Charity Motorcycle Ride
UAW Local 1284 Fundrasier Helps to Provide Safe Haven for Abused Kids
Oct 20, 2016
By Ron Russell
CHELSEA, Mich. – Inspired by its motto “No Child Deserves To Live In Fear,” UAW Local 1284 members teamed up with Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) to support its mission of protecting innocent kids who have been victimized.
The local sponsored its first annual Charity Motorcycle Ride that raised more than $2,800 from union and management employees at the FCA US Chelsea Proving Grounds (CPG) to benefit the Wayne County Chapter of B.A.C.A.
“B.A.C.A. is an amazing group of individuals, all certified and trained and dedicated to helping children who have been victims of abuse,” said Local 1284 President Greg Stoey. “They are a very modest organization that makes a life-changing impact on these children and their families who need them, and that impressed our membership greatly.”
Founded in 1995, B.A.C.A. is an international non-profit organization that capitalizes on a biker’s tough image to make child abuse victims feel safe and more secure.
Stoey, former Chair of the UAW Region 1A Motorcycle Riders Council, was among more than 70 riders who turned out for the 45-minute Charity Motorcycle Ride. It began at the Local 1284 hall in Chelsea, located about 60 miles west of Detroit, and ended at the clubhouse of the Forbidden Wheels Motorcycle Club Chapter in Hell, Mich. The group donated use of its clubhouse to hold a dinner for all participants that concluded the event.
Other Local 1284 members also rode in the procession, along with B.A.C.A. members and other motorcycle enthusiasts.
“It was a very powerful feeling to have the opportunity to give back to others and support an organization that gives these children a chance at a happy childhood where they get the support needed to navigate the challenges they’ve had as a result of their abuse,” Stoey said.
Once the local decided to support B.A.C.A., the event was planned and executed by the Community Service Committee within five days. “The wheels started spinning at Local 1284, and the Biker Charity Ride went into motion,” Stoey said.
When B.A.C.A. members roll into a neighborhood, the thunder of their bikes belies the tenderness and love they bring to an abused child, as shown by the extended family created by this Arizona chapter.
The Planning Committee that conceived the idea of supporting B.A.C.A. consisted of Stoey, Chief Steward Creag Guernsey and Steward Gil Eberly.
Funds were raised through donations from CPG employees and entry fees from bikers who participated in the event held in July.
“The CPG community is to be commended, even those who didn’t ride motorcycles found a way to contribute to the event, whether it was volunteering or donating to the cause,” Stoey said. “All of the CPG community came together to make this event a success and make a huge difference to kids in need.”
He said the local plans to sponsor a Charity Motorcycle Ride again next year in partnership with the Wayne County Chapter of B.A.C.A.
The chapter uses the donation from CPG employees to strengthen bonds of trust that members forge with abused children, who become part of an extended family of bikers at a very vulnerable time in their lives.
“The support we received from UAW Local 1284 and Chelsea Proving Grounds employees was totally awesome,” said Klimoman, Public Relations Officer for the chapter. “When someone does a charity ride for us, it helps to fulfill our mission of empowering abused children.”
Klimoman (B.A.C.A. members use road names for security purposes) said the chapter spends between $100 and $120 per child to purchase items to welcome them into the B.A.C.A. family. They range from customized leather vests and teddy bears to coins, blankets and backpacks, depending on kids’ ages and preferences.
The vests are emblazoned with important messages that bolster self-esteem like “I Am Empowered,” I Am in the Family” and “I Will Not Live in Fear.”
“You’re looking at 26 abused children who will benefit from this donation, and that is huge,” Klimoman said. “Our goal is to help them reach the point where they’re no longer afraid of the world and begin to enjoy just being a kid again. We are available to them 24 hours a day.”
B.A.C.A. members are usually asked to intervene by local law enforcement officials, social service agencies or a parent.
Members go to the home of a child who feels threatened, provide escorts and support them at court and parole hearings.
“When we tell a child they don’t have to be afraid, they believe us,” a spokesman for the group said. “When we tell them we will be there for them, they believe us.”
For further information about Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.), or to make a donation, go to www.michigan.bacaworld.org. The Information Helpline for B.A.C.A. International is 866-71-ABUSE (866-712-2873).
Pictured at the top of this article are, from left, Local 1284 members Greg Stoey, Gil Eberly, Creag Guernsey and Brandon Eichenberg.