By Faithe Colas
Salvation Army, Community Relations Director
The spectacular Harley- Davidson Museum’s ® ‘Bike Night’ event served as the perfect backdrop for the arrival of Ruben Brown to Milwaukee, the last stop on his eight-city, 7,000 mile cross country trek to raise awareness and money for Salvation Army social service programs geared toward youth and others in need.
Brown is a big man with a big heart. He understands the importance of giving back to those who have given to him and reaching back to bring those along who need a helping hand. From a young boy who spent his early years playing in Salvation Army sponsored programs in Buffalo, New York, to an adult playing the game he loved as an offensive guard for professional football teams the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills, Brown has willingly shared his good fortune with those who are less fortunate.
“As a kid growing up participating in Salvation Army programs, I saw firsthand how people can have little or nothing at all, yet still have the opportunity to achieve something great.” It’s in that spirit that Brown launched his Ruben Brown Motorcycle Run; now in its eleventh year.
During his three day stay in Milwaukee, Brown met with Salvation Army officials and benefactors of the organization. Brown took a walking tour through the Harley-Davidson Museum’s ® vast motorcycle exhibit with children and their families who have found temporary shelter in the Salvation Army Emergency Lodge. He told stories of his childhood, took pictures with the kids, signed autographs and treated the young people to soft drinks.
Over the roar of hundreds of Harley-Davidson® bikes, you hear the “oohs and ahs” of the youngsters crowded around.
Brown’s visit certainly met its goal of raising awareness while helping The Salvation Army to strengthen local partnerships and build new relationships. Salvation Army Divisional Commander for Wisconsin & Upper Michigan, Major Robert Thomson said, “We were extremely thrilled and grateful to have Milwaukee selected as a stop for Ruben’s Motorcycle Run. It was so important for him to share with the youth we serve how The Salvation Army positively impacted his life.”
Brown’s stay in Milwaukee was short, but it undoubtedly left a lasting impression.