Riding with purpose
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent September 11, 2013 1:16PM
The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club gathers for its annual Biker Ride to aid the Brothers' Keeper Homeless Shelter. | Photo provided
Updated: September 11, 2013 1:16PM
Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club Indiana Chapter’s Leon Boatner passed out handmade patches with the words “I Am My Brother’s Keeper” to fellow bikers Aug. 24 before the start of the fourth annual Biker Ride to help the Brothers’ Keeper Homeless Shelter for Men at 2120 Broadway.
Along the curbside in front of the shelter, a line of parked motorcycles of all sizes and colors represented the numerous bikers participating in the event.
Boatner started the annual fundraiser four years ago after reading and hearing about the shelter’s financial struggles, especially after the damages the building sustained in the September 2008 flood.
“They’ve had some problems and I wanted to do something for them so I decided to start a biker ride,” he said.
Boatner added that their annual goal is to raise $500, all of which goes to the shelter. The shelter’s parking lot was filled with Buffalo Soldiers MC members from the Indiana, Chicago and South Bend chapters, as well as a couple vendors.
The ride is 50 miles long, from Gary to Michigan City and back to the shelter, where lunch is sold and served.
Ken “Dream Maker” Thomas of Chicago is the founder of the national association of Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, established in Chicago in 1993.
“We have over 5,000 members and 101 chapters across the U.S.,” he said. “We participate in this event because we are closest to the Gary chapter. We also follow our mission, and that is, ‘Ride, Educate and Give Back.’ We are all about supporting the community,” Thomas continued.
Brothers’ Keeper’s executive director Mary Edwards said what the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club is doing is encouraging.
“To have members of the community help out is very uplifting. And even though the Buffalo Soldiers put this together, they are able to bring other motorcycle clubs in to participate. I am grateful for them,” she said.
Thomas added that other motorcycle clubs like 219 Riderz and Dice Down Motorcycle Club from South Bend, joined the event.
“It’s a great day for a ride and it is for a great cause,” he said.