The logo on their jackets might seem intimidating. And the group does strongly support the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But this motorcycle riding organization is primarily armed with help for others.
A good example of their mission took place on a recent Saturday afternoon in Penn Township, Perry County, when members of the newly formed organization gave away free piles of children and adult clothing that they had collected over the summer.
“The cold weather is coming,” said A.R.M.E.D. founder, Chris Castner. “There's people out there that needs coats, clothes, blankets, stuff just to stay warm. Everybody needs help every now and then. And there is nothing wrong with lending a hand.”
A young New Bloomfield mom, offering her first name Jess, says the clothing give-away is a blessing for people like her.
“I do a lot of yard sales,” she explained while sorting through mounds of children's clothes. “So this makes it even more affordable to get the stuff for free. And it makes it easier because it's all in one place.”
In addition to the clothing drive, A.R.M.E.D. was on the road this summer for several fund-raising rides benefiting children, good will appearances in area parades and transporting wounded veterans in a handicap accessible bus they bought and refinished. And, their generosity is not limited to pre-planned events.
“If anyone needs anything. Or, if there is a fire victim who needs clothing. If they get ahold of us on Facebook or on line through our website, we will find the clothing,” said business manager, Billie Jo Barrick. “We will find what they need and we will get it to them.”
The club also started a youth mentoring program, aimed at getting kids to get away from video games, become more active and be respectful to others.
“I'm trying to change the image of how people look at and perceive bikers,” explained Castner.
“I'm just like you. I've got a heart. There's nothing that separates me from you or anybody else like that. I might look a little different. I might ride a motorcycle. But, I've got family.”
A.R.M.E.D says it plans more clothing give-aways in the future.
Additional info at http://www.armedpa.com.