Local motorcycle club, Brothers Crew MC of Maine, was recently recognized by Portland’s Channel 13 for feeding over 900 families in Maine on Thanksgiving Day. Based in Windham with a focus on honoring all fallen brothers, military or otherwise, Brothers Crew MC not only feeds the hungry at Thanksgiving and provides gifts to families in need at Christmas that include substantial donations to Preble Street Resource Center, they also offer help and provide necessities to children with disabilities, homeless families, military families as well as providing assistance to abused women and children. Additionally, the organization delivers backpacks filled with needed school supplies for students to local elementary schools.
Bayside Learning Community in Portland is one of the local schools that has been and is a recipient of the goodwill provided by the club. “They put so much effort in gift giving,” stated Jen Searway, the school’s director. “When they provided the backpacks filled with school supplies, the bags did not contain generic items. Instead, they took the time to ask what was needed most by individual students and that is what they supplied. Brothers Crew MC truly gives unconditionally and for the right reasons.” Searway also stated that this motorcycle club is a prime example of paying it forward.
Obviously, one should not be fooled by this group of leather wearing, tattooed, bike riding brotherhood of rugged and hardworking men. Underneath what might seem a rough and intimidating exterior beats huge hearts of tenderness that spread love, kindness, respect, honor and peace in one small part of the world that has rippling and everlasting effects.
Steven Huntington of Windham, president and founder of Brothers Crew MC, never set out to create a motorcycle club. It definitely was not his intention to create an organization with the mission to relieve a little suffering for others. It all began because he, himself, was suffering from the depths of grief after losing someone he deeply loved. Huntington’s brother, Charles “Chucky” Huntington, died at the age of 42 on November 12, 2012. “He was everything to me,” Huntington explained as he told his brother’s story and the “accidental” creation of Brothers Crew MC.
Chucky was a survivor despite all odds. Fifteen years ago in an unfortunate circumstance, Chucky was shot in between the eyes and the bullet’s shrapnel scattered throughout the brain. He was immediately taken to Maine Medical Center where the family was told the odds of survival were slim. The surgeon explained he would do his best to remove as much of the shrapnel as possible but if Chucky did survive the surgery, he would never walk or talk again and most likely remain in a vegetative state.
After surgery, Chucky was placed on life support for four weeks, at which time, the ventilator was disconnected. Miraculously, not only did Chucky survive but he lived a full and productive life. However, as he grew older, the shrapnel that could not be removed from his brain during surgery began to shift. As it did, Chucky slowly reverted back to the young mind of an eighteen-year-old. Chucky loved motorcycles and it was his dream to be a part of a brotherhood. However, due to his disabilities, driving a motorcycle and thus being a part of a motorcycle club would never be a dream realized. Unfortunately, Chucky’s life came to an abrupt end when he choked and aspirated while eating.
“I cried every day for months after his death,” Huntington said, recalling the moment his grief hit an all-time low. However, it was within that deep grief of death that Brothers Crew MC was unknowingly given birth. “One day I decided to honor my brother and his wish to become a part of a brotherhood by simply drawing a sketch of a patch that I would put on the back of my leather jacket. That’s all I wanted to do was to honor my brother and his dream. I spent a lot of time working on that sketch trying to get it just right, eventually working with a tattoo artist to assist me in perfecting it.”
Within a month, Huntington had his patch and it was time for him to ride. Huntington asked two of his friends to join him and the three rode together on a warm spring day in 2013. “Then, the word got around,” Huntington expressed with amazement, “Before I knew it, other friends wanted to join in memory of my brother. Quickly, two friends became four, four friends became eight and eight became twelve. It just kept growing without any effort from me.” Within six months after that original ride, there were approximately 20 men who wanted to be a part of this unofficial motorcycle club.
“As it continued to grow, we decided to become an official club with the intention to honor all brothers who have passed and, in doing so, relieve a little suffering in the world,” Huntington explained. That fall, approximately six months later and about a year after his brother’s death, Brothers Crew MC was born and became an official organization.
Membership requires a series of steps to include 1. Contacting the President, 2. Invitation to “hang out” with the group 3. Becoming a prospect 4. Full acceptance that includes the patch. All members must pass a background check as well as a drug free test and be non-violent members of society.
Members come from all walks of life and join for various reasons. “I have known Steve all my life and I had been following him and his new motorcycle club on Facebook,” Joe Mulkern of Westbrook explained. “I saw all the good they were doing and thought to myself, ‘What a feeling that must be to help others. I want to be a part of that,’” Mulkern continued. “If I would have known how this group would have grown and become what they are today, I would have joined in the beginning.”
Others join for the structure. “I was looking for a traditional and regimented motorcycle group, where you earn your role as a member,” Matt LaBranche stated. LaBranche’s need for structure most likely came from being a veteran in the armed services, serving in Iraq in 2003-2004. “I know the US entering into the Iraq War was controversial, but I believe we were there doing God’s work, eliminating a dictator who was killing women and children.”
LaBranche’s preference for structure is what led him to Brothers Crew MC. His reflective nature also indicates that he still gets to do “God’s work.”
Brothers Crew MC is gearing up for the holiday season. For those who wish to spread some joy and relieve a little suffering in a sometimes challenging world, contact Huntington at brothercrewmc.com/author/brotherscrewmc to make a donation. Not only will one honor those who live in our memory but those who still live. For Huntington, he does his work “in memory of my Brother 42 and our Brother Alex Paradis Chubs 22*.”
*This article is dedicated with honor to the recent passing of a Brothers Crew MC member, 22- year -old Alex Paradis. His loyalty and enthusiasm toward the goodwill of the club was outstanding and his passion and commitment for life will be missed.