Community Champions

Jim Strawser Rehab Specialist/ Facilities Manager, NeuroRestorative Avalon Park
Grant Recipient, Shriners Hospital For Children

As a dedicated motorcycle enthusiast, Jim Strawser has been participating in motorcycle runs to benefit local charities for many years.

“I’ve seen a lot of people get hurt in my 32 years working in the field of brain and spinal cord injury,” shared Jim. “I’ve always wanted to help people, and I’ve ridden motorcycles all my life. Volunteering through motorcycle runs allows me to blend my two passions.”

Jim participates in a number of charitable motorcycle runs in Florida every year. These include the “Russell Home Run,” which benefits the Russell Home for Atypical Children, a private group home serving severely disabled children in Orlando, “Ribbon Riders for Cancer,” which supports women battling breast cancer, “Bikers Against Child Abuse,” which protects and empowers victims of child abuse, and a run for the Wounded Eagles Bird Sanctuary at Sanford Zoo. Riders typically meet up at a local Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership and proceed to ride for long stretches of time- sometimes up to 8 hours- following city and country roads.  At the end of each run, participants, friends and family gather for food, raffles, silent auctions, and other fundraising initiatives to benefit their cause. Events typically last the entire day and can draw up to 700 motorcyclist enthusiasts.

Jim takes an active role in leading motorcycle runs in addition to his participation. He serves as the chairman for the annual “Veteran’s Motorcycle Run,” organizing a team of volunteers ride to VA nursing homes in Orlando and Daytona each winter. The riders distribute care packages and host a festive barbeque for the veterans, providing them cheer and support during the holiday season.

Jim is also a “Shriner,” a long-standing member of Shriners International, an organization best known for its fundraising efforts to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children, and the red fez hats worn by members.

“My grandad was a Shriner and it’s something that’s always been in my family,” shared Jim. “I started getting involved as a teenager and haven’t stopped!”

As part of the Bahia Shrine in Central Florida, Jim organizes various motorcycle runs, including the Sam Swope Memorial Charity Ride, which recently celebrated their seventh annual run and raised $344,000 for the hospital. Shriners have a strong focus toward helping children, especially around the holidays. Every Christmas, Shriners organize carnivals for kids in disadvantaged communities, distributing toys and allowing kids to ride on go-carts, get their faces painted, and other fun activities.

“It’s all about helping the kids,” said Jim.  “A lot of them wouldn’t have a Christmas without this.”

“Jim has a strong work ethic,” said Patti Dorrell, Executive Director at NeuroRestorative.  “One of commitment, dedication, perseverance and reliability. Jim demonstrates these qualities every day as an employee of NeuroRestorative Avalon Park, as well as through his service projects in the community. We are proud to have him as part of our team.”

“I have met some of the most dedicated people throughout my years of volunteering. People with the biggest hearts, volunteering and striving to giving back, to improve lives of others,” said Jim. “We all need to remind ourselves every day that if we are blessed, we need to share those blessings.”

There are 22 Shriners Hospital for Children facilities throughout the country, each dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. All care and services are provided to children in need, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.

Learn more about Shriners