“Mission accomplished for 2018,” said members of the Diamond Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, based in Faulkner County, regarding “helping others.”
The organization awarded three checks last week — each for $1,500 — to three veteran-minded organizations.
“We are about giving back, that is what is instilled in this patch,” said K.C. Castleberry, president of Diamond Punishers, pointing to the diamond shaped symbol on his motorcycle vest.
In addition to riding together, the organization made up of law enforcement, firefighters and military, has a continuous mission to raise money for different organizations and causes with their like-minded goals.
During a gathering of the four organizations at Toad Suck Harley Davidson in Conway, Castleberry presented three checks for a total of $4,500 — one each to the Patriot Guard, We are 22 and the Museum of Veterans and Military History in Vilonia.
Accepting the check for Patriot Guard, Jerry Ashby, a Vietnam veteran, said the donation will be used to purchase flags for the organization’s flag line. The Guard’s mission, he said, is “simple and pure,” to honor fallen heroes and support their families. Traditionally, the guard stands at the funeral services of service members killed in action or who are casualties of war. The organization also offers support to law enforcement and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty.
“If people don’t donate, the flag money has to come out of members's pockets,” Ashby added.
Mikel Brooks of We are the 22, said the donation will be used to help grow the organization as well as to purchase body armor for responders who “go day or night in the field sometimes in dangerous situations” to assist in suicide situations.
We Are the 22 is an emergency response team, Brooks said, that can show up in a veteran's darkest hour and provide the needed support. The organization’s name, Brooks said, is for the number of veterans who statistically commit suicide each day in our country. A Bald Knob native, Brooks served two tours in Iraq on the front lines.
A Vietnam veteran Paul Hicks, museum board president, said the donation will go to operations and maintenance at the museum. The museum, he said, is a tool to reach out to other veterans providing a place to honor and educate. The museum does not charge for touring. As well, veterans serve as docents giving tours. Operated by veterans and their families, a small room in the museum serves a place for the veterans to gather and share experiences. The museum grounds also houses an outdoor chapel that may be used for veterans memorial services as well as a Killed in Action (KIA) walkway honoring fallen soldiers.