Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club
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The Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club (RKMC) is a club for firefighters and their families who ride motorcycles. It is the largest fire service motorcycle club in the world.
Membership is open to all firefighters: active, retired, volunteer, professional or industrial, who have access to a motorcycle and hold a valid motorcycle driver's license.
During the summer of 1982, several firefighters met in Randy's Cycle Shop in Boylston, Massachusetts, United States. They discussed the fact that police officers had established their own motorcycle club, the Blue Knights, but there was still no motorcycle club for firefighters. B owner Randy Wilson said to Ed Wright, a firefighter from Northboro, Massachusetts, that he should stop talking about it and establish a motorcycle club. Wright made some hand-made cards to invite firefighters from the region. He planned to organize a meeting to determine whether there was enough interest to start a motorcycle club.
On August 17, 1982, Fire Chief Jack Pierce allowed a small group of avid motorcycle riding firefighters to meet in the headquarters of the Fire Department for the purpose of starting a club.
On October 19, 1982, firefighters Colin Mackey, Bob Bourassa, Ed Wright, Roger Wentzell, Dave Hamilton, Bob Goulet, David Hunt, Jon Tripp, Don Parker, Norm Beausoleil and Fire Chief Jack Pierce met again. It was decided that the club would be called the "Red Knights Motorcycle Club" and the first chapter would be Massachusetts 1.
In July 1983, a chapter was founded in Connecticut. In October of that year, a second chapter in Massachusetts was founded. Soon there were startups in remote locations such as Nevada and Louisiana. In August 1983, the founding members realized that the organization had quickly exceeded their original expectations. To properly handle this growth they elected a board of directors, the National Board of Directors. With the founding of chapters in Ontario and Saskatchewan, the club was the renamed the "Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club".
There are now 350 chapters and over 9,800 members worldwide.
RKMC membership types include:
- Active member
Any active or retired firefighting personnel who holds a valid driver's license for motorcycles and has access to a motorcycle can be an active members in RKMC member. A firefighter belonging to a professional, work, military, airport, or volunteer fire department can be a member. EMS personnel may also be included if they are employed by a fire department.
- Charter member
This membership is granted to any member who joins a new chapter within the first year of its existence.
- Social member
A sibling, spouse or partner, children aged 16 years or older, and the parents of active members may join as social members.
- Junior member
Children and grandchildren of active and associate members, up to 16 years of age, can join as junior members.
- Associate member
Associate membership can be offered to a person who has contributed to the promotion of the Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club® Inc. for a minimum period of six months. Final approval shall be by a majority vote of the chapter members at a meeting held at the conclusion of the six-month period.
- Members at large
This membership is available to anyone who qualifies as an active member who chooses not to be a member of a chapter.
To form a chapter, there must be a minimum of seven active members. Each chapter elects its own board. Board positions (officers) are President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Road Captain. The President and Vice President must be an active member, and the other three positions are available to all members. Only the Secretary and Treasurer position can be held by one member.
- Regional association
Several chapters may join together to form a state/provincial or regional association. The state/provincial associations exists predominantly in the U.S and Canada. Currently there are two regional associations. The first brought together the chapters in Australia and New Zealand, and the second brought together the chapters in Europe.
The memorial is located in Boylston, Massachusetts near the local fire station, where in 1982 the RKMC was founded. In 2002, RKMC Massachusetts Chapter 1 began preparations for the site. On August 18, 2007, the memorial was officially opened. In addition to a memorial stone which commemorates the founding of the RKMC, there is also a memorial with the names of all deceased RKMC members.
In 2011, the Board of the International RKMC received a piece of World Trade Center steel from the Port Authority of New York. The piece bears the numbers 149 and C-N-176, which indicates that it came from the area of impact between the 94th and 98 floors of WTC Tower 1. An honor guard escorted the steel from New York to Boylston. On June 16, 2012, the steel was integrated into the RKMC Memorial.
The RKMC is directed by the International Board (international executive board). The board is composed of four Board Officers and eight Regional Directors. The Board Officers are President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.
The eight Regional Directors are responsible for a region. There are six regions in North America, one in Europe, and one in the South Pacific (mostly Australia and New Zealand).
Current and former board members wear a distinctive pin bearing the international seal, and some wear a patch with the wording "International Officer".
RKMC international presidents:
- David Hamilton (1982–1986)
- Jack Pierce (1986–1987)
- Edward Thompson (1987–1991)
- Gary Nelson (1991–1995)
- Leo Patry (1995–1997)
- Gary Nelson (1997–2000)
- Edward Brouillet (2000–2007)
- Jack Downs (2007–2009)
- David Emery (2009-2013)
- Chris Gadway (since 2013)
Each year, usually on the third weekend in August, there is an annual convention, at which the Annual General Meeting is held. The International Board Members are introduced and sworn in at this meeting, having been been elected from the chapters by online voting.
- Past conventions
- Syracuse, New York - 2017
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin - 2016
- San Antonio, Texas - 2015
- Prince Edward Island, Canada - 2014
- Rutland, Vermont - 2013
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - 2012
- Ocean City, Maryland - 2011
- Niagara Falls, New York - 2010
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida - 2009
- Sandusky, Ohio - 2008
- Worcester, Massachusetts - 2007
- New York, New York - 2006
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada - 2005
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - 2004
- Laval, Quebec, Canada - 2003
- Warwick, Rhode Island - 2002
- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - 2001
- Indianapolis, Indiana - 2000
- Daytona Beach, Florida - 1999
- Future conventions
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - 2018
- Lincoln, New Hampshire - 2019
- France (Laon) - 2020
- Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club - History. RKMC official website
- "Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club". www.redknightsmc.com. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
- "Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-09-09.
- RKMC chapter Massachusetts 2. Videos from the RKMC memorial.
- RKMC chapter Massachusetts 2 Archived 2013-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.. Videos from the WTC Steel Dedication.
- "Welcome". www.redknightsmc.com. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
- "Conventions". Red Knights Motorcycle Club. Retrieved 22 August 2018.