An early Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope you are all able to spend time with family and loved ones! If you have no one to celebrate with and want to travel to Houston, Texas to celebrate with us, just let me know!
As many of you know, the RFTW BoD recently held a Town Hall meeting via Zoom. The meeting was very successful, and I want to thank all of you who took time out of your day to join the meeting. Yes, there were a few minor glitches that were ultimately worked out, but that just means the next one will be even better. If you missed the meeting or would like to review a recording of the meeting, please click here.
If you have any Route specific questions, please contact the Route Coordinator for the Route which you have questions about. If you have questions about RFTW in general, please reach out to any of the Route Leadership team members listed on each of the RFTW Route Hubs under RUN DETAILS at RFTW.US
The planning and preparation for the RFTW 2024 Mission does continue. But what is our mission? Run for the Wall is 1 Mission, 4 Routes! That mission is:
“To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends,
To call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA),
To honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and
To support our military personnel all over the world.”
As the RFTW BoD, the Route Coordinators and their Leadership Teams continue to plan for RTFW 2024, now is the perfect time for you to ask yourself, “Why do I ride? Why do I take part in this Mission? What does this Mission mean to me?” Many of us have participated in this Mission for years and the saying Remember the Mission is very important. After years of participation, the Mission remains the same. To help remind us of why we ride, or to reinvigorate our spirit in the Mission, please take some time and watch the documentary “All The Way. The Story of Run For The Wall”. This documentary includes all 4 routes and riders and patriots from each Saying their names, Telling their Stories, and making sure we Never Forget!
We ride for comradery, we ride to remember, we ride to heal, we ride for our loved ones who can no longer ride. We ride trying to “Live a Life worthy of their Sacrifice”!
After our recent Town Hall meeting, I was sent an email from a 2023 FNG rider who stated that he had been inspired by the song on the UK RTTW website. This is a Run similar in mission to RFTW, but in the UK.
This rider wondered if there had ever been a song written commemorating our RFTW mission here in the U.S. Below are links to three different songs that have been written and sung in support of RFTW over the years. Please enjoy these songs and Remember the Mission!
RFTW Southern Route 2024 now has over 126 registered riders and participants with less than 190 days until KSU May 15, 2024. If you have not registered yet, please do so as soon as possible. Early registration ends on January 31, 2024. Beginning February 1, 2024, registration cost increases. Early registration helps us plan for our stops and Hotel accommodations etc. You can register HERE.
RFTW has a new updated Rider Code of Conduct that every rider and participant is required to read and adhere to. Please be respectful to all riders, participants, and supporters by adhering to this code of conduct while on the Run.
We are still looking for volunteers, especially Platoon Leadership positions. CB communications is required for these positions. It is my intention to attempt to have a dedicated Outreach Platoon Leadership Team (PL, APL, TG) which will be responsible for leading riders, along with the assigned Road Guards and Outreach Team members, on each individual Outreach mission. If you have not already volunteered for Platoon Leadership and have previously served in Platoon Leadership and would like to be a part of this dedicated Team, please submit a volunteer form. You can also submit a volunteer form if you are interested in volunteering for any other positions.
If you are interested in riding the Missing Man Formation, please send an email to Rick “Speedbump“ Shoaf at email@example.com. Speedbump has volunteered to coordinate the Missing Man portion of our mission this year. If you see or talk with Rick, please thank him for taking on this important responsibility.
It is still not too late If you have not submitted an After-Action Report (AAR). Please submit reports by clicking here. RFTW leadership reads every AAR in an effort to make the Run the best it can possibly be, and we take the AAR’s seriously. Do not be alarmed, the BoD and the RC’s read all AAR’s but we do not respond directly to each AAR submission.
If you have a Memorial or Outreach Mission that the SR visits and that Memorial or Outreach Mission holds special meaning to you, I would like you to reach out to me! I’d like to highlight each of our Memorials and Outreach’s and share the stories of those remembered at each of them. I want us to Say Their Names, Tell their (and your) stories, and Never Forget!
Be on the lookout for the 2nd Edition of the Say Their Names Newsletter!
Leave no one behind does not end on the battlefield!
Veterans Lives Matter – Give a Damn!
If you or someone you know find themselves struggling with their mental health, please know you can contact the VA Veteran’s Crisis Line by dialing 988 then press 1 or text 838255 and speak or chat with a qualified responder.
Darin “Lurch” Koch
RFTW Southern Route Coordinator 2024