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BIKER NEWS: Waco bikers to attend Austin event for child abuse victims

BN- Bikers wearing red and black from 29 chapters of the Bikers Against Child Abuse group will ride to the Austin area Saturday morning t...



BN- Bikers wearing red and black from 29 chapters of the Bikers Against Child Abuse group will ride to the Austin area Saturday morning to raise money for an annual Texas Kids Campout for child abuse victims.

The nonprofit group, founded in 1995, has chapters all over the world, according to the BACA website.

Eddie “Pumbaa” Bowden, president of the Waco chapter, said Saturday’s event, a rally at Cowboy Harley-Davidson of Austin, will feature biker games, a roller derby, a silent auction and a dunking booth.

Bowden, who rides a Silver Ultra Classic Harley-Davidson, said the 2015 camp-out was attended by about 1,000 children, their siblings, BACA members and legal guardians. All attendees must pass federal and state security clearance, he said.

The location of the event is kept secret for security purposes, he said.

“It’s just a chance for these kids to get out and be kids,” Bowden said. “Some of them are afraid to leave their own rooms.”

Bowden called BACA a child advocacy organization, not a motorcycle club, saying members are not allowed to wear patches supporting clubs when working with BACA.

Chapter Vice President Keith “Deuce” Wallace,” who drives a purple Harley-Davidson with a skull on it, said, “If you’ve ever felt alone or as if no one cared, you’ll understand what it feels like to see a child we empower, support and protect.”

“I was a 16-year-old runaway,” he said, and later joined the military. Now, as executive director of Central Texas Youth Services, his work overlaps with BACA.

“I’ve worked with kids that have been victimized my whole life,” he said. “A lot of children will tell us, ‘I’m not afraid anymore.’ ”

Bowden said the organization works in conjunction with Court Appointed Special Advocates, Child Protective Services, the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement officials.

“If there’s a case that fits us, they refer them to us,” he said. “If a child is scared of motorcycles, obviously that’s not a good fit.”

In cases in which a victim is comfortable with the group, Bowden and the other 20 or so members of the Waco chapter accompany them to court; spend time with them; help provide security if they are in danger; and provide them with a teddy bear or vest or an escort to school.

“We make sure they’re safe and make sure there’s no longer a threat,” Bowden said. “It’s a scary process for a child to go through court. They can look out and know we’re supporting them.”

“We don’t condone violence,” he said. “We’re not vigilantes. but we’re going to stand between that child and any danger.”

Diane “Mustang” Mickler, who said she has been in the group for about five years, rides a blue Harley-Davidson.

“I love kids and I love helping kids,” Mickler said. “It’s just so rewarding to know you helped them come out of their shell or testify in court against their perpetrator.”

Mickler said a lot of children age out of the group at 18, but many keep in touch or later join the group themselves.

“We try to make them feel strong enough to move on,” she said.

“A lot of members either have been abused or know someone who has been been abused,” she said.

Several members echo the mantra, “No child deserves to live in fear.” The saying is emblazoned on the vests of all members.

The group has been in the Waco area about eight years.

The group’s sergeant-at-arms, Dickey “Toolman” Mickler, said: “There’s a lot of commitment involved. You have monthly meetings and a dozen different child adoptions all over the state.”



Diane Mickler added: “Our mission is to empower these children. Nobody gets paid, but that’s our payday.”

More: http://www.wacotrib.com/news/nonprofits/waco-bikers-to-attend-austin-event-for-child-abuse-victims/article_322920d2-a7a4-5da5-bd32-4cabba68fd76.html

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Outlaws Bikers News : BIKER NEWS: Waco bikers to attend Austin event for child abuse victims
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