By Angela Gordon
Special to Frost Illustrated
FORT WAYNE—Hard Hitters was founded in the summer of 2006 by Larry Lawrence, president, and three others—Jessie Johnson, co-founder, Angela Gordon, co-founder, and Charles Griggs, co-founder.The club started out with six members, all of Fort Wayne. As we witnessed the brotherhood and sisterhood of many other clubs, we found ourselves motivated to organize our own club.
The Hard Hitters were organized to be the social club that pursues and encourages a safe and effectual manner of group riding; promotes good public relations through our general behavior, club activities and community affairs and promotes dialogue among members and the community—and in general to abide by all local, state and federal laws.
In 2008, the Hard Hitters opened up a neighborhood convenience store located at 733 East Lewis St. Due to the economy and other convenience stores coming in the neighborhood, we decided to close in 2010.
We decided to find us a clubhouse for our members and their family at 5001 Avondale Drive.
The Hard Hitters have been involved in a number of events for the community, such as an Easter egg hunt, a carnival in which the FWFD got involved along with us and the grand opening of Charlie Bob’s Coin Laundry located at 5439 S. Anthony Blvd., where we did a bike/car show.
The American Legion has a bike event every year and has called upon us to get involved with this event. We now have been participating for the past six years.
For the past four years, we have sponsored a Hard Hitters Haunted House on Halloween. More that 400 people have showed up for this event each year, during which we provide free entry, hot dogs, chips, juice and plenty of candy.
Hard Hitters is not a gang—we are just individuals united in our efforts to do the best we can at providing positive things within our community for our community.
At a time in our city, when we have pledged to do all we can to stop the violence, especially senseless gun violence, it is incumbent upon us to do all we can to embrace and promote those individuals, groups and events that are attempting to be role models and offerings of hope within our community.
During times of violence within our community, certain community leaders are called to the scene. So, my question is: Why can’t these same community leaders be called and/or requested to render aid and assistance long before the escalation of any activity that might be in question and thereby prevent a group, such as the Hard Hitters, to be raided and jailed for a crime that could have easily been otherwise rectified? We speak of building trust and respect between police and community. Could not this have been a perfect opportunity to begin to build just that?