Florida motorcycle club members fight stereotypes with coat drive

The Gulf Coast Outlaws are on a mission to change the negative perceptions that people might have about motorcycle clubs.

They’re starting in their own community.

This holiday season, club members collected more than 1,000 coats during a drive at their Navarre clubhouse and plan to give them away to residents in need. They also raised $2,300 to fund Christmas celebrations for three families who have fallen on hard times.

“I think the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ generation really put a damper on people’s view of the motorcycle club and kind of gave them a falsified perception of things,” said Gulf Coast Outlaws member Preston Perry, who helped spearhead this year’s charitable efforts.

“The Outlaws, as a whole, have always been big at giving out to the community. We are very aware of the people who are suffering and in need. With all of us in the Panhandle coming together and being on the same page, we just figured we got this many bodies, how can we help people out?”

Perry, who is better known by his nickname “Gorilla,” said the club members recognized that community members were in need and wanted to give back.

“Wintertime is a struggle for a lot of people, just like the holidays, and what better way to help people out than putting a coat on their back?” he said.

Outlaw members have a distinctive look, wearing leather jackets depicting the Outlaw MC emblem of a skull with red eyes set against a pair of crossing motorcycle pistons. Perry said they are proud of the fact that they stick out in any crowd of non-bikers.