Doin Time Behind Bars

By Rev. Al Paquette
April 15, 2017 at 9:56 pm  •  Posted in The Bikes by

Someone once told me that the difference between a volunteer and a “dedicate” is that a volunteer picks where they want to minister and a dedicate asks God where He wants them to serve. That is the philosophy I want for my spiritual walk with Jesus. Of course many people think it is strange when I tell them that God wanted me to build a prison chopper. They say, “Yeah sure, God wanted you to build this bike.” I have to admit that it was a fun adventure and I really had no idea the impact this bike would have on so many people.

I have been on my spiritual journey with Jesus since 1985 when I completely surrendered to His love. I was 31 years old, addicted to drugs and alcohol for 16 years. Married to Sharon for 11 years. From the moment I trusted God I was healed from my addiction. Sharon and I were led to attend a non-denominational church and this is where I got involved in prison ministry. The moment I read 1 Peter 4:10 I knew God had tolerated me for 31 years and now I was to serve Him for the rest of my life. I spent the first 10 years serving on the Kairos prison team and then I was invited to serve with the Bill Glass Prison Ministry where I started to bring my motorcycle into the prisons. In 2005 I watched a man inspect every nut and bolt on my Harley Dresser. When I got home I fabricated a small prison jail cell door and I showed Sharon. Being the awesome wife she is, she told me to build a prison themed chopper.

I spent 7 months fabricating a bike and Sharon was a chopper widow. When we bring our motorcycles into a prison many inmates come out to check out the bikes. I knew I had to build a 70’s “gang bike”, so when it is seen from a distance they have to come out and check it out up close. Like an old fisherman once told me, “You have to chum the waters to get the fish near the boat.” I love the fact that we can give them a few hours to let them hang out, check out the bikes and help them to get grounded in the Lord. After 6 months I got the bike to a place where I could bring it to my friend Brian Dady who has worked on my bikes since 1973 and is the owner of the Motorcycle Clinic in Kissimmee, Fl. He performed his magic on her and sent out the parts to get painted, powder coated and chromed. Brian spent many late nights making my dream come true.

I remember the moment we heard her come alive for the very first time. It was quite a sound. She came out great. This bike has handcuff rear struts, bullet shell covering the allen head bolts, razor wire on the shift linkage, a jail tattoo gun for the horn button, a nightstick for the suicide shifter. Oh yea, the jail cell door I made is welded on the fuel tank with an inmate looking out the door. I knew that God really wanted me to build this bike when we brought her in that first prison. About 300 inmates came out in the morning to attend the program and we passed out the ‘Doin Time’ chopper cards to bring back to the dorms. In the afternoon the rest of the prison came out just to see the bike.

For the past five years we have been going in with R.O.O.T. Motorcycle and Prison Ministry. Debbie and Tom lead around 30 bikes into Florida prisons monthly. We spend the entire day out on the yard with the bikes. It gives us plenty of time to speak and witness to the inmates. They have a table with plenty of free Bible studies and books. It is very special that all the inmates and volunteers hold hands in a large circle and pray at the end of each day. Rain, shine, freezing or steaming hot R.O.O.T. goes in.

Up to date Doin’ Time Chopper has been in 125 prisons, has won over 30 bike shows and is still turning heads when we bring her out in public. When we bring her in a prison I believe the officers love her just as much as the inmates. I am always getting some kind of contraband to install on her. I know God is all over this bike. Who gets to bring a bike that has 2 shanks, a tattoo gun, a mace gun, 3 brass knuckles, 4 jail keys and razor wires all over it into prisons? Only God can. Sometimes we need to listen to God even when we don’t understand the outcome.

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