By Big D Caveman
I recently had the chance to spend the day with Heroes at the American Legion post in Phoenix. Veterans of military service standing alongside Phoenix Firefighters and members of Bikers against Child Abuse (BACA).
The American Legion Riders hosted BACA’s annual state picnic with great food and entertainment. BACA members and supporters joined to raise funds for a worthy cause. But the true heroes of the day were the children which the event was held for. Many of the kids attending were victims of abuse. To see them stand proudly and no longer fear their abusers was to witness pure courage. Watching them run happily beneath the waters of the fire hose, the day became worthwhile.
BACA makes the child a member by presenting them with a vest with a patch on it and a road name to signify membership in the international nonprofit organization.
“The keepers of the children” lend support to the child when court appearances are necessary in co-operation with state and local CPS agencies. BACA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and all donations go to help abused children.
The child is given the name and number of two BACA members who become the child’s primary contacts. Anytime day or night, the members stand ready to offer assistance by providing escorts to court and parole hearings. Sometimes, they lend a sympathetic ear for the child. They’ll even go camping on the child’s front lawn if need be. With the donations received, Christmas and summer outings are provided. Also available is the offer of a therapy program. Children who become members are more confident and show less aggressive behavior.
The feeling of safety gives the child empowerment to testify and lessen any “guilt” the child may suffer. They show more confidence in themselves and feel a sense of belonging.
A BACA Flyer sums up the mission statement in this quote:
“Bikers Against Child Abuse exists with the intent to provide a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them in an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with state and local officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand ready to protect the children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner. However, if circumstances arise such that we are the obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.”
An estimated 125 Bikers showed up to support the cause. The Phoenix Firefighters showed up with a fire truck from station 8. The children were allowed to climb in and around the truck and each had a chance to spray the fire hose. Firemen gave out Jr. Firefighter badges. Then the fire hose was attached to a hydrant and the kids and their parents all ran under the spray.
A face-painting clown arrived to the excitement of the kids while burgers and hot dogs were served by the Legion riders. A short time later, Phoenix Fire arrived with Ladder 1. The ladder was raised as high as the American flag outside the post. B.A.C.A. passed out stickers and press on tattoos. A few kids even got lucky enough to go for a ride on a motorcycle.
A special event presented itself when the children gathered to ‘patch-in’ a supporter with membership in B.A.C.A. To see a six foot plus grown man choke up with emotion at this rare honor was something that everyone present will not soon forget.
A common theme I overheard all day was parents and kids thanking BACA for all the support they give children and families. With the help of the American Legion Riders, and the Phoenix firefighters together with the members and supporters of BACA, the future of an abused child never looked brighter.