The Gulf Coast Outlaws are on a mission to change the negative perceptions that people might have about motorcycle clubs.
They’re starting in their own community.
This holiday season, club members collected more than 1,000 coats during a drive at their Navarre clubhouse and plan to give them away to residents in need. They also raised $2,300 to fund Christmas celebrations for three families who have fallen on hard times.
“I think the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ generation really put a damper on people’s view of the motorcycle club and kind of gave them a falsified perception of things,” said Gulf Coast Outlaws member Preston Perry, who helped spearhead this year’s charitable efforts. “The Outlaws, as a whole, have always been big at giving out to the community. We are very aware of the people who are suffering and in need. With all of us in the Panhandle coming together and being on the same page, we just figured we got this many bodies, how can we help people out?”
Perry, who is better known by his nickname “Gorilla,” said the club members recognized that community members were in need and wanted to give back.
“Wintertime is a struggle for a lot of people, just like the holidays, and what better way to help people out than putting a coat on their back?” he said.
Outlaw members have a distinctive look, wearing leather jackets depicting the Outlaw MC emblem of a skull with red eyes set against a pair of crossing motorcycle pistons. Perry said they are proud of the fact that they stick out in any crowd of non-bikers.
“We don’t want to fit in with society. We like looking different,” he said. “We like people thinking whatever they are going to think, but at the end of the day, we are giving back and doing things that other people aren’t. So let them think what they want.”
The coats the club collected will be distributed to four organizations across three counties. The club plans to take coats to two spots in Escambia County, Heavenly Blessings Mission in Pensacola and Montclair Elementary School. Family Promise of Santa Rosa in Milton and Children in Crisis in Okaloosa County also will receive a share of the coats.
The Outlaws are fairly new to the Navarre area, and Perry said their charitable efforts are a way to introduce themselves to the community.