Church secretary joins biker crowd

NEIGHBORS

April 16, 2002|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NANCY BRIGHT is a biker chick.

Most people know Bright as the personable financial secretary at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Crofton. For 13 years, she has been a mainstay of church operations, helping with religious education programs and, more recently, serving as financial administrator.

Everyone knows Bright as a woman with a ready smile and a friendly and generous spirit. But a biker?

Until recently, the Severn woman was intimidated by motorcycles. For more than 20 years, she has ridden on the back of her husband Wayne's motorcycle. The idea of being in control of that big machine was more than she could deal with.

Then Wayne bought her a bike.

This particular motorcycle is a Honda 450, small enough to not intimidate her, with a seat low enough that her feet reach the pavement.

In February, Nancy got her motorcycle learner's permit. Now, as her teen-age son did a few years ago, she has discovered the thrill of finally being the one in control of driving.

"It's exhilarating," she says. "The feeling of freedom, the wind in your hair!" (She always wears a helmet, but even under a helmet, she notes, the breeze whips through her hair.)

Why, after all these years, did Bright finally decide that she wanted to master motorcycling?

It's the people. Bikers, says Bright, are "excellent people."

Unlike the stereotypical menacing bikers, she has found motorcyclists to be friendly people who are fun to be with and very generous. Bright and her husband have taken part in motorcycle fund-raisers to support a variety of causes and she has always been impressed by the open hearts of the bikers she's met.

They've participated in fund-raising rides for the children of policemen killed in the line of duty. After the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, bikers organized a ride to raise money for the victims. A huge group of bikers rode around the Baltimore Beltway, carrying flags, to the wonder of onlookers. The bikers leapt at the chance to pay for the privilege of riding in the fund-raiser, she said.

She recalled "toy runs" to benefit disabled children at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Bikers strap teddy bears and dolls on their backs, tie bags of toys to their motorcycles and drive across Baltimore to the hospital. Bright recalls tears in the eyes of grown men as they bent down to offer toys to the little children.

Last summer, the Brights took part in Ride Across Maryland, a two-day motorcycle ride from Columbia to Deep Creek Lake. The event raised more than $100,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fight breast cancer through research, education, support and treatment. Bright was so impressed by the spirit shown by the bikers in the event that she decided she wanted to become part of the effort - not just riding along with her husband, but joining in as a full-fledged biker.

So Wayne started bike shopping. She got her bike. She got her learner's permit. And, on June 1, she will join hundreds of other bikers in this year's breast cancer fund-raiser.

The fight against breast cancer is dear to Nancy Bright's heart because she knows many breast cancer survivors. She is excited to help continue the fight, working toward the eradication of the disease.

How does Nancy Bright feel about taking on the role of biker at 45 years of age?

"I am tickled," she says. "I never thought I'd have the nerve to get on a motorcycle and drive. But I enjoy it. There's a solitude and a peacefulness, even despite the noise. But the best part is when you are with a group of bikers."

Retirees' meeting

Crofton Area Retired Persons (CARP) will meet at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Seton parish hall. This month's speaker will be the Rev. Joe Breighner, a Roman Catholic priest affiliated with the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. He is a commentator on the radio program Country Roads and a columnist for The Catholic Review.

Lunch will be served after Breighner's presentation. Membership in the organization is open to area retirees age 55 and older. Annual dues are $10 and the monthly luncheons cost $8. Information: Patrick Rubilotta, 410-721-2143.

Good nutrition

Area shoppers can visit nutrition booths, taste-test healthy foods and take home free recipes this weekend at Super Fresh supermarket in Odenton, where the Anne Arundel County Health Department is sponsoring a Good Food For Good Health Weekend.

Designed to help consumers choose healthier foods, the weekend is part of the Health Department's Learn to Live cancer prevention program. Good Food for Good Health Weekend hours at the store will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Information: 410-222-7979.

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