“Acta non verba,” Latin for "action, not words," is the motto for the nationwide biker group, Sons of Liberty Riders, and is fitting for a group who finds their inspiration from the original sons of liberty, the patriot group that orchestrated the Boston tea party in 1773.
“If you see our logo, it goes from Paul Revere on horseback to someone riding a motorcycle,” said Todd Taylor, the group’s Ohio state sergeant of arms.
Sons of Liberty Riders have almost 8,000 members throughout the United States. Those members are divided into state groups, and are further broken into districts. Taylor belongs to District 3 which includes most of northwest Ohio.
District 3, one of the fastest growing districts in Ohio, formed almost four years ago and has about 20 members, including six women. They are a tight-knit group, keeping in almost daily contact, meeting on a regular basis and gathering for things like family cookouts, but that is not their only goal.
“We believe in strong communities, strong families and neighbors helping neighbors,” Taylor said.
The group does a number of rides for charity, as well as other activities to raise money for charities, as well as, individuals. On Aug. 10, they will be doing a memorial ride to honor a fellow biker who was killed on the road.
“The Terrance Memorial Ride is to honor Terrance Rowe and to raise money so some scholarships can be won by students,” said Taylor. “Terrance was involved in the Future Farmers of America, so the money is going to the Riverside FFA.”
The group doesn’t just do rides, though. “Our next event will be at a home with special needs’ residents,” said Joe Searfoss, the Ohio state chaplain. “We’ll go in and let them be hands on with the bikes. We’ll do a lot of one on one.”
While some of their events are annual, Taylor said most of their activities are more random.
“When we meet together,” he explained, “someone will bring up an idea or an event we can participate in or help with and we’ll vote.”
Although some people may initially be a little intimidated by bikers, Taylor said that is just a stereotype.
“Our mission statement is loyalty, honor and respect,” he said. “That goes beyond our own group. We want to show and teach everyone we meet that. We want our community to know that we’ll protect them and build them up.”
The Sons of Liberty Riders would rather show their mission statement than talk about it, though. “Our goal, if we live somewhere is to help the community,” Searfoss said. “If we can be a part of the success of a charity or person reaching a goal, it’s great. That’s what we’re all about — building up and lifting up our communities.”
Searfoss, who has been a member of the Sons of Liberty Riders for almost two years, was introduced to riding at the age of 12 in 1962 when he got to ride on a moped.
“I fell in love with motorized two-wheel bikes,” he said. “I now drive a 1400 cc motorcycle, which is a long way from that Sears moped.”
Taylor was taught how to ride a motorcycle at the age of 14 by a member of Hell’s Angels.
“My mom was divorced with three kids,” he said. “Christmas was coming up, and all these bikers came to the house. I was scared to death, but all they did was bring us toys and stuff. I want to pass that on and pay it forward.”
Taylor’s experience underscores one of the challenges he sees as a biker now.
“The safety of the road is always a challenge,” he said, “but I’d say people and cop’s perceptions of bikers is, too. The biker community itself is all about respect. Most bikers will go out of their way to help you, but a lot of people are afraid.”
Both men find their time with Sons of Liberty Riders to be very rewarding, for different reasons. For Taylor, the idea of getting any kind of attention for the club’s activities makes him uncomfortable.
“We actually don’t seek out any recognition,” he said. “I just like to go out and do it. The thing I enjoy the most is the look on that elderly face at a nursing home. We go and visit with them, and they always get a big kick out that.”
“For me, one of the most rewarding things was the blessing of the bikes,” Searfoss said. “I was able to pray with each individual biker and bless their bikes and pray that the Holy Spirit would be with them on the road and keep them safe. It was our first time doing it, and we had a great turnout. We plan to do it next year. That was just really rewarding for me as a chaplain, being an ambassador for the Lord.”
For details about the Sons of Liberty Riders, visit http://americanlibertyriders.ning.com.
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