Members from the Michigan and Wisconsin chapters of the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club gathered Friday, July 10, to ride and remember Dick Gudowski and to donate more than $1,200 to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program in his name.

Gudowski, president and founder of the Arrowhead Chapter of the Nam Knights, died following an ATV accident May 7.

“The funeral was supposed to be tomorrow,” said Ernest Bloomquist, the chapter’s new president. “Unfortunately because of COVID it was canceled. These guys were coming up today, so we’re doing a ride today and figured we’d make a little donation.”

They chose the K-9 program because Gudowski was a retired member of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and former K-9 handler.

“Bottom line it’s all about the respect. It’s a respect for our law enforcement, our respect for our fallen brother Dick Gudowski. And that’s why we’re here paying tribute to him,” said Tony Caron, president of the Michigan-based Wolverine Chapter of Nam Knights. “That’s what it’s all about, to show our brotherhood.”

Gudowski, who went by the name Scrap Iron, was a longtime motorcycle enthusiast, a U.S. Navy veteran and a past potentate of the AAD Shrine in Duluth. He started the Arrowhead Nam Knights in 2018 to take rides and host fundraisers for the community.

The Arrowhead club planned to do an annual fundraising ride open to the public, said vice president Richard Jarvis. The ride on Friday was just for club members to celebrate Gudowski's life.

“We hope next year to start an annual bigger fundraiser,” Jarvis said.

Riders from the Arrowhead, Wolverine, Blue Otter and Brew City chapters met with members of the sheriff’s office — including Deputy Brian Witt and his K-9 partner, Talon — at Harbor View Park beside the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center to donate the funds.

“I appreciate these guys coming out to support law enforcement, especially in these times. It’s nice to hear people support what we do,” Witt said. “That’s indicative of the community we work in. Where we live is just a nice community. But I do appreciate these guys coming forward and seeing the need for this program to be in the community.”

The department's two K-9 units are trained in criminal apprehension, narcotics detection, tracking and area searches. Community support from 104 businesses and individuals helped relaunch the Douglas County and Superior K-9 programs in 2003, and donations remain a critical piece of funding for the programs.

“Community donations are always welcome, especially to a great program like the K-9’s,” Sheriff Tom Dalbec said. “It is truly an honor to accept this donation in memory of Dick, who was not only a member of the sheriff’s office, but was a K-9 handler, as well.”

Donations are accepted through the AMSOIL Northland Law Enforcement K-9 Foundation and can be earmarked for a specific law enforcement department.

The Nam Knights is a national motorcycle club, founded in 1989, made up of current and retired members of law enforcement and the military. More information on the Nam Knights of America can be found at their website.