Jerry Ball - Bulldog Hero of the Year
Awarded $5000 donation to his charity of choice
I’m honored to nominate my husband, Jerry Ball. Jerry is the President of the Guardians of the Children High Country Chapter. He has been president going on 2 years. He is a founding member of this chapter. Jerry has a heart of gold and gives tirelessly to the organization and the children of Wilkes and the surrounding counties. He is always wanting to help kids some way.
Jerry works full time, is a dad to 3, and a husband. He devotes much of time to GOC and finding ways to help the community. Recently a young child in our community was killed in a tragic accident. Jerry wanted to organize a ride in his honor. He, along with some other members, arranged for this child’s fellow football teammates to have a free day of play at a local trampoline park and skating rink.
Jerry also helps at the football games at the high school his daughter now attends and where his youngest son graduated from. He has volunteered right along side the other members parking cars, directing traffic at events, and doing whatever else he needs to do to help out in any way he can. As his wife, I see just how much time he devotes to the organization and the children/community. He truly is a bulldog hero!!
Fontana Palmer - 2nd place Bulldog Hero
Awarded $3000 donation to her charity of choice
Fontana is Bulldog Hero for her amazing community work through her nonprofit, Rogue Active Duty Animal Rescue (RADAR). Fontana works tirelessly to rescue canine victims of sport fighting and assisting veterans with no/low-cost care for their pets. Fontana devotes countless hours and personal dollars to saving these four-legged friends. Anytime she can, she safely takes these dogs into her own home to train them to succeed in a family environment. Though she is sometimes given donations she pays out of pocket for many vet and housing needs for these animals. In times when many would have cracked and broken, Fontana continues to serve her community and the animals it neglects with a grace and fire. She inspires me to do more for those around me, even if it's hard, and especially when no one else will.
She also cofounded The Litas chapter in Southern Pines NC in the hopes of bringing together women motorcyclists. She did all of this during her continued military service, through a hard pregnancy, with a deployed husband, and then with twin boys born during the height of the pandemic. She is an amazing influence on other women that wish to ride. She has a big heart, is a badass biker chick, and can always make you laugh. She is one of a kind and I’m glad to be able to call her not only a friend but a wind sister. She’s an all-around true Bulldog Hero!
Jimmy Street - 3rd place Bulldog Hero
Awarded $2000 donation to his charity of choice
He is the president of the American Legion Riders of High Point Post 87. He is a great leader & mentor to all the men in his group but more importantly he is a friend. He is someone who is always there any time day or night. He would give anyone the shirt off of his back. He works tirelessly trying to make our post better for our vets. He can encourage & excite his guys to push their limits.
They have helped many vets in our community installing handicap equipment such as handrails & building ramps and buying groceries for someone in need. He won a raffle in March for $1,000 & gave it back. He won 1st prize in a bike night & donated it back to the Shriners. He is a great man of morals, integrity & loyalty to all who call on him.
All of the 2022 Bulldog Hero nominees who were present at the award presentation received a $300 donation to their charity of choice
Nathan Armas - Troutman, NC
My sweet husband has the kindest heart, and he has poured it into helping children in our community. He’s the President of the Mooresville chapter of Guardians of the Children. He went from patch to president in three years.
The organization was formed to assist children who have to face abusers in court and bullies in life, but under his leadership, they are doing so much more. They’re partnering with and volunteering time to help other local nonprofits like Pharos Parenting (providing parenting classes to at risk families), Child Advocates of Iredell and Alexander Counties (providing necessities for abused and/or neglected children in DSS custody), and Heartstrings (providing art, music, and technical skills to local at risk youth through local mentors).
In addition, they host an annual car show to collect school supplies for local children. They packed ninety book bags this year. They also host several community days throughout the year for local children to participate in fun activities free of charge. Our community is blessed to have this organization, and personally, I couldn’t be more proud to have a husband that has such a measurable impact.
Jeff Schmid - Greensboro, NC
Not only is Jeff Schmid the owner of Springers in Greensboro, he is very dedicated to his family and his customers. He is always giving back to the community and helping people in need.
He is largest corporate sponsor for Triad Flight of Honor. He raises truck loads of toys every year for Toys for Tots. He gives support to local police officers, such as Matt Hamilton.
He works with suicide prevention and sponsors the Little Pink House. As a member of The Elks, he raises money for Camp Carefree.
He has dedicated his life and business to help the people in need in his community.
In everything he does he still finds time to be a true friend to the people he meets.
He is a man of very high standards as a gentleman .
Chris Sachs - Ellerbe, NC
Chris ALWAYS is there for our local biker community. As owner of the Hide-A-Way Tavern, he is constantly busy helping in whatever way he can supporting fundraising rides such as Back the Blue (a shop with a cop program for children at Christmas), the annual Buddy Roe Special Olympics ride (continuing the tradition started by former bar owner Buddy Roe), Project Taylor (provides toys for children in the Cancer center at Christmas), and many other various rides or special events.
My boss has created a family at the Hide-A-Way. When my husband unexpectedly passed away, he checked on me daily, offering help in whatever means needed. This outpouring of love does not stop with just his "girls", as we affectionately known, but extends to all who enter our front door.
Chris does all this and so much more, all with a smile on his face, love in his heart, and all while fighting his own personal battle with Pancreatic Cancer. He is more than a Bulldog Hero, he is a hero to so many.
Crystal Ashe - Hickory, NC
Crystal Ashe is the epitome of a HERO. She has touched so many lives over the past few years and made such an impact on the local Charlotte community. She continues to create ride after ride for causes that most take for granted.
She just finished her 3rd Annual Memorial Day Ride to Remember in May, only one month after creating a benefit ride for Mia Goodwin, a fallen Charlotte Police Officer.
Crystal made it her mission to honor Officer Goodwin in April, months after her tragic death in Charlotte. She raised over $12000 for the family and the 3 children left behind. She didn’t know her, only that there was a need to help this family out and to honor a local hero, and boy did she do that.
She had cars, trucks, bikes, trikes and all walks of life come together for one cause…HER CAUSE…to raise money for that family! She had everyone in tears from a poem she wrote about Officer Goodwin and she instantly created a following for herself and her causes and rides .You could tell the impact she had on Mia’s father as he was so grateful to her, for her helping his family. Her passion for first responders came through that day as MANY officers stood by her and thanked her for all she did to BACK THE BLUE. She has fed the officers and taken them snacks and continued to have them be part of her family, just wearing blue. As Sheriff McFadden said at the Mia Goodwin Ride, she truly cares about her men and women in uniform!
Her Memorial Day ride took you to 3 local veterans and military memorials as well as through the national cemetery in Salisbury, all the while she paid respects for the men and women that sacrificed their lives for us. She makes her mission to NEVER FORGET! She truly supports MILITARY!
She had over 500 people join her this year and not one had any complaints on her ride. It was perfectly organized and executed and made it about the heroes, not us. Her ride also raised over $2000 for a military and first responder charity for the children of fallen heroes.
She is always at any benefit ride she and her other half can attend. They are always out helping other rides and causes to raise money. They are always organizing rides to the events and promoting events to try and bring more people in. She not only helps her own events, she volunteers to help on other rides and jumps in at any second she is needed or asked.
So as you can see, not only does she support military and first responders whole heartedly, other riders and groups and bikers and events, but also the children and the community around her.She will be a name in the biker community for years and years to come and I hope she can get the recognition she deserves for all her sacrifices and hard work! She may not ever see her impact, but let me tell you, its HUGE and she deserves this award!!!
Keith Bills - Statesville, NC
Since 2017 Keith Bills had dedicated himself to the community in many different ways. He has done many videos to uplift those with mental health issues and to uplift and inspire those in the community. He has completed numerous benefit rides for the less fortunate. Several have been for children with disabilities or cancer. He has been quoted stating " if they were healthy for only five minutes, then we accomplished our mission!".
Currently Mr. Bills is working with numerous people in the community to become drug free as these folks enter recovery. He has also recently been asked to be the spokesman for Pets for Vets and is in talks with the representatives. Mr. Bills has become an instrumental person to right wrongs through honesty and diligence. He just recently had an issue addressed in a local high school about distractions in the school. Within hours the situation was addressed and taken care of.
Mr. Bills has a very strong commitment to God, Family and Community. Although currently under disability due to severe nerve damage and disk issues in his neck, he continues to provide the most he can through the discomfort and pain. Just recently he was told about a 19-year-old with cancer who was given a short time left. The young man and his family had been followers and communicated with him over the past 2 years. Mr. Bills was advised the young man wanted to meet him. Mr. Bills cleared his schedule and made plans to go to Alabama to see him. After arriving Mr. Bills asked him to sign his helmet so he had a spiritual rider always. He left him with an inspirational quote when asked what could be told about him. He stated, “I always stayed positive!”. Mr. Bills took that to heart. Soon after returning and receiving news that he was actively passing away a sunset ride was arranged and completed to give the family support.
There is a lot more that Mr. Bills has become a part of. From assisting lower Statesville with violence to a traditional two county Toy Drive in December. Mr. Bills has been quoted “If I’m focusing on someone else, my problems aren’t problems at all. I don’t have it that bad!”. Another quote he become fond of is “You have the most confidence just before you crash!” The meaning behind that is to never have more confidence than education and or experience.
Randy Floyd - Winston Salem, NC
Randy Floyd is the president of Benevolent Brotherhood. Every Saturday or Sunday you can find him and his group helping in charity rides and helping with donations by getting the word out about the rides. They also help with blocking if needed. He and his group are always helping kids, veterans and the fallen in the community.
Foran Lang - Charlotte, NC
He is a GOD fearing man and goes all over this country saving souls for our LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST. He is THE best man I know. He goes to a lot of rallies and Sturgis every year. He loves the LORD and know one is beyond saving. GOD wants know one to go to hell. AMEN.
Lincoln and Maggie Infield - Thomasville, NC
I've thought long and hard about who I would nominate this year. Who better that the official unofficial King and Queen, Lincoln and Maggie Infield.
The Infields are an instrumental pillar of our Carolina Biker Community. First off, they provide the vehicle for all of our shops, charities, etc to publicize our charity events. Secondly, they show up to everything...I mean everything. They cross the vast parts of the state to come out and support. They tirelessly lend their time, voice and medium to support Small Shops, Dealerships, Non-Profits, etc.
There's no better example of ambassadors of the Biker Community than this power couple. I know this nomination is short and sweet. But to know them is an honor. To become friends with them is becoming family.
Brandon McNeely - Salisbury, NC
Hero is often defined as:" a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength of ability". After being married 25 years to Brandon McNeely, I know that definition is really overstating. However, I (and most people that know him) can agree with Brandon is: "a person admired for achievements and noble qualities; one who shows great courage". I believe that an everyday hero is someone like Brandon. He leads from the sidelines and has no expectations for accolades. He shows courage in the face of adversity in his everyday life and is excited when others are given the opportunities he is able to pass on to them.
A few examples of how Brandon is an everyday hero are in the local charities and causes he regularly supports. Veteran and children's groups hold a special part of Brandon's heart and are where he puts most of his time and effort.
Our shop, Blue Collar Cycle, was the 3rd stop on Bub’s Ride and able to collect and donate several thousand toys for “Operation Toy Soldier” through customer and local business donations. This summer he sponsored Foster Village Charlotte with an adult lemonade stand and raised almost $3k. “Foster Village Charlotte creates connection with dignity for children and families experiencing foster care by meeting urgent needs, providing educational and emotional support, and advocating as a collective community voice for children.” Brandon also regularly supports “Cases 4 a Cause”, a nonprofit organization that works to support the physical and emotional well-being of children in foster care by building relationships, providing for their basic needs and educating the community while advocating for the children. Through his support of raffles, chili cook-off and rides he has raised over $5k. Brandon’s latest partnership for children is The Masonic Home for Children @ Oxford.
The veteran organizations that Brandon supports are Operation Decisive Victory and Milas Wyatt’s National Wheel Chair Olympics. Brandon has helped raise awareness of ODV’s mission to help vets transition from the military. Brandon has invited them to several events to spread their mission, raising over $7k through sponsorships and fund raisers. Milas Wyatt, the “Salisbury Slayer”, has been able to attend all of his National Wheelchair Olympics due to Brandon’s yearly sponsorship. Last but not least, Brandon partners with Life Share of the Carolinas as an official sign up station for donors.
The above are all phenomenal reasons to vote for Brandon, but the biggest reason is his heart for the community that he is building in his hometown and beyond. His love for making his community his family is his ultimate goal and aspiration and I and his 2 girls love that about him. Thanks for your time and consideration.
Phil Goins - Lincolnton, NC
I am responding to nominate my hero. He’s my hero in the faith and not just mine, but a hero to many others.
It would take a library to tell all the reasons why so I’ll just give a few. Phil is caring, concerned, compassionate and as much like Christ as anyone I know (and I know a lot of folks). He is hard working, other centered and focused on what’s important in this life, like family and friends, loving your neighbors as yourself and doing the right thing.
Decent folks understand what’s most important. People who love the Lord and who will take time to love you right where you are and accept you the way you are with your best interest in mind. This person is pastor of Freedom Biker Church Hickory, NC. His name is Phil Goins and he’s the real deal.
Dano Simmons - Kannapolis, NC
Dano at South Main Customs has been providing exceptional service to biker’s for over 35 years. He makes sure to keep everyone safely riding down the road.
He also donates to many charities every year such as the Shop with a Cop event around Christmas time. Him and the shop hold a poker run on the first Saturday of May where all proceeds go directly to Spinal Bifida research, a program close to his heart as his youngest son was born with the disease.
Dano is always willing to help out a stranded biker, local high school athlete with a sponsorship or any kid by filling up the Toys for Tots boxes that are in his shop every year. He also volunteers his time to the Charlotte CBA.
Paul Watson - Greensboro, NC
Paul Watson is the owner of Lumbee Racing and is the best ambassador of motorcycle drag racing on the east coast. His All Harley World Shootout events are the grassroot events that are keeping motorcycle drag racing alive and bringing the young, up and coming drag racers into the sport.
He uses his influence in the racing world to promote his American Indian heritage and the great people of the Lumbee and Tuscarora Nation. Paul says, "All lives matter, no matter the race, where you came from or who you are. That is the great thing about Harley-Davidson drag racing, it brings together every ethnicity, gender and age group on that weekend".
Paul also uses his events to help others like his "Twist For Tots" where he combines a drag racing event with a Toy Drive. The event generates more that $20,000 and toys for those in need in Cumberland, Robeson and Hoke counties. Paul is a Bulldog Hero.
Rose Luquer - High Point, NC
I would like to nominate my amazing mother. Since entering the biker community in 2007, she has spearheaded over 36 rides and benefits. Benefits for a young baby with Leukemia for her family to pay medical expenses. She is now a heathy teenager, winning many trophies for her dancing ability. She's organized many benefits for a wonderful friend dying of cancer. She’s also helped a hospital for children with special needs. Also tons for the Veterans at American Legion Post 87, a benefit for Alzheimer's, and a benefit to help a family to pay for a mother's funeral. The list could go on and on.
Whenever someone asks or she knows they need help she has been there to help every way possible. Now she is a member of the volunteers for The Triad Flight of Honor and she helps with Toys for Tots. Not only does she organize her own benefits, but she has helped many others organize and sell raffle tickets. She gives and volunteers to help feed the homeless in High Point. Like I say, she is an Angel on earth. She has many people who she’s helped and volunteered for and has made wonderful friends along the way.
Like I say, I could write a book on all the good things my mother has done. Those who have the privilege to know her know she is the most caring and loving person ever. She should be rewarded in many ways. I know I’m so very grateful and lucky to call her my mother.
Fletcher Collins - Elizabethtown, NC
I recommend Mr. Fletcher Collins for this award. This nominee is not only known as "Facebook Pastor" he's also one of the people that leads numerous fundraisers for Bladen county and surrounding areas. Mr. Collins also holds office with his club, Dedicated Souls MC. His heart is generous, his deeds are good, and the only request I've heard from him is "to ask the community to show up."
He is a laboring force for his local hometown, Elizabethtown, NC. He works in all things to present that which is good and always gives the praise to God and will quickly say "This is not about me. This is about God, his mercy and grace." He makes a plea to others appealing to compassion and a Christ like approach in all his efforts.
Fletcher, also known as “Bigshow”, embraces the philosophies that we as bikers, hold dear. He preaches and practices these virtues with no recognition of self. He leads as a humble servant and for these reasons Fletcher “Bigshow, FB Paster, Bladen County Biker”, Collins is a light in our community and should be granted this award. He is a beacon of love and light for the Bladen County community and it would be awesome for him to be presented with this award! He is normally helping others and this award would be a reflection of the kindness and compassion he has towards others!
It is with my highest recommendation that Fletcher Collins be granted this award for his numerous acts of kindness in our community. His passion, dedication, hard work and non-stop efforts to support all people in times of need are definitely appreciated. Presentation of this award would be, a reminder of his good service and due diligence.
Scotty Sweatt - Hope Mills, NC
Scotty has served others his entire life, starting with a career in the Air Force. He left military service after 7 years on active duty, only to return to service as a reservist for another 15 years when he felt he needed to return following 9/11. He also spent 20 years in law enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff with Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. Since retiring from both he has continued his call to service as an outreach minister bringing help and hope to those in need in our community. He began riding at age thirteen, but it wasn't until after he retired in 2015 that he got his first street bike, a 2002 Road King Police.
In 2014 Scotty, along side of his wife Donna founded SonRise Outreach Ministry as a full-time outreach ministry. Since that time Scotty has led outreach activities in the community. In all that they do, the most important thing they provide is a message of hope and love by sharing and showing the love of Jesus Christ.
Scotty has led SonRise in doing homeless outreach providing food, clothing, cooking supplies, music and other needs and a disaster relief program collecting food, water, and supplies to hard hit areas. During Hurricane Matthew cleanup he and the crew at SonRise worked with Broken Chains JC and other non-profits and churches to deliver a full tractor trailer load of buckets filled with cleaning supplies and traveled to hard-hit area as people who had been flooded during the storms began to clean up. They also collect and distribute food and water and provided a message of hope during disasters.
During the Covid pandemic Scotty and SonRise started a grocery deliver service called the “Adopt-a-Granny” program providing delivery services to seniors who were forced to stay home and the program grew to include helping in others ways such as doing chores they needed help with, small home repairs, yard work and moving things, and even helped one lady move when the roof in the house she was living in collapsed. They also play music for residents at assisted living and memory care homes and take donations, gifts and other things to them, including an adult diaper ministry, collecting and giving away surplus adult diapers to those who need them but cannot afford them.
Scotty also sings and plays guitar with SonRise ministry band, an active music ministry supporting ministry, community and non-profit events such as Celebrate Recovery, GodSpeed Ministries chapel service at GALOT Motorsports Park, Myrover-Reese Fellowship House and many others. They have put on events for the community that also raise funds for their outreach programs. Some of these included SonRise in the Swamp, an annual music and arts festival at the old Swamp Dogs Stadium and Down By The River along the banks of the Cape Fear River. They also participate each year in the yearly bike blessing at Freedom Biker Church Fayetteville. He and SonRise put together a motorcycle ride and parade for a sick little girl during the pandemic complete with fire trucks, show cars and decorated bikes.
They have converted an old school bus into a mobile outreach center that has a chapel in the front, a kitchen in the middle, and storage for musical gear and a mini-food bank and clothing closet in the rear for those in need. They are working on getting the kitchen in the bus hooked up with water, gas, and electricity so they can use it to provide meals in their homeless outreach and during disaster relief missions, benefits and any type of other situation by providing a hot meal and spiritual needs.
Please consider Scotty as your candidate for this year’s Bulldog Hero Award. Thank you.
Christie Merritt - Elizabethtown, NC
Christie Merritt is nominated for this award because of her outstanding commitment to community. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to organize bike rides for the local Bladen County community.
She takes part in many charities and has worked tirelessly to arrange many bike rides to benefit local members of the community. I proudly nominate Christie Merritt for this award as her call to duty never waivers.