The Road Pirates are all great volunteers. We get to indulge our love of riding and make important contributions to the community at the same time.
Gary Bogolin, "Bogie," lives near Chicago. He's a Master Diver; diving Jamaica, the Great Barrier Reef, the Keys, and more. "Anywhere with warm, salty water." He's also a founding member of, and treasurer, for the McHenry County Road Pirates motorcycle group. His significant other, Jamie Butler, will join him on the cruise.
The Pirates may have a scary name, but they aren't what you might expect. McHenry County Road Pirates don't rob or pillage. In fact, they're remarkable volunteers for the community. Formed in 2007, their first official activity was to assist in raising money for "Little Angels," a home for severely disabled children in Elgin, IL. With a Pirate volunteer on every corner to point the way, they helped guide some 2000 bikers. The motorcycling community has raised nearly $5 million over 25 years for Little Angels.
The Pirates also ride to benefit "AAIM," the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists. They support AAIM because Matthew, the son of one of the group's members, suffered extreme injuries when he and his friends were hit by a drunk driver. Matt lost use of an arm and a leg. As a result of the Pirates' promotion to raffle a motorcycle, the group purchased electronic prosthetic sleeves for Matt; allowing him to regain nearly full use of his limbs.
Another illustration of what the Pirates do is supporting "GiGi's Playhouse," which are Down Syndrome Awareness Centers. These centers provide educational opportunities and support for families with children with Down syndrome. Pirates raise money by putting on a poker run, with stops at ice cream parlors and a child-friendly event at the end of the day. Bogie is also a member of the Patriot Guard Riders; riders who attend funerals for our fallen soldiers at the request of their families. Says Bogie: "The least everyone can do is to honor the people who have given so much for us." Gary spends countless hours coordinating the activities of the Pirates in support of their charities and in standing the flag line, honoring America's heroes.