CLARK, NJ - The Blue Knights New Jersey III held their annual Knights in the Woods motorcycle event at the Deutscher Club on Sunday, August 6.
The 50 mile motorcycle run raises money for the Valerie fund, which benefits children fighting cancer. Current and retired members of law enforcement make up the membership of the Blue Knights.
Clark resident, Jeff Joy is the Special Events Coordinator for the Clark run. “We’re working for the Valerie Fund, which benefits children with cancer and blood disorders, we’re hoping that a lot of people support us,” Joy said. “The more people come to support us, the more money we can donate to the charity.”
The day began with motorcycles filling the lot of the Deutscher Club as riders readied for the day ahead.
A short time later the sound of bagpipes overtook the event as the Marine Corps Honor Guard, from the unit, John Bassilone Detachment No. 190, joined in a special ceremony honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. A moment of silence was also held during the prayer service.
Joseph Caruso, the Goodwill Ambassador for the Blue Knights New Jersey VIII, delivered the invocation and the pre-ride blessing.
“It’s been a very difficult past couple of years for law enforcement across the entire country,” Caruso said. “I think that tide is changing, but this is what the biker community and law enforcement motorcycle clubs do.”
“We come together and give back and help others,” Caruso added. “I think it’s important whenever you see a police officer [to thank them for their service]. I am not a police officer; I’m just the Goodwill Ambassador for New Jersey VIII. I’ve had a lifelong respect and admiration and most of all, gratitude for law enforcement.”
Following the prayer service, 235 motorcycle enthusiast filed out of the Deutscher Club flanked in a series of flashing lights escorting the riders through Union and Somerset Counties and up to the Watchung Reservation.
Union County and Clark police, along with eight motorcycle officers, 20 civilian road guards, an honor guard from a few of their brother-chapters, civilians and additional law enforcement from across the tri-state area were a part of the day’s event.
“We have a lot of sub-groups and we have over 13 chapters in New Jersey that come and support us,” Joy said. “We have lots of other groups, the Knights of Fire, the Firefighters Brotherhood and Dawn Patrol. These are all other motorcycle clubs that come to help us. We, in turn, will help them during their charity.”
Bikers returned to the club after noon in time for the barbeque and bar to open. Raffles were held and live music was played by the Ruff Edges.
Upon return to the Deutscher Club, riders expressed the pride they felt by taking part in the motorcycle run even when they didn’t know most of the people.
“The most important part of it is that it’s a bunch of people who have absolutely nothing in common, but motorcyclists get together and do something for charity,” one biker known only as Chris said.
“My favorite part is the camaraderie, everybody, it’s just the people,” one biker identified as Roger said. “You never know who you run into. It could be people you haven’t seen in a while and just to help out with whatever the cause is, it’s the most important part of the ride.”
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