Two individuals were honored for their unwavering dedication to the cause this week with presentations of a timeless memento: a mural painted on the wall of the childcare room at CACDC of two members of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) an organization dedicated to the principle that one of the basic rights of childhood is to be safe and protected.
Executive Director of CACDC, Dan Leal, addressed the crowd made up of BACA members, relatives of those honored, CACDC staff, board members and beneficiaries, of the long relationship between CACDC and BACA who both work together in their distinct roles to protect and support children and families from sexual and physical child abuse.
“Tick Tock and Jester are ideal representatives on the mural for what BACA has meant to the Children’s Advocacy Center – strength, compassion and reliability in protecting the children,” said Leal before unveiling the mural painted by volunteer artist Rachael Sexton, commemorating Gerald Levon Cleveland II known as (Jester) and Tim Chambers known as (Tick Tock), both who are part of the BACA brotherhood.
Cleveland who died 4 years ago, age 33 from a motorcycle accident was the former President of BACA Fort Worth chapter and a sitting state vice president of BACA. Given the nickname Jester for his keen sense of humor and joke telling ability, he dedicated his heart and soul to protecting abused children.
“BACA is not what we do, it’s who we are,” said Mark (Trappy) Hanna, the current Fort Worth president of BACA. “Jester embodied it in every facet of his being.”
Chambers, a BACA Dallas chapter member who is battling Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) was in attendance with his wife Carol. Known for accompanying hundreds of children to court and serving as a primary BACA contact for well over 100 children and families since 2003, he helped start the Dallas chapter. Chambers also served on the Board of Directors for CACDC from 2009 – 2011 where he spearheaded the strategic planning process for the agency and acted as an ambassador by speaking publicly in the community for the cause.
Hanna said, “No words can explain the importance of honoring these two warriors which neither would have asked for as selfless men. They have done a lot for abused children.”
Once the mural was unveiled to the group, the emotion built as CACDC president Matt Schirle was named an honorary member of BACA by Dallas chapter president Michael “Oddball” Staab. Schirle, a supporter of BACA and close colleague of Chambers, was very happy to receive an official vest with the nickname “Sparky” (dubbed by Chambers) embroidered on the back next to a patch showing a skull and crossbones and reading — WARNING — The Surgeon General has determined it is hazardous to mess with a B.A.C.A. child.
“I’m a huge supporter of BACA. This was literally one of the best days of my life,” said Schirle. “I’m getting a Harley.”Owning a motorcycle that will do the speed limit is a prerequisite of the BACA brotherhood.
Sourced by their website BacaWorld.org, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) is a non-profit, 501-C-3 tax exempt organization that exists to provide aid, comfort, safety and support for children that have been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused.
Working in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children, they send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that the child is part of their organization, and that they are prepared to lend physical and emotional support by affiliation, and physical presence. As protectors of the children from further abuse, they don’t condone violence or physical force however, if they end up being the only obstacle preventing further abuse, they will.
Their main tactic is making themselves highly visible to deter the charged perpetrator.
• BACA members ride as a group to the child’s house where the parent(s) / Guardians are present to assist in presenting the child with a patch, stickers, and a photograph of the child with his/her new biker family. For scared children the photograph acts as comfort to convey the message “I am not alone, and you don’t want to mess with my family.”
• If Level one is not sufficient, several BACA members will create a presence at the home of the child, being visible at times when the family might be the most vulnerable.
• If physical presence at the residence of the child’s home isn’t enough, a formal letter is drafted by the Chapter President or Vice-President in the area in which the abuser lives. On chapter letterhead, the message of the letter is to explain to the perpetrator that they are prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to become the obstacle to further abuse.
• While it is against the purpose of BACA to purposely engage a perpetrator, they will ask for the general geographical location of the offender, and conduct a “Neighborhood Awareness Ride” in which they ride to the general location given and go door to door letting neighbors know who they are, handing out stickers to kids, and distributing literature regarding their mission and how they function. If the location or address of the perpetrator becomes known to any BACA Member, they immediately withdraw to avoid any contact.
Often times these measures lead up to the climax of their involvement, to attend court with the abused child during trial and hearing to better chances of a conviction. The physical presence helps the child be less intimidated and frightened to give an accurate testimony regarding his/her abuse, bettering the chances for conviction of the criminal.
With CACDC working with 34 Denton County Law Enforcement agencies, the Juvenile Probation department, the Denton County District Attorney’s Office, Child Protective Services, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, donors, and volunteers, BACA and CACDC together are a match made in heaven for children who suffer from sexual or physical abuse.
For those who would like to help in providing justice and healing for those in need, you can attend the upcoming 4th Annual Champions for Children Gala on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at Circle R Ranch, 5901 Cross Timbers Road in Flower Mound, 75022. You can contact 972-317-2818 or visit CACDC.org for more information.