They call themselves Brothers By Choice. Men from different backgrounds and different generations, they come together as friends to support families and the community. If there is a worthy cause, they are willing to support it in any way they can.
This spring will mark 14 years since the group was founded. A couple of guys were talking, and thought it would be nice if they formed a regular group and had meetings for coffee, breakfast and company. From this humble beginning they soon realized that they wanted to extend their reach through their families and friends, and into the whole community.
Through the years, they have contributed to many causes, and in a variety of ways. At a recent benefit in Frewsburg, they helped the family by serving food to those attending. They have held food drives and made many donations to St. Susan Center and the Union Gospel Mission over the years. "Toys for Tots" is another cause they are glad to help with.
The officers of Brothers By Choice, from left: Doug Tibbetts, alternate officer; Mike Perkins, secretary; Dennis Harvey, treasurer; Kevin Patterson, vice president, acting president; Scott Dalrymple, Sergeant-At-Arms; Dave Huber, road captain.
But where they excel is in benefits for individual causes. Whether they are participating in an event sponsored by others, or organizing an event themselves, these men put their hearts into it. Their families support their efforts as well. Sometimes one of their members has family who need help. This summer, they helped rebuild a garage for the widow of a member. As one member, "Wing Man" Joe Latone, said, "We are extended family," and they carry that same feeling out into the entire community.
Many of the men ride motorcycles, but they are all quick to point out "we aren't a motorcycle club." They were founded as an association, and members don't even have to ride or own a motorcycle to be part of the group. As the group began meeting, they decided that they wanted to benefit citizens. They all agree that it's "what they want to do. It's why they're here."
When you see these men in their jackets or vests, you see many patches on them. Members said that sometimes people don't know what to make of them. Take a closer look, and you will find that most of those patches are tributes. Red patches are to remember friends who have passed away. Blue patches represent lost members of the group. Even the logo for the group has special meaning. There are three stars arranged with the initials of the group, BBC. Those three stars represent a member's three children, who perished in a tragic house fire several years ago.
These men give up a lot of their time to help others, and their families are right there with them. It can take up to three months or more to plan a motorcycle run for a fundraiser. The wife of one member said she is always looking for items that can be used for door prizes or Chinese auction items.
The fact that many of them ride motorcycles is just that. It doesn't make them a gang. They would like people to realize that a lot of people who ride motorcycles are good people, who just happen to enjoy riding a bike. Several commented on how getting on a bike and going for a ride can relax away the stress of a hard day. When they can help a cause while riding, much the better.
Many of the members are veterans. That gives them another level of understanding about just how much this country is one great community. The Brothers By Choice have served as an honor guard when fallen soldiers have been brought home.
When asked how people know to get in touch with them to ask for help, members said that usually someone knows one of them, or a friend of theirs, and the word gets to them. With the more well-known local charities, they have offered their support. If anyone doesn't happen to know a member or friend of the group, they have a Facebook page. Those interested can also call road captain Dave Huber at 483-1748.
T-shirts in gold with the logo in black have been made to support the efforts of Brothers By Choice. Available at different events, they can also be purchased at The Hogg Shoppe in Falconer. When members organize an event for a cause, they bear the majority of the costs. Prizes are often donated, but members pay for most of everything else. Being able to have fun while doing something to help someone else is a bonus for these men. The name, Brothers By Choice, refers not only to their friendships, but also to their belief in the brotherhood of man.