Over $1,500 collected on Saturday for Taylor coat project
For Bill Werner of Fort Wayne, it was a sort of time travel back to last July when he and hundreds of other motorcyclists escorted the body of Nick Taylor from Fort Wayne to Berne to bring the local lad back to the community following the giving of his life for the nation in Afghanistan last July.
Saturday, Werner and several of those who were in that escort returned to Berne to help raise money for the Taylor family’s special project in honor of their son, funds to purchase coats to give to those with need.
“We were here last summer for that special time,” said Werner. “When we learned what was going on here today, there was no way that we were going to miss it. We figured that we rode to bring him down from Fort Wayne, we would do it again. We will continue to do so every year this is held.”
“We can fully appreciate this,” said Fort Wayne’s Dan Hill. “We have assisted in bringing a lot of soldiers home. We will never forget that day. We want to do all that we can to keep his memory alive.”
“We prayed for the Taylor family on the way here this morning,” said Tammy Velasco, who rode a bicycle in the event. “We thank God for such a beautiful day; we thank God for Nick. It’s a beautiful day and a beautiful ride in his honor.”
The coat giving is based on a situation that came up with Taylor in his childhood when his mother, Stephania, misunderstood her son’s motives in a situation concerning giving a coat away.
At the time, his parents (Tim and Stephania) had bought their son a nice new red coat in addition to his “everyday” blue coat. At the same time, Nick saw a friend who was wearing a coat with holes in it.
Taylor made some comments to his friend about the hole in the coat which embarrassed his (Taylor’s) mother. She suggested that Nick give the blue coat to the other boy. Taylor refused, which embarrassed his mother.
When she repeated and got the same response from her son, she pulled him to the other room for a lecture on generosity.
At that point, Taylor said, “I don’t want to give him my blue coat, I want to give him my new red coat!”
“Rather than teaching me a lesson, I learned the true meaning of sacrificial giving, just as Christ gave for us,” said Stephania Taylor.
Saturday, Stephania said that she was overwhelmed but not surprised by the town’s generous outpouring on behalf of the cause of her son.
She noted that she and her husband, Tim, have built another room on to the house to receive, organize and sort donated coats to be given away to those with needs.
“’Nick’s New Coat Project’ goes on through the summer months so we have a large amount of coats ready to go for winter,” said Taylor. “Nick just never wanted anyone to go without. We don’t either.”
“It was nice of the cop to escort us out,” said Kyle Glidewell, who rode a bicycle from the school. “I figured that this is such a good opportunity. This brings back a lot of memories about their family. I graduated with Drew.”
Saturday’s event was the first time that Brittany Steffen had participated in a fundraiser event.
“I did it so I could support a good cause,” said Steffen. “I went to high school with Nick. He can’t do this, but we can do it in his honor. For me, it was for all of our soldiers. Personally, I feel like this was a real accomplishment.”
Event organizer Phil Horton said that he was more than pleased with how things went, especially considering the fact that event is just getting underway.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Tim’s grandfather, Wilber Taylor, did the blessing for both the launching of the bicycles and motorcycles,” said Horton. “I’m already looking forward to next year. I’m sure there are things we’ve learned that will make next year even better.”
You need to be logged in to post comments on this article.