PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

March 30, 2013

Hundreds show up for annual bike blessing

PORT ARTHUR — The Rev. Sinclair Oubre took a ride towards the heavens but not on a motorcycle Saturday.

Oubre, along with Deacon Tim Istre, stood in the bucket of a Terrell’s Tree Service truck and were lifted about two stories above hundreds of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts at the Port Arthur International Seafarers Center during the 18th Annual B.J. Stelly Bike Blessing.

The event benefits the Seafarers Center and Children’s Miracle Network as well as offering a blessing for the riders as they embark on prime riding season which coincides with Easter season and asking for God’s safety.

Howard Chipman, of Groves, remembers attending the first bike blessing around 1995. The event took place outside a trailer which was used by the center.

“Father (Sinclair Oubre) is a personal friend of mine and I want to support him and his causes,” Chipman said adding that he attended for the bike blessing and to made a donation. “There aren’t too many places that do something like this. This has grown and developed a life of its own.”

Chipman said the first few bike blessings were small with most of the attendees personal friends of Oubre, who is also a motorcycle rider.

Doreen Badeaux, president of the Seafarers Center, gave some history behind the event and of its namesake.

B.J. Stelly, she said, was recovering addict who became a volunteer at the center as a way to give back to society. Tragically he was killed in a motorcycle accident while riding back from New Orleans.

Badeaux said upwards of 700 people show up for the blessing and about 250 or so take part in the benefit run.

Michelle Gussman, of Christus Health Foundation and director of CMN, said this is the first year of a partnership between the center and CMN, something she is very excited about.

“One hundred percent of funds raised stay in Southeast Texas and help children in Southeast Texas,” Gussman said. “I’m excited about this new partnership. We’re reaching out to a new segment of the community.”

Gussman isn’t new to the maritime area; she spent 15 years working at the Port of Beaumont.

“I have a special place in my heart for the seafarers,” she said.

The seafarers, Badeaux said, add to the local economy while in town by shopping locally.

“They have a large economic impact on the community,” she said.

The event included the Yahtzee Run, bike blessing and a gumbo lunch.

Plans are ongoing for next year’s event which will feature a Nun Run.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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