MA now: 25 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Printer Friendly Version
   Recommend this story to a friend

iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Four-Wheel Food Drive Benefits Northern Berkshires

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, November 06, 2005

Dean Kapura of Farmington, Conn. changes a tire on a modified 1979 Jeep CJ, while Alan Laidlaw takes a closer look at the vehicle.
North Adams – Alan Laidlaw of Naugatuck, Conn., has carried a passion for anything motorized and in motion throughout most of his life.

“When I was 21, I bought a Corvette and I built it to go as fast as it would go,” said the silver-haired Laidlaw, who acknowledged that his 20s are now a pit stop along memory lane. “Now that I’m 60, I build ‘em to go as slow as they can.”

Laidlaw is no longer converting Corvettes into racing cars, but don’t confuse “slow” with “dull.” Laidlaw was among a group of over 50 four-wheel drive rough-road riders who gathered at the Whitcomb Summit Motel on Nov. 6 to begin what could hardly be described as a boring Sunday drive. Beginning at about 10 a.m.,four-wheel drive vehicles such as Jeeps lumbered and labored –with permission- along unmaintained municipal roads and navigated tricky-to-travel, rocky, and washed-out areas.

Four Wheelin' For Food

The ride was organized as a community service endeavor.

Sponsored by the Connecticut-based CTJEEP four-wheel drive club, the event included a required driver “entry fee” of canned goods destined for the Northern Berkshire Community Action non-profit agency. The Northern Berkshire action office operates as part of the Pittsfield-based Berkshire Community Action Council, Inc..

At about 4:30 p.m., a pick-up truck, its' truck bed filled with bags of food, and a Jeep Cherokee, its’ rear space bulging with sacked canned goods, made delivery to NBCA Area Director Marie Harpin, who met the vehicles at the 85 Main St. agency site. The community action office is closed on Sunday; a grateful Harpin said that she was happy to come to the building and accept the contributions.

“It was good of them to do this, very good of them,” Harpin said. “This is truly appreciated.”

The club donated a $168 check and a $26 cash contribution to the agency as well.

"[The financial] contributions will be used for fresh meat and other items," Harpin said. "I am just delighted that they thought of us."

The CTJEEP group is among a slew of East Coast clubs affiliated with the East Coast 4-Wheel Drive Association. Michael Chapline of West Springfield is the club president; Laidlaw is a member of the CTJEEP club and the Eastern 4-Wheelers club, also based in Connecticut and affiliated with the larger association.

The Opposite of "Ya-hoos"


Dennis Janson and his daughter Hallie Janson participated in a Nov. 6 CTJEEP club four-wheel driving ride that benefitted the Northern Berkshire Community Action agency.
During a Nov. 4 telephone interview, Chapline spoke about four-wheel driving, the involvement of CTJEEP and other organizations in the promotion of responsible four-wheel drive activities, and a commitment to community service.

“This [the East Coast association] is a big association with a lot of smaller clubs,” Chapline said. “At least once or twice a month we’re in the Northern Berkshire, Southern Vermont area, and we appreciate being able to come up here. So we believe in giving something back to the communities that allow us to do what we love to do.”

Speaking on Nov. 6 at the motel parking lot, Laidlaw concurred.

“People can get the wrong idea about four-wheelers and the clubs,” he said. “They think we are ya-hoos who go ripping through the woods and tearing things up. We are just the opposite; we do a lot of [roadside] clean-ups, we do toy drives and food drives. I know that we want to give back to communities. It can be tough, especially on the East Coast, to find places to go. We want people to know how much we appreciate it.”

Food and toy drives allow the club members to deliver tangible thanks to welcoming communities, and clean-ups allow the members to demonstrate that they are interested in the environment. In April, the CTJEEP club sponsored a Notch Road clean-up and other organized clean-ups have occurred in parts of Bennington, Vt. and areas of Pownal and Stamford, Vt..

Picking Up The Mess

“When we went up to Notch Road, we took bags and bags of stuff out of there,” Chapline said.

In addition to bags of rubbish and trash, the Notch Road clean-up involved removing a large number of discarded tires and other large items, Chapline said.

“You can’t believe some of the stuff we take out during clean-ups,” said Laidlaw. “We take all kinds of debris, things like refrigerators, tires, mattresses, out of the woods.”

Club members don’t wait for designated clean-up events before removing trash from wooded areas, Laidlaw and Chapline said.

When we go in [to a woodland road], we take out what we take in, something that the campers and hikers should do,” said Laidlaw. “Many times, we take out more than we take in.”

Club members are required to carry specific tools and safety gear when participating in a club-sponsored ride, and most members also carry a product with the brand name “Peat Sorb” to handle vehicle oil spills, Laidlaw said.

“Peat Sorb” is advertised as an environmental hydrocarbon absorbent that “absorbs or encapsulates hydrocarbons on contact rather than absorbing the oil through surface tension,” according to information available at the www.peatsorb.com Internet web site. The product, when tested after being used for its’ intended purpose, reportedly passed the toxic characteristic leachate procedure, which means the substance can be disposed of as garbage rather than a hazardous substance.

"It's Always Nice to Give Back..."

Todd Violette of South Windsor, Conn., said that for him, “four-wheeling is a thrill.”

“I’m fortunate enough to be able to enjoy this, and I’m always happy to give back to these communities,” he said. “We like to show our appreciation for the communities that we ride in.”

One of the many vehicles used during a Nov. 6 four-wheel drive vehicle event that rolled off from the Whitcomb Summit Motel in Florida.


Dennis Janson and his daughter Hallie of Ridgefield, Conn. traveled to the region for the ride and its’ mission.

“There are not a lot of places on the East Coast to wheel,” Dennis Janson said. “We don’t want to abuse the privilege of being welcomed here. It’s always nice to be able to give something back, to say ‘thank you,’ and we do want to be known as a club that is appreciative.”

Michael Rossman of Westfield, Mass. arrived with a recently completed, rebuilt vehicle that Rossman said “began life as a 1993 Jeep.”

But after about $30,000 worth of modifications, “1993 Jeep” doesn’t quite describe the vehicle, Rossman said.

“Now it’s a mutt,” he said. “I just finished building this and I’ve had it out twice. I’m happy with it.”

Rossman said he was equally happy to participate in the food drive.

“We try to do a lot up here because we come here a lot,” he said.

Information about the CTJEEP club may be acquired at a www.ctjeep.org Internet web site.

Information about the Eastern4Wheelers club may be acquired at a www.eastern4wheelers.com Internet web site.

Information about the East Coast 4 Wheel Drive Association may be acquired at a www.ec4wda.org Internet web site.

For information about the Northern Berkshire Community Action agency call 413-663-3014.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
Your Comments
Post Comment
No Comments

 
View All
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
North Adams Tree Lighting...
North Adams kicked off the holiday season with the slightly...
Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest
Gabriel Abbott Schools annual Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest...
McCann LPN Graduation 2019
McCann Technical School held its pinning ceremony for 20...
Williamstown Veterans Day...
Williamstown's American Legion Post 152 holds Veterans Day...
Pittsfield Veterans Day 2019
The Pittsfield Veterans Day Parade stepped off at 10 a.m....
North Adams Veterans Day 2019
North Adams held its Veterans Day observes Monday morning...
Cross Country: Multiple teams...
Ted Yee finished second overall, and Colin Young placed...
Ephs Defeat Amherst, 31-9
Senior safety Ben Anthony's interception return for a...
G Soccer: Smith Academy vs...
Lenox girls soccer team won over Smith Academy 2-0 in the...
Football: Lee vs Hoosac...
Lee High football team wins over Hoosac Valley 12-7 on...
G Soccer: Frontier vs Mount...
McWeeny's successful PK clinched a 4-1 shootout win for the...
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved