ST. PETERSBURG — The party lights lit up the room and the sounds of old-school jams reverberated off the walls of the Elks Club last month for an electric evening of celebration for Donnie Williams, as he celebrated his 64th birthday. A cheering crowd of approximately 100 people joined in to recognize one of the city’s most outstanding retired police officers.
Williams is the president of the Nite Riders Van Club and retired major from the St. Petersburg Police Department. He spent the last four years inspiring youth in the community as part of the club’s Youth Division.
“Donnie is an awesome man, great leader and a positive role model,” said Latricia Morrow, a member of the Nite Riders organization. “Tonight shows that there are many people who love, support and appreciate what he does for the community.”
The Nite Rider Girlz organized the event to honor Williams’ birthday. Guest feasted on gourmet sandwich trays, a mix of salads and a variety of meat dishes and desserts. The evening was combined with the Elks Club who sponsors a Thursday game night for its members and guest at 1331 18th Ave. S.
“I have known Donnie Williams for half of my life, and he is a wonderful person. He does a wonderful job. The Nite Riders Girlz enjoyed putting together a celebration for someone so deserving,” stated Eileen J. Boozy.
In true party form, trash talkers gathered at the bid whist card tables daring each other to play their best hand while bluffing that they could do better. Lead trash talker Boozy, a former high school basketball coach, and her partner had the “I refuse to lose mentality.”
A station for dominoes attracted another group of competitors. Players positioned their hands, paying particular attention to every precise move of their opponent, while on the other side of the room, old friends had a chance to catch up on life.
“We had such a great time tonight,” said Shartell Tilllman, aka Cotton Candy, vice president of the Nite Riders. “Tonight is a time to enjoy each other and show appreciation for one of our own.”
The Nite Riders Van Club got its start in 1984 when a group of 11 men decided that St. Pete needed a club where its members could socialize and travel throughout the region. In 1988, Williams was elected president of the organization and has held that position ever since. The Nite Riders Van Club have weekly gatherings at the Elks Club.
This Sunday, Aug. 5, the Nite Riders will host their annual Back-to-School Family Bash at Dell Holmes Park, 2901 22nd St. S. From 1 p.m. until all of the food and school supplies are gone, this free event will feature games and a host of children activities.
The Nite Riders are making sure kids return to school in style.
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