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      Biker group offers support for abused children

      The mid-Missouri chapter of "Bikers Against Child Abuse" spent Sunday afternoon at the Fulton Walmart spreading awareness of what they say is an epidemic happening across the country.

      The crew uses their road names and resources to provide financial and emotional support to children who are victims of abuse.

      "The kids can find us through referrals from prosecuting attorneys, law enforcement, even parents of abused children," said "Ratchet", who goes by his road name to protect his identity. "They can contact our organization by phone, we have an 800 number. They can call us anytime, 24/7, and we'll be there for the kids."

      "Ratchet" said the effect he has seen on the children whose lives his group becomes a part of is significant.

      "You know, seeing a child when they first meet us, they're scared and afraid and don't even want to come out from behind mom when they first meet us. Within a couple weeks, they're high-fiving, they're smiling, they're running out to us. It means the world to them to have that family, that extended family that can be there for them."

      The recent abduction and murder of 10 year-old Hailey Owens hit close to home for Springfield Resident Wanda Freeman, who stopped by to make a donation.

      "I do believe in taking care of our children," Freeman said. "It really hit home for all of us. I have grand kids that age. I really do appreciate this, just to show people that bikers are good people."

      Another member, who goes by the road name "Torque", said their group will go a long way for any child who is a victim of abuse.

      "If they have to go to court, we'll be there with them, to empower them so that they can tell their story," he said.

      The bikers said if there's ever a child with no one else to turn to that they will take whatever measures are necessary to step in and prevent abuse.