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Chief Warrant Officer Leonard J. Tippett, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Motorcycle Club president, presents a donation of $1,200 on behalf of the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Motorcycle Club and Power Toys, to Nakamoto Tomio, Suo-Oshima Town mayor, at the Oshima Island town hall on Thursday. The money was raised during the 3rd Annual Motorcycle Camp Meeting at Mutsu Park on Oshima Island, April 14-16.

Chief Warrant Officer Leonard J. Tippett, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Motorcycle Club president, presents a donation of $1,200 on behalf of the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Motorcycle Club and Power Toys, to Nakamoto Tomio, Suo-Oshima Town mayor, at the Oshima Island town hall on Thursday. The money was raised during the 3rd Annual Motorcycle Camp Meeting at Mutsu Park on Oshima Island, April 14-16. (Lendus B. Casey / U.S. Marine Corps)

To help support the scenic roads and parks Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni’s motorcyclists love to ride, the base Motorcycle Club used an Easter weekend gathering to raise $1,200 to donate to communities in Oshima, about an hour from the base.

“Everybody goes out there camping. It’s a really nice place,” said Kenneth Runyan, the Iwakuni Motorcycle Club road captain and a retired Marine sergeant major. “It’s a nice opportunity for us to pay something back.”

On Thursday, the club gave the donation to Oshima city mayor Tomio Nakamoto.

Runyan said the club began hosting a motorcycle camp — a camping and barbeque weekend — about three years ago.

Hisao Nishimura, the owner of an off-base motorcycle parts store, suggested the group use the camp as a fundraiser. Despite rain this year, about 320 attended and many others stopped by to check out the bikes.

“We didn’t expect it to get as big as it did,” said the club’s president, Chief Warrant Officer Len Tippett.

The club includes about 100 riders, a mixture of U.S. and Japanese servicemembers, civilians and employees. They frequently ride together with off-base clubs.

“We’ve got a lot of riders in this area,” Runyan said. “The main thing in common is our enthusiasm for the bikes.”

The city was so pleased with the donation and the event, Mayor Nakamoto offered to help sponsor it next year, Tippett said, adding that the donation will go to the community’s general fund, to improve facilities and recreation areas.

“There’s some really great things to do out there,” Tippett said. “It’s almost like a resort island.”

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