His nickname is “Rotten,” but this weekend he’ll be part of something kind and decent. He’s in a biker club, but there’s nothing to fear from his not-so-wild bunch.
Jerry “Rotten” Remington, 49, is president of the Everett chapter of Unchained Brotherhood. It’s a clean-and-sober motorcycle club and nonprofit organization with several chapters in Washington.
“I met these guys, they were happy and healthy. They had good lives, and that’s what I wanted,” said Remington, who has 11 years of sobriety under his belt. “I’m honored to call those men my brothers. They’ve changed my life.”
Unchained Brotherhood members will be outside the Kmart on Marysville’s State Avenue on Saturday and Sunday, collecting toys and donations for a church group that helps families in need. Toys will be given to Seeds of Grace, an outreach ministry at Allen Creek Community Church in Marysville. Collection hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Twila Crain, who oversees the church’s compassion and children’s ministries, said Seeds of Grace runs a food bank that serves about 125 families each week. “It’s more than a food bank. We call it a resource exchange,” she said. “It’s not only about the food. It’s building relationships.”
Food is distributed twice a week, on Wednesdays to seniors and disabled people, on Saturdays to others. Some toys collected by Unchained Brotherhood will be given to seniors who might otherwise not be able to give gifts to grandchildren, Crain said.
Dan Hazen, executive pastor at Allen Creek Community Church, said the food bank has been in operation for at least 10 years. Seeds of Grace is becoming more of a community center, he said.
For Unchained Brotherhood, which Remington said has about 70 members statewide, the toy drive is one of many volunteer efforts. The club has held food drives to support Seeds of Grace and holiday meals at the Everett Gospel Mission Men’s Shelter.
Unchained Brotherhood will play “secret Santa” as part of this weekend’s toy drive. Cash donations will be used to pay off some layaway purchases — for toys and kids’ clothes — at the Kmart store. “People have been chipping away at it, but we pay those all the way down to $1. After that, Kmart calls them and says a secret Santa came in, and all they owe is a dollar,” Remington said.
Last year, the club raised nearly $2,000 for secret Santa purchases.
Remington said he has visited Denney Juvenile Justice Center, the Snohomish County Jail and the Monroe Correctional Complex to speak on panels about recovery from substance abuse. On Christmas Eve, he plans to be part of a group visiting the Monroe prison’s Minimum Security Unit.
“That’s part of being a member of this club, actively working the 12 steps and being of service,” he said. “There may be somebody I could run into and help.”
Remington, who lives in Everett and runs a painting business, said it wasn’t until he was sober that he really became a biker. “Before, I was always so broke because of my addiction, I couldn’t afford motorcycle payments,” he said.
Good works are part of recovery.
Before turning away from drugs or alcohol, “we took from society,” Remington said. “Part of our recovery is to be of service. These are our indirect amends. We’re glad to do it, and we have a great time.”
And that nickname? “It’s an old story. Let’s just say I used to be dirty-rotten,” he said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Everett chapter of Unchained Brotherhood, a clean-and-sober motorcycle club, will hold a toy drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Kmart, 9623 State Ave., Marysville. Toys will be donated to Seeds of Grace, a food bank and resource center at Marysville’s Allen Creek Community Church. Cash donations will pay off some layaway purchases, a “secret Santa” effort. A biker Santa will be there for free pictures. Information: www.unchainedbrotherhood.org