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A growling sound of motorcycles arriving at Newtown VFW Post 308 on April 22 will signal good news for a special group of children.
The Raging Knights Firefighter Motorcycle Club (RKFFMC) Battalion 4 will hold its 4th Annual Spring Breakout Pig Roast and Party Saturday, April 22, from 2 to 6 pm, at the Newtown VFW Post 308. The public is invited to enjoy the afternoon, which includes raffles, a cash bar, and food. There is a $15 admission. All proceeds benefit the Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp.
The RKFFMC is about “the love of promoting the bond of firefighting and motorcycling and giving back to our community as motorcyclists,” said Chapter President AJ Boraski. He was 19 when he started serving as a volunteer firefighter and has now been in the fire service for 28 years. Mr Boraski is a career firefighter with Stamford, and lives in Bethel. He started riding a motorcycle in 2003 and “enjoyed the brotherhood of riding and firefighting.” He rides a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic 9/11 tribute motorcycle. He joined a club for firefighters in 2005, and in 2010, “We started our own independent Raging Knights,” Battalion 4, he said.
Mr Boraski described how he felt about being a RKFFMC member. “As firefighters we give of ourselves anyway,” but joining a club is “hard to describe. Being part of it is an extension of being a firefighter — we have a close-knit family at the firehouse and it extends to our families, and riding motorcycles in a club for firefighters gives us the common bond of helping others.” He enjoys “knowing you made a difference in someone’s life other than your own. If we didn’t do it, there would be a void in our lives, I think.”
Hawleyville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company member firefighter and
Casey Sorg has been with the company for five years and joined the RKFFMC several years ago. He likes the fact that they help people, he said. He grew up in Wallkill, N.Y. He was injured in a fire in 2005 after inhaling chemicals while with the Wallkill Hook Ladder and Hose Company.
“We were called for mutual aid to a brick house, fully engulfed.” He was inside, and the next he knew, “I was in the back of an ambulance.” Mr Sorg said, “Ever since, it’s been a passion to help people in need, especially kids.”
He has been in the fire service since he was 15. “And here we are, 15 years later, doing what I love,” he said. His grandfather was with Wallkill Hook Ladder and Hose Company, and Mr Sorg “wanted to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps, and my uncles, I wanted to follow in their footsteps too.”
He is proud of his time with the club. “Everything we do is for charity, or if there is a house fire, we help people get back on their feet.”
Regarding the club’s contributions to the burn camp, he said, they hold a Founder’s Day.
“They bring in people who do donations. I have gone, met the kids, seen the camp.” Mr Sorg said, “It’s very nice and a great experience for the kids.” Considering the burns, Mr Sorg said, “Other kids don’t like it, but at camp with other kids they feel not alone and they come out of their shell and they open up.”
He said, “It’s very rewarding to see the kids interacting and playing; it’s a great experience for people to get to help the kids. It’s about kids and family and being there to support everybody.”
He will be doing some of the cooking on Saturday, he said, including hot dogs and hamburgers and everything else.
The club is a fraternal organization, all male. Mr Boraski said, “Our significant others also are support and we could not do what we do without them.” Prospective members “do not have to be a firefighter, but we do take associate members who fully support our services and believe in giving back to our community.”
The RKFFMC started with one chapter in East Haven and now has four battalions locally, and five in Nova Scotia, Canada. Club members encountered riders from Nova Scotia during a 9/11 ride.
The upcoming pig roast is Battalion 4’s fourth event for the Luf Children’s Burn Camp. Fundraising covers camp costs — roughly $2,500 for a summer camper, and covers everything. As a club overall, the RKFFMC has done a dozen events statewide since 2010.
Battalion 4 donated to the Newtown Police Department union after 12/14, and has provided families with food and clothing through the Regional YMCA.
“We try to do what we can to give back to those in need,” Mr Boraski said. “We will do rides to support other charity events. Last year we did poker run for childhood cancer.” The club also supports victims of fires in the local area, donates items to the military, and in general assists the community in times of need during tragedies, he said.
Battalion 4 holds its meetings at Newtown VFW, which has “been [a] great host to us.”
According to ctburnsfoundation.org, the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation, Inc is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization established in 1978. It comprises ten volunteer board members with an office located in Milford. Through the years, it has grown as a leading educational and funding resource in support of burn safety and burn care. In 1991, the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation Board of Directors established a children’s burn camp for severely burned children between the ages of 8 and 18. Located in Union, the Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp is the only one of its kind in the Northeast.
Also stated on the website, “The Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp became a reality after many years and hours of dedication and planning by our late President and Founder, Arthur C. Luf. Located on the Massachusetts line near Sturbridge, Mass., it is set on 176 acres with its own pond for swimming and boating.”
All expenses for lodging, meals, arts/crafts, activities, and programs are paid for by the foundation.
Learn more about the Raging Knights at rkffmcbat4.com. Information on that site states: “Our Chapter is just starting out but we look forward to being there to help others in our community. Our members are from both career and volunteer departments in Fairfield County.” Club members have “already begun helping others by attending the East Granby [fire department’s] Bikers for the Cure Breast Cancer Awareness Ride.” The site notes several other fundraiser where members will be attending. “Our members have stepped up to help where we can. We look forward to seeing you out and about on the road or at events.”