Motorcycle club rides for ‘something bigger than ourselves’

The chapter of Brothers-in-Arms Motorcycle Club might be known as the “Nasty North,” but its cause and members are anything but.

Sure, the veterans, reservists and active duty service members who compose the North Puget Sound chapter often wear leather and enjoy the bellow of a 650-cubic-centimeter or greater engine — which is the required to join the club. But men and women who ride in this club are set on making their community a better place, especially by helping other veterans or activity duty members in need.

“Yes, we love to ride motorcycles and wear vests, proudly displaying out patch,” chapter President Mark “JarHead” Douglass said in an email, “but that doesn’t make us bad people or thugs.”

At 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, the chapter will host its monthly Bike Night to raise money for this cause. Those who attend don’t need to ride a bike either, they just need to be 21 or older to enter the venue, All Sports Bar & Grill.

Bike Nights usually occur the first Wednesday of the month, but the holiday shifted January’s fundraiser. During what’s considered the “off season” — November through March — money is raised at these events via a 50/50 cash fundraiser, in which proceeds from raffle ticket sales are split between the winner and the cause. Most of the funds raised go toward free meals provided to military members at The BBQ Joint.

It’s one of many the chapter hosts on Whidbey throughout the year.

The Nasty North was formed in 2007 in part to cut traveling time since the original chapter was in Seattle, according to Douglass. The motorcycle club was formed in 2002 to bring together like-minded veterans, reservists or active duty members from any branch, according to its website.

Douglass served in the Marine Corps for seven years, but tore his ACL after his second enlistment and no longer could deploy, he said.

“It didn’t take long for me to start missing the camaraderie that I had in the Marines,” Douglass said.

He began the process of “being patched” in the club in 2014. Since joining, he said, “that void has been filled.”

The group’s major fundraiser will take place at the end of March. The annual Hawaiian Luau raises money for the Opportunity Council, a nonprofit that serves homeless or low-income individuals and veterans.

And this Christmas season, club members escorted Santa — who was also, of course, riding a motorcycle — and delivered gifts to children staying at Marjie’s House, an Oak Harbor housing facility for women and children.

Since its charter, the Nasty North has raised more than $70,000.

“It is great to have a common cause to help out our fellow veterans,” Douglass said, “and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

n The Brothers-in-Arms Motorcycle Club, North Puget Sound Chapter will host a Bike Night to raise money for local veterans or service members at 6-9 p.m. Jan. 8 at All Sports Bar & Grill. Must be 21 or older to enter. Participants do not need to ride or own a motorcycle to participate.