Each year, the Foundation selects a Blue Angel — an employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana who is going above and beyond for kids. This year’s Blue Angel is David “V-Eight” Longstreet, a senior software engineer who has been a biker for many years. His neighbor introduced him to Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA), a national organization of riders who support children that have been victims of abuse by showing up as friends, mentors and guardian angels. David, who resonated with the difficult experience of children who have endured abuse, signed up and started down the path of BACA’s 18-month training program almost immediately.

BACA riders use their tough image to give courage to children facing dire circumstances. Each child is paired with two riders who provide emotional support. Children can call day or night. At a moment’s notice, David and others may be called upon to ride to the aid of a child across the country who must go to court to testify against their abuser. The riders show up by the dozens to let the child know they are not alone, physically blocking their child having to see or interact with the person who hurt them.

David is a calming presence for the children he works with — children who are at first shy or closed down open up to David and feel at ease around him. He wins their trust and becomes a confidante and protector. Over the years, he has worked with dozens of children and held many positions with his BACA chapter. He credits his time with BACA for getting him to open up to co-workers and friends. Even now, he is always ready to ride.