Local man pops tabs for a good cause

Local man pops tabs for a good cause

This year the Southside Riders Association will be riding in their 16th Annual Oliva Andrews Tab Run, an effort benefiting the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, Georgia.

Fayetteville resident John Osse started collecting aluminum can tabs for the cause around ten years ago. Last Saturday he delivered 250 pounds of tabs that he’d gathered himself, and with the generous help of friends around the country.

Osse, a retired Delta mechanic, said he takes part in the charity as a “friendly competition” against other avid motorcycle riders. Though the competition is friendly and benefits a good cause, Osse aims to win. He and other members of a Goldwing group in Fayetteville have been involved with the charity for a while, and have managed to submit the most tabs before.

“To me, if you haven’t won, you’re the first loser,” Osse joked. “A couple other groups have given us some real competition.”

Osse gets help from friends around the country who send tabs in from Kansas, Florida, Montana, and Las Vegas, among other places. One friend of his, a Delta flight attendant, collects tabs after each of his flights.

The Olivia Andrews Tab Run is named for the niece of Arnie and Kim Cobb, members of the Southside Riders who were inspired to begin the charity ride after experiencing the challenges that Olivia, born premature, and her parents Toni and Shane Andrews went through.

Toni and Shane stayed at the Ronald McDonald house in Colombus while Olivia was hospitalized for three months. As tough as the experience was for them, it turned out alright as Olivia is now a healthy young girl.

Arnie was inspired to give back to the Ronald McDonald House by organizing his fellow riders to collect “pop tabs” to be donated for the value of the aluminum within, in the hopes of providing money for the families that are serviced at the Ronald McDonald House. The first year they collected 164 pounds of tabs (it takes around 1,500 tabs to get to a pound) and got 28 bikers to ride from Griffin to Columbus.

That number swelled to 3,568 pounds of tabs and around 1,000 bikers by 2005.

John Osse shows off his pins from past Tab Runs.
John Osse shows off his pins from past Tab Runs.

The Ronald McDonald House provides lodging and meals to the parents of children who are hospitalized long term in Columbus. The mission is to “provide a home away from home for families of seriously ill children who are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.”

Many of the children that come to Columbus need care for weeks, months, or even more than a year in some cases, which can be very costly and strenuous for the effected families. The Ronald McDonald House aims to alleviate those strains by giving them accommodation and support.

Each year the group that brings in the most tabs gets possession of a traveling trophy.

Osse hopes to show well again this year, and he could use help starting to collect for next September.

Osse can be contacted at 770-460-0955.

For information about the Olivia Andrews Tab Run or to find out how you can help, you can contact Arnie Cobb at 770-900-6131, Dennis Scott at 678-386-5080, Frank Castile at 678-458-0621, or Mona Castile at 678-849-0533.

Josh Akeman

Josh Akeman is the managing editor of the Fayette County News, Today in Peachtree City, and East Coweta Journal. He is a graduate of Fayette County High School and the University of Georgia.