By DONNA MARIE WILLIAMS
Sunday, January 6, 2019
AYDEN — With a goal to foster brotherhood and enjoy the freedom of the road while remembering those who came before them, The Veterans Motorcycle Club Chapter 5 has resided in Ayden for 27 years.
Since its creation in 1982, The Veterans Motorcycle Club developed into a national organization with chapters spanning across the United States.
Each member of the club is a U.S. veteran and rides an American-made motorcycle.
“You can’t be in this club without serving and getting an honorable discharge,” said President Bill Offenhauer of Greenville.
Along with this, each club is dedicated to honoring prisoners of wars and those who remain missing in action.
The club also fosters brotherhood for those who once served the nation by riding in their honor at various events.
“For us, it’s a brotherhood of like minded guys,” said chapter quartermaster Brian Beagle of Youngsville. “Unless you served in the military you never will understand. (The military) has a real way of taking all these young guys at 18 and turning them into the same people. We all get out and things just don’t make sense anymore. We all have the same mindset. This is a place where we all understand each other.”
“These guys, everyone of them, had the same life,” said William “Mac” Peele of Ayden. “They’ve all done the same things. That draws them together.”
Chapter 5 of the Veterans Motorcycle Club established itself in Ayden in 1991 following the request of the Fayetteville Chapter.
“I’m one of the founding members of this chapter. At the time when we started prospecting for this club, I lived in Cape Hatteras. One of the founding members, Earl Joyner, this is where he is from. We had an anniversary in Fayetteville and our president looked at me and other founding members and said ‘you’re starting a chapter in Ayden …’” Peele said.
Since then, the members have continued the tradition of brotherhood and enjoyed the freedom of the road.
“We love riding motorcycles. We do extensive riding,” Offenhauer said.
“I like the rush of fresh air and once you’re riding, that’s all you have to worry about. It allows you to step outside and relax,” Secretary J.T. Green of Elizabeth City said.
Along with their love of riding, the club hosts an annual benefit each year with funds raised going toward a veteran cause.
In the past, the club has made contributions to Wounded Warrior Project, The Gary Sinise Foundation and local veteran projects in Kinston and at East Carolina University.
“We don’t have a giant treasury, but we do what we can,” Offenhauer said. “We try to give back because some members of the military have given all. What little we can do to support veteran causes we do.”
Above everything they do, lies their commitment to each other.
“These guys here, there is not one place I could go without them having my back,” Peele said. “It’s a fraternity. This is a way of life… Once you put the patch on, you’re committed to the whole club. They’re family, they really are.”
“It’s a lifelong friendship even if you decide this life isn’t for you,” Green said. “The friends you made, the connection you made, you’ll always have them for the rest of your life.”
For more information, visit theveteransmc.com.