Wild Hogs?

Area law officers members join motorcycle club Blue Knights


 Motorcycle enthusiasts’ numbers have grown over the years, and with the increase in riders there has been a change in their make-up.

There still are an abundance of the long-haired, bearded, tattooed riders; but, now bikers include lawyers, bankers, engineers, soccer-moms. Even police officers are donning their colors and hitting the open road.

Five members of Diboll’s finest have joined the Blue Knights, a group of active and retired law enforcement men and women who simply enjoy riding motorcycles. DPD Detective Brandan Lovell is vice president of Chapter 22; Patrolman Ben Reynolds is safety officer; and, Sgt. Steve Baker and Patrolman Chris Pelletier are members of the board of directors. Detective Norman Williams is also a member.

Other law enforcement entities involved are the Nacogdoches Police Department, Lufkin Police Department, Alto Police Department, Rusk Police Department, Angelina County Sheriff’s Department, Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers, and the Stephen F. Austin State University Police Department.

For Lovell, forming a Blue Knights chapter just made sense.

“We all really enjoy riding motorcycles, and in the past we’ve done fund-raisers within the (police) department. Now we can enjoy both at the same time,” Lovell said. “It’s nationwide and you can see a lot of success stories.”

The local chapter will ride to its first conference in Hot Springs, Ark., in May.

“We’re going to do some rides as soon as the weather gets warmer,” Lovell said. “Anyone who has a motorcycle can join us.”

The first Blue Knights club was started in the spring of 1974 by several law enforcement officers from Bangor, Maine. There are now about 600 chapters all across the United States, and in 28 other countries.

According to the bylaws, the Blue Knights’ purposes and goals are to:

* Provide for the mutual assistance, enjoyment, entertainment, education, physical, mental and social benefit of its members and the general public.

* To promote and advance the sport of motorcycling and the safety of motorcycling.

* To serve the interests of motorcycle owners and users.

* To promote by example and any other acceptable means, safe use, operation and enjoyment of motorcycles.

* To develop a fraternal spirit between law enforcement personnel and the general public.

The Blue Knights also raise money for various charities, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Toys for Tots, D.A.R.E., and Concerns of Police. They have donated more than 11.5 million in cash and goods.



Blue Knights get together to ride, help kids


Contributed photo The Blue Knights Texas XXII chapter will host a benefit ride and barbecue fundraiser for the Angelina Alliance for Children, Inc., in August. The members, who are active or retired police officers, and their families enjoy riding together.

Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 5:56 pm | Updated: 5:59 pm, Sat Jun 26, 2010.

Area police officers, sheriff’s deputies and anyone who has pledged their life to serve and protect the community spend a great deal of time riding around in squad cars looking for bad guys.

On their downtime, though, some of these men and women like to feel a little wind in their hair, and a relatively new motorcycle club in the East Texas area offers that opportunity.

The Blue Knights, established in 1974, is an international organization of officers who like to get on the back of a motorcycle and just ride. The organization is the largest motorcycle club in the world, boasting members from across the nation and 29 countries. It is exclusive to active and retired law enforcement officers.

“The criteria is fairly simple: You have to be an officer and you have to ride a motorcycle,” said Mark Hurst, a patrol sergeant on the Nacogdoches Police force and president of the East Texas chapter. He said reserve officers can be accepted as associate members. “We work different days than most ordinary people, so finding someone to ride with is hard because on Saturday and Sundays we’re working.”

Ranging from Rusk to Livingston and all areas in between, the East Texas group has 31 members, including one woman, a Texas Ranger and a retired game warden, Hurst said.

Hurst compared the work of an officer to the knights of old, wielding their shields.

“We’re still doing today what the knights did,” Hurst said. “We travel around and protect those who can’t protect themselves. That’s what knighthood was. Our shield is a little smaller these days, in the shape of our badge.”

But it’s not just about riding. To be a credited chapter of Blue Knights, the group must be committed to charity work. The international organization has donated $13.5 million since its inception.

This year the local group will host a fundraiser for the Angelina Alliance for Children, Inc. — a child advocacy center, something close to the officers’ hearts.

“Our primary purpose is to have other officers to ride with, but we want to help the children that are subject to things that they should never be exposed to,” Hurst said. “The numbers from Angelina Alliance are staggering.”

When a child is sexually or physically abused, Angelina Alliance for Children steps in to interview them in a child-friendly environment, aiming to minimize trauma. Through March, 992 children had been interviewed by the agency, according to its website.

“It’s hard to imagine that there is that much abuse going on out there,” Hurst said.

The agency operates on a budget that is only partially funded by federal dollars. A majority of funding comes from kind-hearted individuals, like the Blue Knights.

A benefit ride and barbecue fundraiser put on by the motorcycle club will be Aug. 20-21. The officers hope to raise $10,000, Hurst said


Dozens of law enforcement officials ride in motorcycle charity group

Posted: Aug 21, 2010 4:33 PM CDT Updated: Aug 21, 2010 4:33 PM CDT

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – They're putting the pedal to the medal for a good cause.

The Blue Knights Chapter 22 is made up of law enforcement officers from all different agencies.

Saturday, the motorcycle group invited friends and family to ride with the group as they hosted their first sponsored event at Clawson Assembly of God on Highway 69 North.

It's a rare site, dozens of law enforcement officers from agencies across East Texas, revving their engines.

"This is kind of our way to relax and let our hair down," said Cpl Wes Ross with the Lufkin Police Department.

"The Blue Knights range everywhere from Rusk all the way down to Livingston," said Sgt Mark Hurst with the Nacogdoches Police Department.

The East Texas chapter is holding their first riding event to raise money for the Angelina Alliance for Children.

 "We're hoping to you know bring awareness to the community, bring an awareness to the world that there is a problem, there is an epidemic on sexual assault and abuse of our children, as well as women," said Chief Deputy for the Polk County Sheriff's Department, Byron Lyons.

"These kids are innocent victims and we're here to stand for them," said Ross.

They say it's the ultimate bonding experience.

"You also get to see the other people in law enforcement from other agencies and get to meet them and you know enjoy yourselves," said Lt. Pete Cooper with the Angelina County Sheriff's Department.

Part of their mission is promoting safe riding.

"Be aware that we're out here you know, I mean we're a small object, we're so hard to see so riding in large groups like this one sometimes makes it a lot safer," said Patrol Sgt Steve Baker with the Diboll Police Department.

They were reminded of the dangers of cycling this morning when San Augustine motorcyclist Gordon Carlton was injured.

"It appears he was turning into a driveway to meet his son-in-law out on 706 and they were actually coming here to ride this morning and a vehicle topped a hill and hit him from behind," said Baker.

"We feel for him and we're going to see what we can do to help him now," said Hurst.

According to DPS, Carlton was taken to Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

Keeping safety in mind, the cyclists set out as one giant family, undivided.

The riders traveled roughly 100 miles, heading as far as Groveton.

Following the ride, Blue Knight members sold bbq plates, also for charity.

Door prizes were also given out.

If you'd like to find out more about the Texas Blue Knights Chapter 22 you can visit their website at http://www.blueknightstexasxxii.com/ and if you'd like to help them with fundraising efforts you can contact your local law enforcement agency for more information.

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