Bikers who give back
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jul 8, 2014, 14:25
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT The men of the Wicked Few motorcycle club sit on their bikes with the family standing close behind.
HOPEWELL — There is group in Hopewell who call themselves the Wicked Few. The club members pull up to a house in the city for their weekly meetings on their motorcycles, donned in leather and a patch on the their jackets and vests with a skull logo. Despite the appearance, the motorcycle club in Hopewell is nothing as it seems.
Jeremiah Dabney, Wicked Few’s president, formed the club a year ago. After searching for other motorcycle clubs to join, Dabney realized his values and his mission in life did not line up with other clubs in and around the area.
“We needed a mission. The clubs we were joining didn’t have a mission. They didn’t have a cause,” Dabney said. “It was just to join to have fun. I didn’t feel that was good enough for me.”
Douglas “Snake” Anderson, sergeant at arms for the club, joined Dabney to help form the Wicked Few, saying it was time to give back to Hopewell and the surrounding communities.
“I’ve done plenty of ugly and it’s time to do something good,” Anderson said. “I don’t need to do any more ugly out there. I need to do some good.”
As per the club rules and regulations, each member has a charity to focus on, giving back and doing something each year, whether that is give of their time or give of their money.
“Our mission is the charity work, to give back to the community of what we’ve been sucking from it for the last 20 years, 30 years,” Dabney said. “Because I guarantee you every last one of us right here sucks something from the community.”
Speaking of his own history, Dabney admits it is not without its share of imperfections.
“My criminal history isn’t a perfect one. I have a history, every one of us has a history here,” he said. “But as far as our history, it’s our history. I don’t regret my history but I’m thankful I survived it, very thankful.”
From that history grew Dabney’s desire to create something that could always give back to the future of the city for not only the old, but the young, including his daughter.
“I wanted to create something that I could include the family in but still be a brotherhood,” he said.
Since the club’s formation over a year ago, which started in a garage, Wicked Few has held an Easter egg hunt, giving away 85 Easter baskets, six bicycles and multiple gift cards.
“I looked over at everyone of those kids and I didn’t see a frown on their faces,” Dabney said of the Easter egg hunt event.
In addition to the Easter egg hunt, the club has also donated money to the American Cancer Society and helped with the VFW on Christmas Eve. Most recently, the club held a fundraising event for the Vance family who suffered a house fire in Chester, collecting money, clothes and any other donations for the family.
The clubhouse, located in Hopewell, also has a detached garage that acts as a thrift store for people in need and is filled with various household and clothing items. Members of the surrounding communities can make donations at any time and anyone in need is welcome.
Though the club gives an abundance back to the community, the members fight the stereotype that often comes with motorcycle clubs and their somewhat rough exteriors.
“We want to let people know we’re not the bad ones, we’re not the ones to worry about,” Dabney said. “If you see us and you need help, approach us. We’re here. Don’t be scared of us. We’re not here to hurt.”
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Jeremiah Dabney shows pictures hanging around the clubhouse and shares stories of the memories of Wicked Few.
He added that each and every new member must go through a background check and essentially a trial period with the other club members, which Dabney refers to them as “hang arounds.” Dale Eskridge, a hang around with Wicked Few, said the charity work done by the club brought him to the clubhouse.
“I’m retired now and it gives me something to do. It helps everybody and I love to ride motorcycles,” Eskridge said. “I’ve been riding since I was 6.”
Though the club members may support different charities or organizations in the community, have different faiths, each and everyone has a love in their hearts for motorcycles, as evidenced by the dozen or so parked out in front of the clubhouse.
“I’ve been riding for 40 years,” Anderson said, who has ridden from Virginia to California on his bike. “I guess it’s the wind in your air. It clears your head. It’s an experience and once you get into it, it clears your head.”
Dabney said he has been in and out of clubs for 20 years but what has stayed true is his bike.
“The smell of when the honeysuckle hits your face and there’s nothing but you and the road,” he said. He said he and the other members always look for a chance to hit the open road.
The brotherhood, as Dabney refers to the close knit relationship between the club members, stands strong and is something that each member holds closely, despite any conflict that may arise.
“There’s no drugs allowed, no illegal activities allowed and any misbehavior will be handled with extreme caution by us,” Dabney said. “We’re men here. We’re all men. This is a brotherhood. You may not like your brother now but you will love and respect him.”
The patch that is sewn onto the vests and jackets of the club members is held in high regards. Dabney, along with the other members, work to make sure the image of the club is one that is always held to high standards in the community.
“We come and we go but the ones that are true stay forever and you only get out of this club what you put in it,” Dabney said. “If you put nothing in, you get nothing out. ... When you wear this patch, what you do is going to reflect on each and every one of us. If you go out here and get caught doing illegal activities ... if you give a homeless person $5, it reflects on us.”
Though only being a club for a year, Dabney hold goals and sees a future for the men of Wicked Few and their family members. Standing in the midst of the donations in the clubhouse’s garage, he lists a simple goal for the club, a goal that will stretch beyond the reach of Hopewell. He wants charters across the state and then eventually across the country, to grow to something that will be out of his reach.
“Imagine if every community had a club like this,” Dabney said. “Where folks were giving back to the community. Imagine if every community had that. If every community had that it would be off the hook. Imagine.”