Since its beginnings in Shreveport in 2003, the Brother’s Keepers Motorcycle Club (BKMC) has grown to become an international organization. The club has 36 chapters that span across the U.S., Canada and Australia. The Texarkana chapter of BKMC is a group of retired and active firefighters, EMT and paramedics, along with supportive families, who are dedicated not only to helping others but to helping children in our area.
Hilary Bayless and her husband have been members of the club for about one year and have found that the club has become like family to them. “I have been so moved by being in this club,” said Bayliss. “These people say ‘If you need anything let me know’ and they mean it. They will be there for you.”
The BKMC participates in several charities including Toys For Tots and assists and supports other chapter’s events and fundraising efforts as well. The two of the main organizations the club supports are Watersprings Ranch in Texarkana, Arkansas, and Camp I’m Still Me in Scottsville, Texas. Watersprings Ranch is a privately owned safe haven for children that have been abused, neglected or unwanted. It is a non-government funded home run by group of people who have dedicated their lives to providing for these children and even sending them to college, if they so choose. In December 2018, BKMC along with several other motorcycle clubs in the Texarkana area gathered together at Watersprings Ranch and provided food, household items, clothing, money, Christmas presents, and motorcycle rides for 30 children. Camp I’m Still Me is a summer camp dedicated to children who are burn survivors. These children are able to go to camp without stares, ridicule, or judgement and are able to attend completely free of charge. This past June 2018, the combined efforts of several BKMC chapters presented Camp I’m Still Me with a check for $92,000.
The most rewarding part of being a member of the BKMC according to Bayless is seeing the children’s reactions. “They are so happy and excited that someone would take the time to help them and listen to them,” she said
This year, the Texarkana chapter of BKMC, with the support of many other area chapters, is holding their 1st Annual ArkLaTex Burn Run. This is a two day event with all proceeds going to the benefit of children. On March 29, they will host a Biker Bash at the Texarkana, Texas Elks Lodge from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. For a $20 entry fee, attendants will be able to enjoy dinner, live music, and an auction. The Burn Run will be held on March 30, at Spring Lake Park. This family friendly event will include activities for children, live music, an auction, a car and bike show, vendors, a poker run, a beer garden, and more. Gates will open at 8:00 a.m. and the ride to Doc’s will begin at 10:00 a.m.
This event is sure to be a good time and would not be possible without community support. “We have had tremendous support from the community,” said Bayless. “Clubs are coming from all over to be a part of this. The support has been overwhelming.”