DEPORT — Five motorcycles pulled in front of Deport Elementary and riders started unloading backpacks and saddle bags from them.

The Liberty Syndicate Riding Club donated hundreds of dollars worth of school supplies to the school Wednesday as part of its efforts to improve the community and help where they can.

“We try to use our motorcycles as a platform to try to give back to the community,” said Mike Barnaby, the president of the group. “Deport is one of the more economically challenged schools in Lamar County.”

The club, which is made up of veterans and first responders, is working toward gaining 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit. Last month, it hosted a fun run for the Powderly Volunteer Fire Department, raising $1,500 total and, deducting expenses, donated over $700 to the department.

All told, the club brought close to $1,000 worth of school supplies from donations, Barnaby said. Before heading out to Deport, riders stopped by Walmart to pick up their order, which included Kleenex, crayons, pencils, construction paper, notebook paper, glue and more.

The school is thankful for the help, Deport Principal Lanny Mathews said. They could use the supplies, and since the group is made up of veterans, he invited them to their Nov. 11 festivities. On Veterans Day, the school regularly has the Patriot Guard Riders come by to introduce students to veterans.

“I believe in also recognizing y’all,” Mathews said. “I believe it’s important for our little kids to see veterans.”

Club members aren’t sure what’s next, Barnaby said, though they are tossing around different ideas.

“We’re looking at in October, bikers on the square, and hand out candy down there,” he said. “In November, we’d like to do a turkey trot.”

He said the club would like to team up with a local nonprofit that can provide the rest of the Thanksgiving meal, and with donations, they could purchase turkeys so families in need could have a full meal.

“That’s usually the most expensive part of the meal,” Barnaby said.

He added they also wanted to inspire people to help more, outside of their club, which is why they are applying for nonprofit status.

Kim Cox is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6965 or at kim.cox@theparisnews.com.

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