Haiti Relief Ride

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Dozens of motorcycle riders hit the streets of Birmingham today to raise funds meant to help firefighters in Haiti who lost their equipment in that devastating earthquake.

No one could be blamed for revving their Harley, Honda, or Yamaha and hitting the streets on a Saturday this warm and sunny, "With the weather as pretty as it was, I was gonna ride," said bike enthusiast Steve Peagler.

But these riders weren't just out for selfish enjoyment. Every mile they put under their wheels helped raise money for a special need in earthquake-devastated Haiti, the Haitian firefighters.

"We found out they were devastated by the earthquake, said Ernes Miller, Jr., the president of the Birmingham Professional Firefighters Association. "They only had 2 stations in the whole country, and they were pretty much devastated, so we decided as an organization, that we would try to help them to revitalize their fire protection."

"We've had a lot of support from other fire departments across the country that have called and said "hey, we've got this equipment." It's important for us to be able to warehouse the equipment until we can gather everything we need and then have the finances to get the equipment to Haiti," said Sebastian Carrillo, Vice-President of the BPFA.

And that's what the money raised today will go towards, setting up the logistics of moving tons of firefighting equipment from across the country onto the shores of a small island nation suffering without many of the basics right now, including firefighting.

"I felt like it was so important, because I know with Birmingham, it's a city if hope," said Ree'AL, who hosted the event. "We've gone through so much here in Birmingham, so we know what it feels like to have to perservere through so many obstacles. So I was onboard as soon as they called."

"I think about all of the children who were affected in Haiti and we're so blessed here in the U.S.," said Xaveria Lowery, who donated to the fund. "We have everything we need, and I just think it's very important to reach out to other people."

The Firefighters Association says between 50 and 100 riders took part in today's kickoff event, but now they're hoping for more support from local businesses and other charity groups in getting this firefighting relief effort off the ground.