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Guardians of the Children
by Brandon Hatmaker on October 23rd, 2012

For a while now I have been in contact with and riding with a non-profit biker organization called the Guardians of the Children. Their vision is three fold: To (1) provide protection for victims of child abuse, (2) to provide assistance to families, and (3) increase public awareness of abuse in it’s many forms.
 
After a season as a “probationary member” of the Hill Country Chapter, I’ve recently had the honor of being “patched in” as a member and am now part of an incredible group of men forming the Austin Chapter becoming the 24th GOC chapter spread across 11 states (Picture: "Cholos" getting patched by Hill Country President "Oz" and VP "Burnout".)
 
As a part of the Austin biker community, we’ve been invited to be a part of two major associations. The first is the Confederation of Clubs and Independents. The second is the United Clubs of Austin. Each with several hundred bikers involved. Each run by an elected board of bikers representing the various clubs through out the central Texas and Austin areas. Literally every Biker club and organization of every kind is represented in this group.

Bikers certainly come with a stereotype. Just like any group of people... a typically unfair stereotype... based on a small group of people ruining it for the rest. That said, I've learned a lot from the biker community. In fact, those I've spent the most time around and now consider good friends are some of the best people I know. They've taught me a lot about unconditional acceptance and unity.

But to be honest with you, I wasn't so sure what I'd find among such a large number of patched members of varying clubs all in one room together. Here’s what I’ve found…
 
These two organizations represent an amazing group of men (and women) and the associations created are really doing what they’ve set out to do: Foster brotherhood and benefit our community in ways that not one of us can do alone.
 
Last Wednesday I sat in a meeting with 300+ bikers that announced and coordinated 8 different benefits that will be held through the holiday season. These events will assist everyone from local Children’s Shelters, to orphanages, to families in need. This, just following an announcement that one of our ‘brothers’ had a kid needing heart surgery and has to raise $10K before the procedure will be approved. A hat was passed around… literally a hat… and more than $3K was raised in a matter of 5 minutes. Then we closed the meeting with a short devotional by our chaplain... everyone stood and took off their hats... and we prayed. Meeting adjourned.
 
Now, It’d be one thing to say this was a unique meeting and that this kind of thing is rare… but it’s not. It happens every time.
 
I’ve seen grown men, presidents of their club, come before the UCOA asking for help as his wife is dying from cancer. I’ve seen clubs stand, invite, and support one another as they rallied around the wife of a member who lost his life in a recent accident. I’ve seen benefit after benefit. Gift after gift.
 
And I’ve seen a code among these men that refuse to do anything but show loyalty and respect to one another (as long as they show loyalty and respect back).
 
Many of these men are veterans, not all are without a history, present and past… but they’re rallying to try and do as much good as they know how. Like most of us, we don’t always succeed at that, but we’re learning… and more than anything… we’re trying.
 
Things aren’t always as they seem.
 
Next time someone rolls up next to you at a stoplight on their Harley, don’t reach over and lock your doors or roll up your window. Fellas, you don't have to try and look tough. Maybe just give a nod. Maybe a smile. But don’t make assumptions. Maybe he won’t do the same about you.



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4 Comments

Todd Griffis - October 23rd, 2012 at 10:23 AM
Very cool!! It is terrible "bikers" have such a bad reputation...so cool that you are standing up and letting it be known that there are so many great things that the clubs do!
Jason Nike - November 16th, 2012 at 5:01 AM
Hi Brendon,

I'm a Nazarene church planter in London, UK. Our church have just started the Barefoot Church Primer and are loving it! However, was difficult and expensive ($388 for box of 20) to get over here as is not available in UK. Along with the Tangible Kingdom Primer (which we did earlier in year), I am trying to encourage many other churches on our district to get these great resources, but the high cost is putting some off. Any chance of these being made available over here?

many thanks,

Jason
rose - November 19th, 2012 at 9:08 PM
Thank you again ,because I always get asked if all Bikers are mean people and ofcourse I always respond with a "NO" they are Great people to be around !
seee22 - December 25th, 2013 at 4:41 AM
i saw you guys in the jackass movie.
i think you guys are angels!! god bless all of u
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