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Presidents Message – September 10, 2021

Friends and Fellow RFTW Riders…

Today is September 10th. Tomorrow marks the 20th Anniversary of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. While we pause to reflect on the events of that tragic day and remember those who were lost, let us also remember the nation’s transformation on 9/12, when we put aside our differences and truly became one people united in a common cause.

In keeping with that theme, Run For The Wall® will open registration for RFTW XXXII on September 11th at 08:46 EDT, the exact moment American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Because we cleared all previous registrations for the past two years, everyone who plans to make the Run in 2022 must register anew.  When you log on to do so, you will find that the registration process has been greatly streamlined.  Thanks to the hard work of Ron “Sky” King, our Director of Risk Management, and Ted “Boots” Kapner, our Director of Public Relations and Media Communications, the process has been greatly simplified and will be entirely “paperless.” Please be aware that after you complete the payment process for your registration, you will need to return to the registration page and complete the waiver of liability before you exit the site. Your registration cannot be completed without this step.

This leads us to what I am sure is the most pressing question on all of your minds: Will we be able to conduct the Run next May?  Let me assure you that the Board of Directors is absolutely committed to carrying out our mission in 2022. Planning for all of our routes has been underway since before our Face-To-Face meeting in July, and will continue as usual in the months leading up to next May.

Having said that, we must all recognize that COVID-19 presents many factors that are beyond our control, and we have no way of knowing what conditions may exist across the country when the time comes. One of the core principles Run For The Wall® has always embraced is that we respect and abide by the laws and customs of the states and communities through which we ride, and we have a responsibility to follow that principle when it comes to COVID restrictions.  In the event that circumstances again work against us, the BoD has asked all of our Route Coordinators to prepare contingency plans for alternative activities. They will be presenting these plans to the Board at our November meeting.

In other news, Central Route held their reunion and service project at the New Mexico Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire over the Labor Day weekend. I was fortunate to be able to attend and the turnout was fantastic. The David Westphal Foundation raises money for the Memorial through the sale of bricks that commemorate the service of veterans, both past and present. These bricks line the sidewalks of the memorial, and each year Central Route riders emplace that year’s collection. Because the event could not be held last year, there were two years’ worth of bricks this year… over 850 of them! But in true RFTW fashion, our riders got the mission accomplished for another year, and in record time.

Finally, I’m happy to report that our fundraiser to benefit Homes For Our Troops was a complete success. We met our goal of raising $25,000 from our ridership, thanks to the generosity of so many of you.  That amount was matched by the RFTW Board of Directors for a total of $50,000, which was in turn matched dollar-for-dollar by the Operation Family Fund, a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping veterans of our current conflicts.  On August 28th, Homes For Our Troops received a check from “Run For The Wall® in partnership with Operation Family Fund,” for $100,000!  In the coming months, we will be working closely with HFOT to ensure that RFTW/OFF have a presence at the presentation ceremonies for several veterans receiving homes funded in part by this donation.

Is it May, yet?

Respectfully,

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President
RFTW Board of Directors