Local motorcycle club brings holiday cheer to a family beset by loss

Staff writer

This year, Santa Claus’ preferred ride was a motorcycle rather than a sleigh.

Members of the Soldiers United Motorcycle Club of Hampton Roads delivered a Christmas haul of a $1,450 check and a $250 Walmart gift card to the Jefferson family at their Williamsburg home Saturday. The club consists mostly of veterans, active-duty military and their family members.

“A couple times a year we try to do something to give back to the community,” said Dre Sullivan, the chapter’s president. “Normally around Christmastime we adopt a family or two, as well as Thanksgiving, and just try to help their dreams come true.”

The club is a traditional motorcycle club, meaning the club itself is made up of men, while associated women are supporters of the club. The men provided the check while the women gave the gift card. The money comes from dues and fundraisers, Sullivan said.

“It feels great. I grew up in Chicago in a foster home, so it makes me feel great,” he said of giving the gifts.

Archie and Julie Jefferson said the gesture is a welcome bright spot in an otherwise trying time for their family.

“This time of year, money is always tight for everyone and we’re trying to make sure the kids have a good Christmas. The additions to our family and also as our kids, too,” Archie Jefferson said. “Everybody is adjusting or trying to adjust.”

Just over a month ago, Julie Jefferson’s sister was killed in Richmond. She had six children.

While four of her children are older than 21, the others are just 10 and 13 years old. The Jeffersons filed for full custody of the younger two, who moved in a couple days after their mother’s death.

“It wasn’t even a decision that had to be made. They are family and we’re going to step up to the plate,” Archie Jefferson said.

The Jeffersons already have quadruplets, so the house has gotten a little fuller.

“For them to go out of their way and bless us like they did, we greatly appreciate it,” Archie Jefferson said.

Eric Stone, a good friend of Archie Jefferson, was able to connect the Jeffersons to the motorcycle club because Sullivan is his brother-in-law.

“I just made a phone call to him,” Stone said. “The rest is history. They just stepped in.”

The added responsibility came on top of Archie Jefferson’s own kidney cancer diagnosis, though he has recently been declared cancer-free after surgery.

The club spends a lot of time and energy throughout the year on charity outreach. For the Jeffersons, the group did things a little differently, said Bridgette “Queen B” Sullivan, Dre Sullivan’s wife and leader of the women associated with the club.

Normally, the women go out and buy gifts for families. However, the club learned of the Jeffersons on short notice, so it had to rethink the best way to provide a helping hand, settling on the flexibility of a monetary donation and gift card, which could be used for anything from Christmas shopping to bills, Bridgette Sullivan said.

“As long as the family is happy, that’s what we want to do,” she said.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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