Motorcycle club works to change perceptions by enhancing community

Courtesy<Br><BR>
More than 25 volunteers collected 3,940 pounds of debris from the north Kingman-area during one Saturday cleanup in September. The next cleanup will take place Nov. 14.

Courtesy<Br><BR> More than 25 volunteers collected 3,940 pounds of debris from the north Kingman-area during one Saturday cleanup in September. The next cleanup will take place Nov. 14.

KINGMAN - Daniel Swaine is working to change the public's perception of what they think about motorcyclists.

Swaine is the owner of DJ's Biker Apparel and was the founder of the Knights of the Patriot motorcycle club. Swaine has taken the same principals behind his motorcycle club and turned that into the Knights of the Patriot LLC and the KOTP, a non-profit group committed to "helping the community help themselves."

"My mission never changed from the motorcycle club to the non-profit," Swaine said.

KOTP has undertaken a number of community service projects since receiving their non-profit status.

They've removed more than 12,500 pounds of debris since late August from the area of town referred to as "Birdland." They've gotten the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District to help them burn more than 30 trailers-full worth of tumbleweeds the group collected from the area around the Chaparral Mesa subdivision near the corner of Thompson Avenue and Norrie Street.

Their pancake breakfast Oct. 19 helped raise more than $300 to cover shipping costs for care packages sent to 10 Mohave County soldiers serving overseas.

Local businesses and residents donated items for the care packages, with enough items collected for the soldiers to distribute them among their platoons.

This month the K.O.T.P. will help a Golden Valley veteran rebuild the deck on his home. It's all part of the group's commitment to help the veterans and children of the community, Swaine said.

"We want to change the way kids think in hopes that they'll carry that forward," he said.

Residents in the "Birdland" area seem to be catching onto the idea of cleaning up the community, he said. He estimates it will still take another 12-15 months of cleanup work, but Swaine said he doesn't intend to leave the area once K.O.T.P. is done: His ultimate goal is for the county to donate a plot of land in "Birdland" and have the group build a park to be dedicated to area veterans.

"This is everyone's community," Swaine said.

Swaine, with his long hair and scraggly beard, looks every bit the part of a motorcycle rider. He used to be a clean-shaven, corporate employee working as a regional operations manager for T-Mobile in Concord, Calif., before moving to Kingman with his wife after retiring in June 2008.

Swaine, who had family already in Kingman, moved to town because of the nice weather and the town's affinity for motorcycles. He opened DJ'S Biker Apparel behind the Wash Me car wash on Stockton Hill in December and has used his store to host a number of toy drives and other community events, such as the Saddlebag treat fest, where more than $500 of candy was distributed to children on Halloween.

Swaine is full of more charitable ideas and said he is always looking for assistance in the form of business donations or community volunteers. Bulldog Disposal most recently donated a roll-off for volunteers to use during the cleanups and Home Depot donated $100 in gift certificates for the project in Golden Valley.

"We need businesses who have the same desires as us to help the community to get on board with us," Swaine said.

Those looking to help can call DJ's Biker Apparel at (928) 757-7955.