“Monkey Run” planned for second Sunday of September

Motorcyclists gather at the Double Diamond Steakhouse in New Plymouth for the “Bring Monkey Home” Benefit Poker Ride on Aug. 21. The Brunswick Club in Fruitland will host its “Monkey Run” fundraiser on Sept. 12, to benefit the family of missing five-year-old Michael Joseph “Monkey” Vaughan.

FRUITLAND — Any local motorcyclists who missed last weekend’s “Bring Monkey Home” Benefit Poker Ride may be interested in joining the upcoming “Monkey Run” fundraiser for the family of missing five-year-old Michael Joseph “Monkey” Vaughan. The event will kick off at the Brunswick Club in Fruitland on Sept. 12 at 10 a.m., making stops in New Plymouth, Middleton and Caldwell, before returning to Fruitland in the afternoon.

The event is organized by Brunswick Club owner Rhonda Collins. She said she put together the event because of her close connection to Michael’s parents, Tyler and Brandy.

“We know this family; The dad taught me how to be a bartender,” said Collins in a phone interview Monday afternoon. 

According to Collins, there have been 112 people registered for the run as of press time.

Participants in the Monkey Run will receive a blue ribbon to attach to their motorcycles, as well as blue bandanas to wear. Blue is Michael’s favorite color, with several area residents installing blue lamps on their homes as a show of support for his family as the search continues.

The event will include a raffle and an auction featuring what Collins describes as “high ticket” items.

“Somebody even donated a horse,” said Collins.

Collins said she plans to conduct the Monkey Run annually, whether Michael is safely recovered or not. She said the reason is because there are many more missing children across the country, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation reporting 365,348 missing child entries in 2020.

Collins said that while a beneficiary for future runs has not been selected yet, the aim is to benefit missing and endangered children. In Michael’s case, she hopes that efforts will “either bring him home or give [his family] some closure.”

Registration for the event is $20 per rider or $25 per couple. To register for the event, visit its Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3sZZKUX.

Cash donations for the family are being accepted at the Brunswick Club, 213 S.W. Third St., Fruitland, or through the Robert Vaughan Fund at WaFd Bank.

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