My brother, Grayson, wrote this for a local magazine; telling about this set of "wonderful coincidences."
By: Grayson Sorrels - 7/25/2017
My brother Keith wanted to use my second home in Chester, California, for a weekend retreat for his Christian motorcycle group "The Eternal Riders." For many years I had occasionally attended the Lake Almanor Community Church, having first discovered it while camping in the area. On my last visit, I had noticed the visitor parking area directly in front of the church. I told my brother about how special this church was and maybe he would like to include a visit there on his retreat weekend. I teasingly told him, "You can go roaring in there on your motorcycles and scare the hell out of those folks!" God had been orchestrating another scenario for months.
The pastor's name was Todd DuBord. Pastor DuBord had a neighbor named Dick who had been an outlaw biker gang member. Dick was the product of a violent alcoholic home and grew up in Los Angeles. Early on, he distinguished himself by running away, dropping out of school, and was soon serving five years in Arizona for armed robbery. After his release, Dick buckled down for a while and returned to school earning a degree in psychology, but ultimately he was unable to continue on that path due to his inability to remain clean and sober. He and his brother Jerry wandered the country with the Hells Angels and other bikers for the next 18 years, and their lives were characterized by violence and crime, odd jobs in construction and heavy equipment operation, and failed marriages. Eventually tiring of traveling, Dick put down roots in the northern California mountains, but continued his life of abuse. Up to this time, Pastor DuBord's involvement with his neighbor had been limited to a wave across the street or a brief exchange of pleasantries while the pastor and his family were out in the yard. Dick continued his enthusiastic support of the beer companies.
Dick was eventually diagnosed with terminal cancer and acutely felt his need to confess for his wasted life and get right with God. With Pastor DuBord's support and counseling, Dick prayed a prayer of confession and acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Savior. Weekly Bible discussions followed. Dick's new life reflected his sincerity. During this period, Dick was reunited with his brother Jerry after being apart for ten years. Enter Chuck Norris aka "Walker, Texas Ranger." While out jogging in the woods one day, Pastor Dubord noticed Chuck Norris and his wife Gena out for a walk. A walking conversation ensued, and Dick's story was told. Chuck being a Christian wanted to visit Dick and his brother Jerry who also happened to be fans of "Walker, Texas Ranger." On visiting, Chuck was greeted enthusiastically by brother Jerry and warmly by bedridden Dick who continued to weaken as the cancer progressed. Chuck visited with the men, prayed for them, and left them with a couple of signed photographs. Chuck posted Dick's story on Monday, April 2, 2007, entitled "From Hells Angel to Eternal Rider." (chucknorris.com Chuck Norris World Net Daily Forum)
As the end came nearer for Dick, he had two desires: One, that Pastor DuBord preach his funeral, and, two, he wanted a motorcycle escort to the cemetery. Pastor DuBord expressed his wish to be there for Dick, but the pastor and his wife were closing in on long-term plans to travel to Europe, leaving town on Sunday, September 3, 2006, at 2 p.m., a trip that had been anticipated for years. Dick died on Friday, September 1st. The mortuary said that they could have Dick ready for burial no sooner than 1 p.m. on Sunday. Attempts to get a motorcycle escort amongst Dick's "friends" had failed. I believe there were one or two church members who were going to escort the hearse on motorcycles.
On Sunday morning, September 3, 2006, my brother Keith and his Eternal Rider friends went roaring (respectfully, I'm sure) into the church parking lot for the 11 a.m. service. The worship leader told me later that he ran into the pastor's office to report, "Bikers in the parking lot!" Curious church members wondered who they could be. As the pastor opened the service and greeted all the visitors, he asked the Eternal Riders if there was any specific reason they were attending that day, to which they replied, "No. Just visiting the area." The pastor proceeded to tell them about Dick's funeral and his request and the perfect timing of their visit and asked if they would be willing to escort the hearse to the cemetery. Not only would they be willing to do that, they would serve as Christian pallbearers. They were also rather appropriately dressed in black leathers. Immediately following the service, the Eternal Riders roared towards Chester following the pastor's wife. Upon entering town, they fell in with the hearse and two other motorcycles headed to the cemetery on the edge of town. Inside the hearse, Dick was wearing a T-shirt displaying a saddle and the arms of a cowboy with a lariat and the words "I found Jesus at the end of my rope."
At the cemetery, the five Eternal Rider pallbearers joined one from the church to carry Dick, Pastor DuBord spoke, family was comforted, and at 1:45 p.m., Dick was laid to rest with 15 minutes to spare! God had demonstrated not only his incredible love, but his perfect timing. Pastor DuBord was reported to have said that in 20 years of pastoring a church, he had never had a gang of motorcyclists, Christian or otherwise, show up. Dick's brother Jerry accepted the Lord, and five others raised their hands for salvation during the morning service. We have an amazing God!