The Dennis Kirk Blog
Legendary Service... Ask Your Friends - Since 1969
We received well over 100 entries in the Biker Brotherhood contest back in June, which made it extremely hard to pick the winners. We had a ton of really great stories that people shared with us, so in turn, we’d like to share them with you. Now,we’re not going to post them all at one time, but we’ll share a few here and there. In this post, we’re featuring stories from Kat Schilling, James Steele, and Kenneth Stearns. Enjoy!
Kat shared a very touching story that reminded us all why bikers are some of the best friends you can have. “Being a biker isn’t an image, it’s an attitude.” Here is her story:
Just a little over two years ago, my oldest son was diagnosed with stage 4 Ewings Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. That was April 14th, 2009. April 15th, 2009 my father passed away, I lost my job (plant closing) and we also found out there was black mold in our home and we could not return to it. In short, in 48 hours I became homeless, jobless, fatherless, and had a very sick child on my hands. We quickly began the fight for his life.
Now, being a biker was something I was still a bit new at. But those who knew us said it came naturally to me. It felt good, I know that. I felt welcome, as if I belonged. We were soon organizing rides, participating in events and making many friends along the way.
Our church and school opened their hearts as well as their homes to us. We stayed in a nice hotel for a few days, then we went to live with a family through church/school. They even allowed us to bring our dog to their home! A few of the ‘brothers’ were calling or stopping by to check in on me and my kids. Did we have enough food? Money for gas? One of the brothers set out to organize a fundraiser for us. A motorcycle run – with drawings, silent auctions, a DJ and food. Now, he wasn’t the most organized type of person, but this was important to him. WE are important to him. So he made it happen. Soon, posters with info and my son’s picture were all over town. This brother even had one stuck to the side of the garbage truck he drove. He was asking for items to be donated for prizes etc, food and beverages from companies he didn’t know and everyone was told to wear orange, Zach’s favorite/signature color.
The day of the ride was just around the corner, and I didn’t think I or Zach would be able to go. We were in the hospital and Zach had just had surgery to put in a feeding tube. Our doctor was incredible! We talked to her about it and she even put off treatment by a day so he could get out of the hospital and go on this ride. I called another brother and asked if he would put Zach on his bike for the day. I trust him, obviously. He said he would be happy to do so. Zach was comfortable and at ease on the bike. My brother kept checking on him – going too fast? Too hot? Zach was having a blast! I was so touched by everyone’s generosity and thoughtfulness.
We arrived at the starting point of the ride. Orange ribbons were available to pin on your vest. They even had patches made, white background with orange lettering “ride for life” and Zach’s name and the date of the ride. I could feel the emotions starting to rise within me. A sea of orange t-shirts and bandanas hit the road. What an awesome sight. The turnout wasn’t as good as we had hoped, but the love was felt throughout the day. The local news was there, many pictures were taken and many hugs given. After the ride, the bidding and prizes started. A local Christian motorcycle group presented us with a check, family and friends showed up to hang out and participate. Zach was tired but having a wonderful time. It was so good to see him smiling all day!
We had to leave before things ended for the night. Zach finally pooped out for the day. We said our tearful goodbyes to family, friends and brothers. The festivities went on into the night. The money raised helped get us by. Without it, well, I simply don’t know what we would have done. That was two years ago. The brothers still check in on us. Some more than others, but we are never alone. Our brothers are only a phone call away.
James Steele’s story is about an extraordinary man who went the extra mile (or twenty) to help him out when he was having bike trouble:
I was coming back from a bike show one evening that was about 30 miles away. I stopped to gas up and as I neared the gas station my bike started sputtering and cutting out. I figured it was out of gas and ready to be set to reserve, but by that time I was already at the pumps, so I didn’t think anything of it. After I gassed up and started on my way, it kept cutting out so I pulled over by the air and water dispenser to check it out. I thought that the in-tank filter might have some trash blocking my fuel flow, being I had run so low on gas before pulling in.
At that time a man pulled up beside on his bike and said, “I noticed you were having problems, is there anything I could do to help?” I told him what was happening and started checking a few things out that could be causing the problem like, fuel flow, spark plugs, etc. I found some carbon build up on one of the spark plugs, cleaned it off and put it back in. I tried cranking it and it wouldn’t even turn over now. Noticing this the man said, “I live a couple of miles up the road, I can go get some cables and bring them back in my truck if you would like.” I said, “I don’t want to put you out like that but, he insisted it was no problem so, I agreed.
When he got back he was driving a truck pulling a flat trailer. We tried to jump the bike, but that didn’t work, so he had a toolbox and pulled a battery tester to check the battery, it showed that the battery was dead. As I was shaking my head and mumbling a few, well, several words that I won’t repeat under my breath, he suggested we roll it up on his trailer and take it back to his house and put it on a charger. He said his wife was cooking dinner and while we were waiting for it to charge I was welcome to have dinner with them. At this point I didn’t know what to think, all kinds of thoughts were running through my mind, like was this guy for real or was I being lured back to some crazy serial killer’s house, etc. I didn’t know what to think, but by this time I was tired, frustrated and realizing that even if I did get it cranked, I still had a 30-mile ride back to my house. It was already around 8pm but I was starving, and I was unable to reach my neighbor to come pick me and the bike up. I accepted the invitation to dinner and off we went.
About a hour to hour and a half later, we tried to crank the bike and it fired right up. He had a nice size piece of property so I pulled out of the garage to see if the bike was running all right. Everything seemed fine so I said my thank you’s and went on my way. I had mentioned that I wasn’t going back on the highway instead, I was going to take an alternate route down through the towns between there and where my house was just in case I had trouble, so I would be able to pull over into a gas station or something. I didn’t have a cell phone, so by going this way I would be close to a pay phone just in case. Being the nice guy that he was, he had written down his phone number and gave it to me in case anything went wrong, I could call. On my way back, there was a few desolate areas between the towns, but after making it past the first one or two areas, I figured I was home free and would make it ok. About this time being around 11 pm, the bike starts acting up again. I was about two to three miles from the next populated area and was trying my best to make it, sputtering all the way until it finally died with about a mile to go.
By this time the words I was mumbling earlier weren’t being mumbled as quietly as before, when all of a sudden I noticed some bright lights coming up right behind me and my bike and who was it, the same man that had helped me before. I was shocked and speechless for a moment when he said that he had a feeling that I might have problems but wasn’t going to worry about it because I had his number and would call if anything went wrong, but just as he was closing up his garage and about to turn out the lights, he just happened to notice a yellow piece of paper laying on the floor where my bike had been sitting. Obviously I had laid it on my seat while putting on my gear and being in such a hurry to get home, I never even noticed it falling off.
So to make it short, he told me that once he found the piece of paper, he just knew it was a sign telling him that I’d be sitting somewhere. So he drove all the way down, about 22 to 23 miles until he found me. He said he could see the stores about a mile ahead and was going to turn around and head back when he reached them, figuring I must have made it if I got that far, when he noticed me sitting on the side of the road. Not only was I amazed that he had shown up but, he talked me into loading it back on his trailer and believe or not, hauled me and the bike all the way to my house. I offered him to stop and I would pay for a tank of gas for all he had done for me and he said no. I even tried to give him some money at my house and he still wouldn’t accept it. He said that someday he might be in the same situation and by doing this for me, that it would all come back to him. I’ve always said what goes around, comes around. I knew exactly where he was coming from. He probably didn’t get back to his house until after midnight, I’m sure. Well, that’s my story and by the way, dinner was awesome too.
And last but not least for this round, Kenneth Stearns’ told us about a friend of his stuck by the Joplin tornado earlier this year and his personal generosity:
Over the years and many tattoos later, one of my good friends Mike Robinson experienced tragedy. He and his wife Dawn and son Malachi were in Joplin on Main Street when the May tornado ripped the city in half. They had friends over and all managed to get in the bathroom and get down. Malachi was thrown in the bathtub with Mike lying on top of him. Once the tornado had ripped through and they emerged from the bathroom, thankfully unharmed, they discovered everything they owned was either gone or destroyed. The house that they were renting to own had some walls left, but the roof was gone. All of Mike’s tattoo equipment was gone as well. (He works and supplements his income with tattoos.) He is a great artist and free-hands all of his work.
I happen to have bought one of his tattoo guns and will be returning it at no charge to him this upcoming weekend. We have clothes and a “care package” gathered to take to him and his family as well. I wish there was more I could do when I noticed the contest. How great it would be if they could at least have “riding” boots again. I have enough leather to supply them with, but their boots are not something that I can help replace. In any turmoil or conflict in my life, a good ride always makes me feel better. I know that in addition to taking him what I have to help, the boots would complete the order. I want to help get him up and running again. I think he needs a break and hopefully submitting this will be what it takes to get Mike and his family feeling better and back on the road.
Look for more Biker Brotherhood stories, coming soon!
What’s your story of biker camaraderie?
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