Founded in 1982 by a group of firefighters and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers who shared a love of riding, the Red Knights Motorcycle Club (RKMC) has deep roots in the first responder community. The original branch was formed in Connecticut but grew to have chapters in other States, including Maryland. MotorcycleTalks® had a chance to speak to Mike Stanford, Chapter President for Red Knights Maryland 6, which was formed in 2009 in Perryville, Maryland, at Station 6 of the Perryville Fire Company.
The club has tiered membership, including regular, associate, and support members. Many of the members of each tier are first responders but all of them share an interest in helping those in need while seeking that “infamous adrenaline rush” that comes with riding an open road, according to Mike.
“There’s a camaraderie with members and this enjoyment of socializing with Brothers and Sisters who’ve experienced the first responder world,” Mike said.
Members of RKMC 6 have more in common than the bonds shared between emergency responders: they’re also heavily invested and involved in their community. Mike explained that the entire club emphasizes supporting local families in need. They also developed a scholarship program specifically for first responders in Harford and Cecil Counties, while also donating to organizations such as the Eli Foundation (who focus on helping children with cancer, the Hope and Peace Foundation (who raise awareness about a variety of social issues including child abuse and veteran affairs), as well as making direct donations for charitable projects members bring forward.
“As a group, we review nominations at our monthly meeting,” explained Mike. “We then make motions on organizations or families that we are asked to support. We haven’t turned anyone down and our usual donation is $250.00 or more. The Red Knights MD 6 also do Flag Lines at Funerals and we support other Red Knight Motorcycle Chapters in Maryland and surrounding States.”
The Red Knights keep their calendars busy with charitable events and fundraisers. As of the writing of this article in March 2022, they’re running a 50/50 Luck of the Irish Raffle, planning a spring Gun Raffle, as well as gearing up for a summer Multi-Gun Raffle.
“This is how we generate the money we donate and use to support organizations each year,” said Mike.
In addition to the events this spring and summer, RKMC is consistently involved with charity rides year-round, Poker Runs, as well as helping out with local fire department, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) fundraising events. According to Mike, the spirit of the Red Knights can be summed up by their mission statement:
To Provide Support to non-profit charities, to distressed fire fighters and/or their families and to assist in area disasters when needed. To Promote Motorcycle Safety. To Project a positive image of Motorcycling. To enjoy the Fraternity of Fire Fighters.
RKMC is a close knit but welcoming group, an association that shares common life experiences and a drive to protect and uplift the folks around them. While there are chapters in other States, Maryland holds a special place in Mike’s heart due to its natural scenery and proximity to so many other active motorcycle locations.
“Maryland offers a lot of open roads,” he said. “We have mountains, we have the ocean, and we’re close to Pennslyvannia, Delaware, Virginian, and West Virginia. There’s a lot to see and I think everyone gets along in the Motorcycle world.”
Mike is a big advocate for new riders joining the motorcycle world. His advice is to find both a bike and a club that works for you personally, that you feel a connection to and, for the club, share common goals. Try new things and expand your horizons, he suggested, but don’t take pointless risks just to show off.
“Most of all, take all of the safety courses,” Mike added. “It pays off.”
You can learn more about the Red Knights Motorcycle Club by visiting www.redknightsmc.com and Maryland Chapter 6 by checking out @redknightsmd6 on Facebook. As always, for more motorcycle community news, spotlights, and features, you can follow MotorcycleTalks® here and on social media. Keep the rubber side down and have fun out there.