CALUMET - While the image of two criss-crossing steel swords on the back of their leather jackets may be intimidating, the Michigan chapter of the Highland Motorcycle Clan are trying to dispel that notion through their charitable work.
Throughout the year they raise money in order to buy kids presents at Christmas time. The money is raised through rides and auctions.
This is their second annual outing in the Copper Country and the toys will be given to Maj. Mark Brown of The Salvation Army for distribution.
Scott Viau/Daily Mining Gazette
An employee of Shopko Hometown in Calumet helps Highland Motorcycle Clan Member Jeff Stroud add up the prices for toys Sunday during the club’s annual toy shopping event. The club raised about $1,500 to spend on toys for local children.
While this is only the second year here, they've been shopping in Marquette for 15 years.
"They started out years ago spending $300 or $400 max throughout the year because that's what they could afford, but over the past 15 years we've spent over $55,000," said Highland club member Pete Lammi.
Highland Clan member Jeff Stroud said part of the reason they do this is to help out the community.
"The community is a big part of where a person comes from," Stroud said. "Yoopers are always known for being generous, hard working, upstanding people so we're trying to pass that on to the kids of the next generation."
Stroud added they also do it to show the club does good work and to break stereotypes of bikers.
The bikers met Sunday at Shopko Hometown in Calumet. With about $1,500 to spend, club members filled up five shopping carts with toys for kids. On Saturday, members of the club also went shopping in Marquette for toys.
"(The community) treats us well and we like to give back," Lammi said.
Member Jake Kivela said the toy drive grows every year and should continue to do so next year.
"When you have as much success (as we have), people see and are more likely to donate," Kivela said.