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Strong Foundation Ministries

One day that he had some free time on his hands, Beto was surfing the web and found a motorcycle club called the Guardians of the Children.

After visiting the organization’s website, he became excited with the idea of joining the San Antonio Chapter. Not new to this type of excitement on his part (“Richard, I want to belong to this organization. It really sounds great. I already sent an email to the member coordinator and I hope he answers back”), I couldn’t help but close my eyes and shake my head when he announced to me over the phone his willingness to become a part of a biker group — Does UNM ring a bell? “Richard, UNM has a great marching band, I want to play the trumpet with them. I already sent an email…” — Not one to ever discourage him from doing what he desires, since he actually went to UNM after expressing his desire after all, I told him I thought it would be a great idea to investigate the group more deeply and make sure there weren’t other better clubs around. Sure, a biker group, I thought. He had just finished reading a biker-group paperback and now he wanted to be a brother somewhere. Ok, let’s play along. Little did I know that the one ending up hooked on this group would be me.

Beto went to a meeting alone a month or so ago, and became infatuated with the group, the people, the whole experience. They planned a run to go somewhere in the city to help: I believe, a community service, gazebo-building project for the the children of St. PJ’s orphanage. Because of the nature of the assignment,  I started to think this was definitely not the type of group that had biker bitches and silenced slave-prospects who in order to enter the brotherhood, they need to stand at attention and cater to the members’ wishes of food, chores, and sex… or else. I breathed a little more easily knowing Beto would not be involved in that type of club. No, this group welcomed him with open arms, men and women, warmly, and encouraged him to participate in the activities as one of their own, even though he was only a guest his first time at an event.

Intrigued by his recount of the activity, I decided to accept his invitation to accompany him to the next meeting. “But you are not even a prospect, much less a member, how can you invite me to go?” I protested when he confidently invited me to tag along. Nonetheless, I wanted to see for myself the type of place this Guardians of the Children club was and got on Goldie to meet them at their next powwow in a popular yuppie hamburger joint in the city.  Again, just as with him, they welcomed me with open arms, answered my questions, and my big surprise was that the meeting included a prayer. That’s when I got reeled in. Not being one to go to religious services much, I realized that they didn’t care what my belief was, as long as I believed in something as well as riding a bike. They were happy to embrace me in the name of helping children live a full life as much as possible and the enjoyment of motorcycle riding. Hey, I am a teacher, I walk among children, and biking? Well, enough said.

A few of the bikes as it was still early.

Today, Beto invited me again to a run that the Guardians of the Children were going to have at the Strong Foundation Ministries in San Antonio. I readily accepted the offer to do some charitable work for others and in return enjoy a city ride with 45 or so other motorcyclists. This time Rick was invited, too. He hadn’t ridden with us for a long time, so we met him and his bike at his house and rode to the meeting place. The view on the highway was spectacular. Imagine forty-five sets of ultra loud pipes — plus quiet Goldie, the only Goldwing — on US Highway 281 cutting from the outskirts of the city into the downtown area. It was intoxicatingly magnificent to see the sun-shimmering helmets from three different biker groups join forces to do good to unsuspecting families at a shelter for the homeless.

A carpet of steel, leather, and rubber.

Cars would slow down on our side of the road to watch us go — an almost half-a-mile-long caravan riding in the center lane –. People would take their phones out and start shooting video of us, children would jump in their back seats and point to us like we were alien knights riding our iron horses onto Earth. It was in all, a great experience for me. When we arrived at the Strong Foundation, we occupied the entire block, parking side by side all along the street. You could almost smell the leather and the rubber from blocks away.

Once inside the shelter, we delivered our goods: underwear, socks, and other garments as requested. We hung around talking, meeting some of the residents of the shelter, and enjoying the company of the other members of the Guardians of the Children, Blood Knights Motorcycle Ministry, and the Hill Country Motorcycle Riders of Texas.

Rick and Beto out mingling.

After some good, healthy, and invigorating fellowship with 60-plus men and women, we were called to eat. We gave thanks for our day, our ride, and our food. We partook of a delicious meal offered to all at no cost by the Blood Knights. In the end we parted ways, each of us full of the Spirit, ready to share our experience and pass on a little of the overflowing chutzpah we were gifted with — back with our families at home.

Not being a resident of San Antonio, I don’t think I could belong to this group of fine people, The Guardians of the Children, but I would like to enjoy another event with them doing two of the things I love the most: helping others, and riding my bike (Happy Independence Day).

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Jul042010

Published by at 7:05 PM under Uncategorized

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