Paulsen Appliance’s Donald Paulsen Got His Motor Running for Charity

Biker and Paulsen Appliance owner Donald Paulsen helped raise thousands of dollars at the 8th Annual Dekalb County Toy Run.

By Alan Wolf

Never let a little thing like rain get in the way of doing good, even if it involves a motorcycle outing.

That was the takeaway of Donald Paulsen, principal of Paulsen Appliance & Electronics in Sycamore, Ill., who also serves as the director of the Sycamore American Legion Riders. The motorcycle club is a key component of the annual Dekalb County Toy Run, held every September to raise funds for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program.

This year’s event was no different than the past seven Toy Runs – save for the rain. But as co-chairman of the project, Paulsen once again helped map out the bikers’ route, arrange a state police escort, and worked with local police and fire departments to ensure the safety of riders, pedestrians and other motorists.

The bad weather limited participation to 27 riders who made the 45-mile, hour-long fundraising drive on Sept. 21. Nevertheless, between the $10 entry fee and additional funds that were raised through silent auctions and a 50-50 raffle at an Elks Club afterparty, the group pulled in over $2,700 that day. Riders and party goers were also required to bring at least one unwrapped toy.

Paulsen himself donated a Mini Green Egg ceramic smoker and grill to the raffle, reflecting his store’s merchandise mix of indoor and outdoor appliances plus mattresses. The company was founded 42 years ago by his dad John, a longtime service technician who launched the business with Donald and daughter Lonnie. Their 3,500-square-foot showroom is located in downtown Sycamore, where it looks out on the town through three separate storefronts.

Combined with sponsorships from area businesses like Monsanto, which owns a local seed company, proceeds from the Toy Run topped $11,000, Paulsen reported, easily outpacing last year’s $6,800 haul – which itself represented more than the first six charity events combined.

All proceeds from the Toy Run will remain in local Dekalb County, Paulsen said, with the majority of the funds going to the DeKalb County Marine Corps Toys for Tots organization.

That’s when and where the 8th Annual Dekalb County Toy Run will once again be held to raise cash for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. The charity event is organized by the Sycamore American Legion Riders, a local motorcycle club that will hold an hour-long, 45-mile fundraising ride.

The club’s director, BrandSource member Donald Paulsen of Paulsen Appliance & Electronics in Sycamore, Ill., will charge you an entree fee of $10 plus an unwrapped toy to participate, motorcycle optional. The bulk of the revenue, however, is raised from sponsorships from area businesses including Monsanto, which owns a local seed company.

Paulsen said $9,000 has already been raised in sponsorships alone, outpacing last year’s total haul of $6,800 – which in itself was more than the first six Toy Runs combined.

As co-chairman of the project, Paulsen helps maps out the bikers’ route, arranges a state police escort, and works with local police and fire departments to ensure the safety of riders, pedestrians and other motorists.

Additional funds will be raised at an Elks Club afterparty, where silent auctions and a 50-50 raffle will be held against the strains of an acapella country band. Paulsen himself is donating a Mini Green Egg ceramic smoker and grill to the effort, reflecting his store’s merchandise mix of indoor and outdoor appliances plus mattresses. The company was founded 42 years ago by his dad John, a longtime service technician who launched the business with Donald and daughter Lonnie. Their 3,500-square-foot showroom is located in downtown Sycamore, where it looks out on the town through three separate storefronts.

All proceeds from the Toy Run will go toward the purchase of playthings for local kids, Paulsen said.

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.