EVERETT — Black leather and tattoos, big bikes and broad smiles, that’s what it looked like several weekends ago outside the QFC store at Claremont Village.
“We’re killing it,” said a beaming Jerry “Rotten” Remington, who belongs to the Unchained Brotherhood Motorcycle Club’s Everett chapter.
An Unchained Brotherhood member dressed in a turkey suit let out a loud “gobble-gobble” as a shopper gave one more frozen bird to the club’s cause. Remington said they were “close to 100 turkeys” for the day.
The clean-and-sober group, one of four Unchained Brotherhood chapters statewide, was at the store along Evergreen Way Nov. 10-11 collecting turkeys donated by shoppers. Those turkeys and other food donations went to the Everett Gospel Mission for holiday meals.
Harley-Davidson bikes and other motorcycles lined up outside the supermarket were a crowd-pleasing attraction. But they’re hardly suitable for carrying hundreds of pounds of groceries. “The Everett Gospel Mission comes and picks up the food. We’ve got a little routine going so we don’t have to transport all those turkeys,” Remington said.
The 53-year-old Everett man said he’s now celebrating 15 years of clean time after struggling with substance abuse for much of his life. “This is our indirect amends,” Remington said of the club’s charity work. “The only thing that works for me is a 12-step program,” he added.
Unchained Brotherhood’s Everett chapter is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Remington, one of the charter members a decade ago, is vice president of the nonprofit’s state organization.
While helping themselves, members of the recovery and recreational group make it a priority to help others.
As they’ve done in years past, they’ll have a toy drive to provide holiday gifts for families in need. Unchained Brotherhood members are scheduled to collect toys 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 outside the Walmart at 1605 Everett Mall Way.
“We always have a Santa Claus and we have a Harley-Davidson. We’ll give away free pictures — we print them right there,” Remington said.
For club members, there’s good fun as well as good works.
“We have a very large recovery support family,” said Remington, who runs a painting and pressure washing business. Even if they don’t ride motorcycles, he said, “we call them the unchained family.”
With his Harley-Davidson Softail bike, he joins other members for long rides. They’ve been to Oregon, and to Reno, Nevada.
“The pack’s where it’s at,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun riding with the group. We go somewhere else, hang out, look at stuff.”
After years of food drives, this was the first time for the turkey suit. Members took turns suiting up, with Rik Jensen wearing it the first day outside the QFC and Lance Driscoll dressing up as the big bird the second day.
Unchained Brotherhood member Eddie Gentry, 52, said the club helped change his life. “It’s awesome,” Gentry said. “I’ve taken from my community. It’s time to give a little bit back.”
Mike Woehl, vice president of the club’s Everett chapter, said that after a long time “running the streets,” he has been clean five years.
“My message to anybody that struggles, there’s hope,” said Woehl, 44. “Today what I know is that as long as an addict has a breath in them, there’s hope.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Unchained Brotherhood Motorcycle Club’s Everett chapter, a clean-and-sober recovery and recreation group for male bikers, has scheduled a toy drive for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 at Walmart, 1605 Everett Mall Way, Everett. There will be a Santa and free photos available. Toys collected will be donated to Seeds of Grace Christmas House in Marysville.
Find information about the club at www.unchainedbrotherhood.org.