Thunder Roads La/MS November TRLAMS_NOVW - Page 19

veterans’ spotlight Article by: Brody Kennen Photos Courtesy of: Ken “Rio” Clark W ith the 11th of November coming up, I took it upon myself to interview a member of the motorcyclist community who had served, in some form or fashion, with the U.S. Armed Forces on America’s behalf. I chose to interview Ken Clark, who join and served in U.S. Marine Corps in the early 1990s. Everybody simply refers to him as Rio. As he was a “Peacetime Marine”, he described his story as a boring story of “swabbing cannons and greasing 5-tons” due to his MOS as an 0811 Field Artillery Cannoneer. I certainly wasn’t bored of hearing about the operations of towed artillery pieces. Rio is with the Vagabond Chapter, of the Marines MC within Louisiana, and he explained how the club came to be. The founding member, called Scorpio, held a desire to create a motorcycle club that espoused the brotherhood of the Marine Corps within it. It was explained that he eventually wrote the upper echelons of the U.S.M.C; seeking permission to utilize the EGA emblem, the word “Marines” and the phrase “Semper Fidelis”. Headquarters Marine Corps sought a clarification-of-intent, and a copy of the constitution and bylaws was sent in. Awhile later, the Commandant approved. “The good Commandant giveth, and the good Commandant taketh away.” Rio explained. The permission came with an understanding that a higher standard would be held. The Vagabond chapter is a non-profit: focusing on aiding the local communities and donating time to motorcycle-oriented events in Central Louisiana. They have a specific charity to the Veterans Affairs Nursing Home in Alexandria. Rio stated: “we try to supply them their ‘wants’, because the government takes care of their ‘needs’.” He noted that they preferred the Community brand of coffee, so organization takes place with Veterans Affairs to raise money so that the chapter can provide those men and women with their desire. The Vagabonds focus is making sure that they know that they are not forgotten in this world. The most apparent thing about speaking to Rio was this. He downplayed the “support role” he had in many peoples’ lives. What I took away was his desire to help those people who were in need. I know that, not to be a Marine thing, but to be a specific breed of humanity which you do not see every day. And, I know for a fact that all the men with him, in the Marines MC, to be the same way. The desire to make sure that others had what they needed and to do what was right by others. As best as he could, Rio explained to me the definition of what a brotherhood was. To all the veterans, who read this, I want to say thank you. No matter your role in the U.S. Armed Forces. And, I wish you all the most sincere and Happy Veterans Day. | November 2017 | Thunder Roads Magazine Louisiana/Mississippi 17