Bikers Against Child Abuse launch Calgary chapter
Motorcycle enthusiasts empower abused children
They're not a gang, but they do wear black leather jackets and ride motorcycles in large groups.
"When they look at us [and] see all these big burly guys, they know that we're there for them. That's a lot of empowerment to them," said William Hebert, whose road name is Wheels.
He is referring to the children that he and his biker friends watch over. Wheels is the president of the Calgary chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA).
At a glance out of their eye they know that they've got all their friends standing, waiting for them, cheering them on.- Brian (Woody) Woodhouse, BACA Calgary member
The not-for-profit organization is new to Calgary but has been around for more than 20 years in Canada and the U.S., as well as chapters across Europe and Australia.
Police, social services and therapists connect motorcycle enthusiasts with kids who have experienced abuse.
The tough-guy guardian angels provide friendship, moral and physical support for the children, whether that be parking their bikes outside their home or escorting them to and from the courthouse to testify.
"At a glance out of their eye they know that they've got all their friends standing, waiting for them, cheering them on," said BACA Calgary member Brian (Woody) Woodhouse.
"Just giving them the strength that they need within themselves to be able to carry on and work the steps through the justice system in order to begin the healing process," adds Woodhouse.
Woodhouse joined BACA after his six-year-old stepdaughter, Meika Jordan, was killed.
The girl's biological father Spencer Jordan and his girlfriend Marie Magoon have been charged with first-degree murder.
The trial for the couple starts March 23 in Calgary. That day BACA members from across Alberta and Saskatchewan are planning a rally in the city.
BACA Calgary is still training and educating new members and doing criminal record checks. The chapter expects to be fully up and running by the fall of 2015.