The Brother’s Keepers Motorcycle Club donated a check for $92,000 to “Camp I’m Still Me” in Scottsville, Texas, Tuesday afternoon to help children who have suffered various degrees of burns enjoy a week-long camp.
Chapter 1 of Shreveport, Chapter 13 of Longview, and Chapter 18 of Tyler donated the proceeds from burn runs they held over the past year.
“As firefighters, we try to help each other, help the kids and help our community,” said Davis “Deacon” Massey, international chaplain of BKMC. “To be able to raise the money we did with the help of everybody in the community and come out here to the camp like today and ride in with the motorcycles – probably 50 to 75 motorcycles – and other guests who rode out here with us and to be able to present a check over $92,000 to help these kids and see the smiles and the joy it puts on their face is a total blessing for each and every one of us.”
The group met at David Beard’s Catfish Village in Waskom, Texas, and then headed out to the burn camp. Just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, they arrived at the burn camp in Scottsville where they presented the check to Dr. Kevin Sittig, Burn Center Medical Director at University Health, who started “Camp I’m Still Me” 27 years ago. He began the camp with 14 children, and today, he supports about 70 children aged 4 – 17 at the camp, without any costs to the burn victims.
“Thank you all for coming out, all of the Brother’s Keepers, your families, my burn camp family and volunteers and everybody that comes out to make this incredible dream come true,” said Dr. Sittig.
The donation by the bikers made a big impact on the kids at the burn camp.
“It’s amazing,” said teenager Trey Miller. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. (I’m) very appreciative about the check.”
Eleven-year-old Key King, who has been coming to the burn camp for six years, was elated about the donation by the bikers. “They’re very generous for helping us,” King said.
BKMC comprises firefighters, whether paid, volunteer or retired, as well as their spouses. Other motorcycle clubs also helped with the presentation. For “Deacon” and the rest of the bikers, it’s their way of giving back to the community.
“We may be firefighters, and God blessed each and every one of us to be able to help others, and that’s what we do,” Deacon said. “If we answer the call to a fire call, whether it be 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, no matter what it is, you’ve got somebody that’s down and needs our help, and that’s what we do. We’re here to support our community, to support our citizens of our area, and if we can help anybody who’s ever down by trying to raise money for them, that’s what we want to do because that’s what’s in our hearts.”
Adam Hunter, 14, is happy that the burn camp has been going on for the past 27 years. “The thought that they’ve been doing it that long, it’s just amazing. We’ve done many things, going to Splash Kingdom, the bowling alley. Even one year, I’ve gone to a bull riding place.”
Hunter’s favorite thing to do at camp is meeting the new people coming in. “I like being able to introduce myself and who show them how we’re all equal here.”
Young camper King expressed his feelings about the camp in just a few words – “I like it! It’s fun!”
Dr. Sittig also presented a specially-made quilt to Susan Tuberville, widow of Dr. Durell Tuberville who passed away in August 2017 following a battle with cancer. Dr. Tuberville had served as the chaplain for the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Caddo Parish Fire District 3, and the chaplain for BKMC until the time of his death. BKMC also presented a special quilt to Dr. Sittig for his dedication over the years to the young burn victims and the burn camp. At dinner following the check presentation, everyone was asked to sign the two quilts.
“We’re honored to pair up with Dr. Sittig and this great camp and what it means to him,” said Deacon, who replaced Dr. Tuberville as the chaplain for BKMC. “You can see it in his heart because anything that anybody does, if it’s in their heart to do it, it shows on their expressions on their face and when they present something. It’s got to be in your heart, and you can see that Dr. Sittig and his whole staff to come out here and volunteer for this every year and allow us to help them is just a total blessing to all of us.”
The staff at Camp I’m Still Me also presented the BKMC members and other first responders with a “Strength for Service to God and Community” Bible devotional.
Additionally, other groups and organization donated more than $2,000 to the burn camp during the ceremony Tuesday. It’s fundraisers that BKMC doesn’t take lightly.
“We couldn’t do what we did without the sponsors and the motorcycle community that comes out and gives so freely,” said Deacon. “We ask, and they always give, so thank you to everybody that participates (in the burn runs).”
The camp is also supported by the Percy R. Johnson Burn Foundation, a private, not for profit organization seeking to ensure the availability of a comprehensive program of services for burn patients and the families of burn patients receiving treatment in the Shreveport-Bossier City area. The Foundation was established in 1985 by former burn patients and local health care professionals involved in burn care and was named in honor of Captain Percy R. Johnson, a Shreveport fire fighter who lost his life in the line of duty. Injured in that same incident was Fire fighter Patrick Johnson, who co-founded the Burn Foundation; he is the father of U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson.
A gallery is below: