A patch to honour my heroes

You join a chapter, you buy the leather vest, you stitch the rockers to the back, and pin the buttons to the front. You morph into a real HOG embracing member.

But look closely, every vest is different, displaying achievements and motto’s of the rider, spelling out his individuality.

From a cryptic CLXXXVIII to Chapter’s role and function, from the Ladies of Harley chic to Life Membership declarations, each vest will tell you interesting stories.

I was joining the fun, and was thinking carefully at what patches I would be proud to wear, without being pretentious nor insulting. It should have a unique design, be of superior quality and allow many stories to be told about its background and how it found its way on my black leather vest.

I found it in Lewes, a small town near Brighton, in a old shop specialized in gentlemen clothing. It is a patch more designed for a dinner jacket then a leather vest, but I immediately liked its design, motto – and after some research – its background:

In Arduis Fidelis – Faithful in Adversity

The badge is depicting the Rod of Asclepius, surmounted by a crown, enclosed within a laurel wreath, with the motto In Arduis Fidelis in a scroll beneath.

It is the patch of the RAMC, the Royal Army Medical Corps. To be clear: I was never a member of the Royal Army, but have the most admiration for all personnel involved in A&E medicine and rescue. Nearly 35 years ago, I myself served in the ASB (Arbeiter Samariter Bund) in Frankfurt, driving emergency ambulance in my free hours as a volunteer for over 4 years.

Here the picture of “my” ambulance, call sign “Sama Frankfurt 24”, that I took in 1977

Here some names of the many rescue services that deserve our respect, as they allow us to pursue our favorite hobby, be it motorcycle driving or car racing, sailing or powerboat racing.

Their members can end up in a situation that put their own life at risk, only to help or rescue innocent victims – or incompetent idiots. The try to come to you as quickly as possible, in whatever weather condition. These helpful volunteers deserve our full support, they need to have the best equipment, to help saving their life when they try to save ours. When I donate to charities, I am focusing on them.

The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) is a specialist corps in the British Army which provides medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace. Together with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Royal Army Dental Corps and Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, the RAMC forms the British Army’s essential Medical Services. Because it is not a fighting arm, under the Geneva Conventions, members of the RAMC may only use their weapons for self-defense. For this reason, there are two traditions that the RAMC perform when on parade: Officers do not draw their swords – instead they hold their scabbard with their left hand while saluting with their right, and other Ranks do not fix bayonets.

I am sure they will help, maybe with a slight bias, friend or foe alike, like all rescue services.

I think this patch is a good representative to all medical rescue operations, be it military or civilian, and that is why I am wearing it. I myself did my share of stupid things, and was rescued more then once, I have the utmost respect for these organization and the commitment by emergency services of whatever country.

None however has such a beautiful badge as the RAMC, and that is why it is stitched to the vest. It also reminds me of my own time as rescue driver, with all its horrific, sometimes dangerous, often emotional but always extremely rewarding experiences. I moved away from the roads to a different career in the office, but I want to honor all present and past active rescue personnel, for which I have the utmost admiration.

They are my true heroes, faithful in adversity.

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