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President’s Message – Important Ontario/DC Update!

The Group Photo at the Lincoln Memorial is ON!!!

However, we will NOT be taking the photo on the steps.  Instead, our request for use of the Reflecting Pool as a backdrop was approved today!  As mentioned earlier, please do NOT begin gathering at the steps.  Gail and others will be near the reflecting pool to provide instructions on how to assemble.  We will not have a lot of time to take the photo, so please bring plenty of patience, listen carefully, and move smartly.  And please remember, no singing, chanting, shouting, etc.

Also, the National Park Service has reminded us that there will be NO PARKING ON THE GRASS ANYWHERE, NO PARKING on 23rd St NW, and NO PARKING on Henry Bacon Dr. NW.  Violators will likely be ticketed. (Metro, Taxi, Uber, or other ride service/public transportation is highly recommended.)

Please plan to arrive and assemble at the reflecting pool at 1100 hrs. The RFTW group photo will be taken at 1130 hours.

On the Ontario Side of Things

The two ladies who sew for us and donate a percentage of their proceeds back to RFTW will NOT be at the Elks Lodge on Friday and Saturday.  Instead, they will be located at the Holiday Inn (Host Hotel) in the back lot – in the same place as last year.

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New Director of Public Relations Announcement

Run for the Wall

New Director of Public Relations Announcement:

The Board of Directors is looking to fill the upcoming vacancy of Director of Public Relations. This is a critical, sensitive position with a 3-year commitment that requires certain skills to further the public persona of RFTW with an eye towards attracting new riders. We live and work in a hugely electronic environment, so knowledge and familiarity with computers, social media platforms, website content management, video editing and production, etc., is paramount.

The successful candidate will have a background in the use of Microsoft Office products including Word, Excel, and similar tools like Zoom. Website content management using WordPress and similar tools is required. Public Relations experience, including speaking with the media, is required. Effective writing is essential. Knowledge and experience in actively participating on a variety of social media platforms is equally necessary. The successful candidate will need to be closely attuned to the Bylaws and SOPs of RFTW and be willing and able to actively assist the Social Media Director on multiple social media programs and platforms. Occasional training sessions with route volunteers to ensure an understanding of our social media objectives may be required. Public speaking ability is critically important.

The Director of Public Relations is responsible for:

  • Building relationships with media outlets and communication partners that lead to mainstream coverage of RFTW events.
  • Serve as the key media contact for RFTW.
  • Manage the RFTW website, including overseeing the production of new content and shepherding its ongoing development to include non-website platforms if applicable. Included in this responsibility may be assisting the Director of Merchandise with managing the online store and credit card transaction processing.
  • Increase the visibility of RFTW by managing the brand image through determining and designing marketing materials and organizing and overseeing the creation of RFTW promotional materials.
  • Manage, produce, and update written and visual multimedia content for emails, website, and social media networks to raise the visibility of RFTW.
  • Respond to media requests in a timely manner.
  • Control the flow of information between RFTW and the public and manage the public perception of the organization, ensuring that information across all channels is accurate and positive.
  • Work closely with the Social Media Director to build, project, and maintain a positive image of RFTW to the public through communication media.
  • Produce/ oversee the production of and distribution of creative presentations, press releases, leaflets, brochures, and other types of media agenda for internal and external distribution.
  • Develop public relation strategies that promote RFTW products, brand, and MISSION.
  • Respond to requests for information release from the media or other, vetted interested parties.
  • Coach other RFTW representatives in appropriate ways to communicate with the public and designate appropriate RFTW spokespersons and sources of information.
  • Encourage the liaising with related organizations, such as motorcycle groups, veterans’ associations, civic and service-related organizations and individuals/groups that support the RFTW MISSION and those that may be the beneficiaries of donations from RFTW.
  • Check the facts and veracity of statements from individuals or groups regarding RFTW, making certain public statements can be properly sourced and validated, thus creating consistency and accuracy across all channels of communication.
  • Develop a public relations plan for potential negative scenarios in order to both control public narrative and to protect the integrity and reputation of RFTW content continuity across all social media platforms.
  • Provide annual and before Run training for route social media coordinators, photographers, videographers, and sit-rep writers to ensure they understand and comply with a positive, mission-focused public presentation representing Run For The Wall in all they do.
  • May be assigned other duties as determined by the Board or BoD President.

Appointment to the BoD places demands on your free time. We meet a minimum of once a month, often twice. There are occasional emergency online meetings with as little as 5 days’ notice. Occasional travel is required with certain travel expenses reimbursed. In July each year the BoD convenes Face to Face meetings where attendance is paramount. Our winter Face to Face meeting may be in person or via video teleconferencing. We also meet Face to Face each year in Ontario prior to the Run.

The successful candidate will submit a resume outlining their skills relevant to those listed here, along with a brief description of their Run experience, website content management and social media experience, and the names of three references we may contact. Veterans are also required to submit an SSAN-redacted copy of their DD-214 that shows Character of Service (type of discharge). Once selected, the successful candidate will also have to submit to a Character & Fitness Examination (CFE), essentially a background check at the Board’s expense. Additionally, the BoD reserves the right to interview candidates for positions on the Board of Directors during the selection process.

Those wishing to apply should submit their package to Secretary@rftw.us no later than 30 June 2024. Questions can be directed to President@rftw.us.

If you want to serve Run for the Wall, this is an excellent opportunity to impact the future of our organization. We look forward to hearing from you!

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President’s Ontario/DC Update

The Ontario Pre-Run Schedule of Events Has Now Been Posted

Find the Ontario Pre-run Schedule on our website under each route’s schedule of events, or you can view it by clicking here. Much appreciation to Carol and Todd Taylor for all the work getting this event organized. When you see Carol, please be sure to thank her and her team of volunteers.

There will be a shuttle in Ontario this year running continuous loops between the Host Hotel and the Elks Lodge. The hours of operation are:
May 12th…………….1200 to 2000Hrs.
May 13th…………….0700 to 2100Hrs.
May 14th…………….0700 to 2100Hrs.

Addresses from and to are:
Holiday Inn Ontario, 2155 E Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764
Ontario Elks Lodge, 1150 W 4th Street, Ontario, CA 91762.

The intrepid Carol has arranged for RFTW advertising, at no cost, on 6 billboards in and around the Ontario area, including the 210, 15, 10 and 60 freeways. These are in addition to the marquee at the Ontario Convention Center. Get the word out to the public!!

Bitchin’ Stitchin’ will be back doing patches, zippers, snaps, repairs, etc. this year. They will be located at the Elks Club. I would like to encourage you to use them as they donate a portion of their proceeds back to RFTW. Their hours of operation are:

5/10 Friday 14:00 – 18:00
5/11 – 5/14  09:00 – 18:00

The DC/Arlington schedule, contained in some of the Route’s itineraries, is as follows:

Saturday, 25 May

For those selected to conduct the wreath laying ceremony at ANC, staging begins at the Host Hotel at 0630 in the lower-level garage at the host hotel.  Please be staged NLT 0730 so you don’t miss the mandatory safety meeting. KSU is at 0800. Please see your RC for more information on participation.

0900-1015 – Sandbox registration (host hotel lobby)

1100 – Begin assembling on the STEPS of the Lincoln Memorial (see additional comments below)

1130 – Photo

1215 – Mission Accomplished ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial apex

1300-1600 – Sandbox Registration (host hotel lobby)

1400-1530 – Leadership Equipment pickup

1430-1500 – SB Road Guard meeting

1500-1530 – SB Team Leads meeting

1530-1630 – All Leadership Meeting

1630 – 1730 – SB All riders meeting

1730-1800 – SB SNG Recap

As a reminder, at the Lincoln Memorial, there can be no chanting, singing, bullhorns, etc. Also, you must NOT climb or sit on any of the columns or pedestals; we are to remain on the steps. Please help us comply with this Park Service request. Our compliance will help us ensure we can obtain permits in the future.

As a reminder, at the Lincoln Memorial, there can be no chanting, singing, bullhorns, etc. Also, you must NOT climb or sit on any of the columns or pedestals; we are to remain on the steps. Please help us comply with this Park Service request. Our compliance will help us ensure we can obtain permits in the future.

Also, remember, there is to be no parking on the grass in and around the National Mall. Doing so may result in having your motorcycle towed and impounded. Being as this is a holiday weekend, getting it released from impound might prove difficult.

RFTW now has a Social Media Director. KC is working hard to try and take advantage of this year’s Run. If you would like to share your experience with RFTW via video footage or still photography, he will edit them to fit within the variety of social media parameters. We will include your name, road name, the route and location of the footage.

KC also offers the following: For those that will be using action cameras (GoPro, Insta360, or DJI’s), to save your battery life and keep your camera from overheating when riding and or losing your footage or worse corrupting the SD card, carry extra SD cards. KC also suggests turning off your Wi-Fi pairing when not in use. This helps if you are in areas where your cell services may go into roaming mode.

If you are using a GMRS radio, we recommend you not have your cameras connected to your phones. This may cause a disruption in communications or generate a very loud squelch-type noise.

Our YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/c/rftwus. Both X (Twitter) and Instagram are @RunForTheWall (https://twitter.com/RunForTheWall and https://www.instagram.com/RunForTheWall). When you make posts to ANY social media platform, please use #runforthewall. We ask that you do not use other naming conventions (i.e., #rftw-midway, or #runforthewallsr, etc.) as those will negatively impact our efforts to bring viewers to our posts and platforms. Remember we always want to post pictures and videos that honor our Mission.

KC is working on bringing the roughly 11 Run For The Wall non-FB social media sites under one “cover” so we can all easily post contributions.

Please remember, RFTW does not support any political candidate, position, or opinion. We are a veterans support charitable organization, and we ask that each and every one of you respect that. There is no room for politics on the Run; there will be enough time for that later. As we all know so well, our world is ever changing. Events are sometimes magnets for those whose ideas and ideals do not align with ours. Keep your eyes open, and if you see something, say something. Do not just shrug it off; let a leader know.

Finally, before we go to KSU, I believe it is proper to remember why we ride. It is not about any of us, it is not about the color of the hat one wears, it is not about taking a cross-country motorcycle ride. It is about our Mission. We need to keep in mind that “We Ride for Those Who Can’t” is more than just a motto. This Mission is about calling for accountability of those 1577 still missing; it is about supporting those families still seeking answers. Our Mission is also about reflection, healing, educating, and reminding America of the sacrifices our veterans, their families and friends made in defense of our Nation. It is about thanking those who served, those who are serving, and those who paid the ultimate price. Our Run is also a joyous annual reunion as we all regroup and set our sights toward that Mission. And though our Annual Run is certainly an event worth celebrating, please keep in mind that our Mission is real and should be treated with Honor and serious Commitment. It must not be treated like a party.

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. 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.

KSU is in 22 days. Let’s all get our heads in the game and put the Mission in our sights.

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

Additional Ontario Motorcycle Service Information


Harley-Davidson®

Riverside Harley-Davidson
7688 Indiana Ave, Riverside, CA 92504
Phone: 1-951-785-0100 OR 1-833-743-0517
Hours: M-F 10AM-7PM – Sat 9AM-6PM – Sun 10AM-5PM

Note: The service manager has requested to call ahead and schedule all service  appointments. This will help the service manager to better staff the shop to get all  service appointments done in a quick and timely manner so as to cut down on delays. If you show up without scheduling an appointment you will be serviced but BE PREPARED TO WAIT!!!


Honda – Yamaha – Suzuki – Kawasaki*

The following dealer will be providing (limited) service…
*NOTE: For Kawasaki motorcycles they will only be performing basic oil/filter changes.

Mountain Motorsports
1025 N. Mountain Ave, Ontario, CA 91762
Phone: 1-909-988-8988
Hours: M-F 10AM–5PM – Sat 9AM-4PM – (CLOSED SUNDAY)

Note: The service manager has requested to call ahead and schedule all service  appointments. This will help the service manager to better staff the shop to get all  service appointments done in a quick and timely manner.


Indian

HYR – Honda/Yamaha of Redlands
215 E Redlands Blvd, Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 1-909-793-2833
Hours: Tues – Sat 9AM-6PM (CLOSED SUNDAY & MONDAY)

Note: The service manager has requested to call ahead and schedule all service  appointments. This will help the service manager to better staff the shop to get all  service appointments done in a quick and timely manner.

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President’s Message – April 2024

Run for the Wall

Happy Easter!! As I sit down to write this, we are 45 days from KSU.

We are getting close. Can you feel it? Is it May yet? Have you completed your packing list? Have you gone through your meds list and made sure you have what you will need? Have you gone over your motorcycle and checked every nut and bolt? Have you checked your tires? Have you taken a few long rides to tune up your body? Are you prepared?

Since before we finished the Run last year, our volunteer State Coordinators (SC) and others have been diligently working on the details for each route. It takes the coordinated effort of thousands to ensure the success of each route. I tip my hat to each and every one that has worked so hard to prepare for Run 2024!

Along that same line, as you pass through the food line at your stops, keep in mind that an entire group of people took time out of their lives to ensure you receive sustenance. Look for a donation jar somewhere along that line and drop a few dollars in to help pay for whatever service it is they are providing. Each route passes through towns where oftentimes the locals are barely scratching out a living, yet here they are donating to our mission. Even if we find ourselves in the most economically prosperous town in America, be thankful, remember to say thank you, pick up your trash, and if you can, offer a donation. Your kindness goes a long way. And remember, nothing is free. We often receive the benefit of donated gas and food, but none of it is free. Each of us is an ambassador for RFTW.

If you have not registered, doing so now will assist our SCs. The more details they can pass on to those supporting us in the towns we visit, the easier the visit will go. Even if you are only going to ride for a day, register as a day rider so we can ensure we accommodate as many people as possible. Early registration also assists the platoon coordinator on each route to better plan the platoon configurations. Take a moment to click here and register.

There are still several volunteer positions available on both Midway and Southern routes. Midway route needs staging team members (mailto:gina.cutrer@rftw.us for more information) and Southern route needs Platoon Leaders, Asst. Platoon Leaders, and Tail Gunners (mailto: kevin.short@rftw.us). You can also submit a volunteer form by clicking here.

RFTW leadership is focused on safety. When leading such a large, diverse group of riders with various experience levels, safety needs to be a priority. To that end, we have 348 FNGs registered already. Bernadette “Flat Tire” Staples and Lance “Batman” Wheeler, both certified instructors, are hosting a slow-riding practice session in Ontario on Monday afternoon, 1300-1800 at Lot D. Now there simply isn’t a way we can accommodate everyone, but if you are an FNG or need to practice your slow riding skills, like those skills you will need when you pull into or leave gas pumps, maneuvering around the staging area, hotel, etc., please sign up by sending an email to mailto:risk.management@rftw.us. There is limited availability, so I encourage you to sign up early.

As we transition from planning and preparation to execution of our Mission, our Platoon Leaders and Road Guards step it up to address their responsibilities on the Run; primarily working with a group of riders who have likely never ridden together, let alone in a formation, and molding the group into a team. While every volunteer leader has a vital role, when the rubber meets the road, you will notice the Platoon Leaders working closely with the Road Guards to safely guide you across this great nation of ours. Just like the morning meetings held by the RCs, the Platoon Leaders too will hold morning meetings, most often with a Road Guard in attendance. If you are not up to riding in a particular formation, if you do not feel comfortable doing so, speak with your Platoon Leader or Assistant Platoon Leader. Your PL and APL are there to help and guide you. The same thing holds true if a PL or RG provides guidance or asks you questions. They do so out of concern for your safety. The PLs and RGs are experienced riders and have your best interests at heart. Your safety and the safety of those around you may depend on your listening to their guidance.

I have been documenting the history of the Board and am in a months-long effort to track down all that served on the Board. I have been able to identify 73 people who have served at various times, along with every RC on every route since the beginning of the Run. Many of you jumped in when contacted and assisted, and your contributions aided immensely. Despite our best efforts, I am still missing dates served for: Ronald “Frenchie” Breaux, Mark “Diesel” Breland, Colin “Dr. Doolittle” Campbell, Ron “Rambler” Eschinger, Don “Duckie” Fleischman, Rich “Boomer” Ford, J.R. “Cleaner” Franklin, John “Iron Fish” Handley, Doug “Gator” James, Don “9-Ball” Morris, Tom “T-bone” Ritter, and Dwight “Dutch” Stevens. I called numbers that looked promising, looked through what seems like a gazillion Facebook friends lists, sent messages, etc., and am still missing dates served for these folks. If you have any relevant information on these folks, please email me with that information at president@rftw.us. Your continued assistance is appreciated!

During this process, I was able to go through some of the archived files to include past newsletters. In doing so I was struck by a number of things. Going back to the first newsletter I could find (1999), there were discussions on the need to focus on the Mission, the reminders of “why we ride” and who we represent. As much as things change, they remain the same. I read that in 2004, there was mention of a post-RFTW run called Wall to Wall. It was a run from D.C. to the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Wall. Today, our Wall to Wall is from D.C. to Marseilles, IL. RFTW newsletters contained stories and testimonials written by riders and submitted for publication. Today, you will find some of the same type of stories posted on various social media sites. Discussions of merchandise available were in every newsletter. Today we rely on social media to get the merchandise word out. That said, one of the things that struck me were the many who volunteered to tell their stories; stories of their Run experiences, their concern for fellow veterans, one even described how his granddaughter received her road name while on the Run. But the one thing that really stood out was that it was Mission first. Reminders to check your attitude were prevalent. As we get ready for Run 2024, please take some time to remind yourself why we ride, and remember, We Ride For Those Who Can’t.

As I announced in last month’s newsletter, we currently have an active Sustainment Committee looking at all things RFTW. The committee is composed of riders from all routes with an eye towards ensuring we are prepared for whatever the future holds. A member of the committee may approach you while in Ontario or on the Run as we are seeking feedback on your thoughts. If you would please, take the time to discuss your ideas or concerns if approached. Your contributions will help us ensure the sustainability of RFTW. And please remember, if you have a suggestion on how we can do things better, fill out a contact form and provide us your input. In the start of your message, please indicate that this contact form is for the Sustainment Committee.

A couple of final things. RFTW does not support any political candidate, position, or opinion. We are a veterans support charitable organization, and we ask that each and every one of you respect that. There is no room for politics on the Run; there will be enough time for that later. And finally, our world is ever changing. Events are sometimes magnets for those whose ideas and ideals do not align with ours. Keep your eyes open, and if you see something, say something. Do not just shrug it off; let a leader know.

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. 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.

Let us remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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New Director Announcement

Run for the Wall

The Board of Directors is looking to fill the position of Director of Social Media.

This is a critical, sensitive position with a 3-year commitment that requires certain skills to further the public persona of RFTW with an eye towards attracting new riders. We live and work in a hugely electronic environment, so knowledge and familiarity with computers, social media platforms, video editing and production, etc., is paramount.

The successful candidate will have a background in the use of Microsoft Office products including Word, Excel, and similar tools like Zoom. Knowledge and experience in actively participating on a variety of social media platforms is essential. The successful candidate will need to be closely attuned to the Bylaws and SOPs of RFTW and be willing and able to actively work on multiple social media programs and platforms. Occasional training sessions with route volunteers to ensure an understanding of our social media objectives may be required. Public speaking ability is critically important.

The bylaws describe the duties of Director of Social Media as follows: The Director of Social Media is responsible for content continuity across all social media platforms. This includes producing and creating video and written posts, monitoring various social media accounts for inappropriate content (to include RFTW online forums if applicable), and presenting a positive public image intended to attract riders more attuned with using various social media venues. Provides annual and before Run training for route social media coordinators, photographers, videographers, and sit-rep writers to ensure they understand and comply with a positive, mission-focused public presentation representing Run For The Wall in all they do. Works closely with the website creator/maintainer to ensure our public presentation is consistent across all venues. May be assigned other duties as determined by the Board or BoD President.

Appointment to the BoD places demands on your free time. We meet a minimum of once a month, often twice. There are occasional emergency online meetings with as little as 5 days’ notice. Occasional travel is required with certain travel expenses reimbursed. In July each year the BoD convenes Face to Face meetings where attendance is paramount. Our winter Face to Face meeting may be in person or via video teleconferencing. We also meet Face to Face each year in Ontario prior to the Run.

The successful candidate will submit a resume outlining their skills relevant to those listed here, along with a brief description of their Run experience, social media experience, and the names of three references we may contact. Veterans are also required to submit an SSAN-redacted copy of their DD-214 that shows Character of Service (type of discharge). Once selected, the successful candidate will also have to submit to a Character & Fitness Examination (CFE), essentially a background check at the Board’s expense. Additionally, the BoD reserves the right to interview candidates for positions on the Board of Directors during the selection process.

Those wishing to apply should submit their package to Secretary@rftw.us no later than 30 March 2024. Questions can be directed to President@rftw.us.

If you want to serve Run for the Wall, this is an excellent opportunity to impact the future of our organization. We look forward to hearing from you!

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President’s Message – March 2024

Run for the Wall

And just like that, it is March.

Ontario and KSU for our Mission is rapidly approaching. I hope the weather in your location is conducive to riding and preparing for the Run. RFTW teams are working hard to finish planning for Run XXXIV. May is just around the corner, and we continue work on Run XXXV. Our incredibly dedicated SCs are scrambling to tie up last-minute details for this year’s Run; RCs are doing their magic; Purchasing is working on the supplies necessary to make the Run a success. Many riders are prepping themselves for the Run. Riding this mission takes a lot out of you and requires attention and pre-ride preparation so one can safely complete the mission. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET READY FOR MAY? I urge you to take the time to go over the myriad of details associated with riding this year’s Mission. Do not forget to look at your prescription meds and ensure you will have a sufficient supply to get you through the Run!!

There are some upcoming things that will certainly spark interest among our riders. I don’t want to release many of the details as they are not yet final but stay tuned for more information soon. One of the things I will release is that the BoD composition is changing. We are adding a Director of Social Media and a Director of Special Projects. The social media position will be advertised very soon, and the special projects position will be advertised shortly.

As a reminder, if you would like to work sales on the Midway merchandise trailer, please send Alan an email at merchandise@rftw.us. We are still one person short of our preferred two-person team. You may make a significant difference!

As we go through the year, there are dates that carry significant meaning to our riders and our Mission.  March 20th (some say March 19th) is the 21st anniversary of the start of Iraqi Freedom, as the US and coalition forces began the move to oust Saddam Hussein and take down the Iraqi government. 21 years. March 29th is the 49th anniversary of the day the last combat troops left Vietnam. Anniversaries that are 28 years apart, yet both eras impact so many of our riders. Different generations, different circumstances forever linked by commonality of purpose; to answer the call of our country. I ask that each of us work to ensure we are focusing on our Mission and that we deliberately and decisively work towards providing a healing, inclusive environment.

If you need a reminder of why we ride, I urge you to take some time and review the latest documentary on RFTW at All The Way. The Story of Run For The Wall. (youtube.com). This epitomizes WHY we ride. I realize time changes many things, but when was the last time you wondered if any of our MIA are still alive? When was the last time you thought about the suffering many of our POWs endured? When is the last time you truly reflected on what you bring to our Mission?

As you may have seen in a FB post, Carol is working on the possibility of riders going to the March AFB museum following the ride the Riverside National Cemetery. This is a Tuesday event, with KSU tentatively scheduled for 0815 from the Elks Club. The Elks will be serving breakfast so our riders can stage, eat, and leave from the same location. Right now, the cost of entrance to the museum is $10, but Blaze is trying to get that lifted. If you are interested in going to the museum, please email Carol at carollolmstead@ymail.com so she can provide a head count. Rumor has it that the museum is planning to rope off a parking area for us.

As you know so well, it takes thousands of volunteers to ensure our Mission executes as planned. One of the societal impacts affecting the Run is that we are not getting as many qualified volunteers as in the past. Costs of taking part in the Run have risen, many riders take precious vacation time to participate, and critical positions may be left unfilled. A perfect example is our difficulty in putting together a two-person team for sales on the Midway merchandise trailer. Merchandise sales are a critical part of RFTW finances. Registration fees help, but quite frankly, they do not pay the bills. In 2022, we lost $17,000; in 2023 we were able to reduce losses to $10,000. While we are not looking to make a profit, we cannot continue to sustain these types of losses. To that end, the Executive BoD is going to be taking a hard look at everything that involves money. We already reduced our two annual Face-to-Face meetings to one; we just completed our first Winter Face-to-Face as a weekend Zoom meeting marathon on both Saturday and Sunday. It seemed to work very well; Saturday was quite a marathon for the Exec BoD, Sunday we were able to work through all the agenda items without a hitch. More to follow on all of this as we look at our business practices.

If you are still on the fence and have not yet registered, we ask that you do so as soon as possible. Our State Coordinators are working hard to finalize plans and rely on a pre-Run head count to ensure we can care for everyone’s needs. Our Day Rider registration process kicked in on 1 February, so please visit https://rftw.us/rftw-registration for all the details.

Finally, just in case you have heard rumors, we put together a team of experienced RFTW riders to take a hard look at everything RFTW. Nothing is sacred. We have 3+ years of rider data and are beginning to see certain trends within our program. We are also reviewing AARs from the past 3 years, along with rider’s comments. You may see a survey or two come out, and if so, please ensure you respond. Your response will help immensely. Periodically, the study team will make recommendations to the BoD for discussions and decisions on implementing adjustments to the program. If you have specific suggestions on ways to improve the Run, please complete a Contact form. We would love to hear from you. More to follow as this too progresses.

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. 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.

Let us remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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President’s Message – February 2024

Run for the Wall

Well, it is February 4th as I sit down to write this; 100 days from KSU. Punxsutawney Phil came out two days ago and predicted an early Spring. It has not been a particularly tough winter here, a couple of weeks of below freezing temperatures, but then right back up into the middle 40’s. I just got my bike out of the shop with new tires and a going over in preparation for May. The bike is ready, and I continue my exercise routine to try and coax this tired old body into another year. I will be ready come time to head towards Ontario. Are you too prepping for May? It is not too late to start!! Maybe get your checklist out and start going over your preparations. May will be here before we know it!!

On the good news front, I am sure you have read of our very own James “Gunny” Gregory’s induction into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame this coming year. During the 3rd week of February, there will be a massive press release to over 300 radio, TV and motorcycle industry magazines announcing the 7 August induction. General admission tickets are $55 and will go on sale 1 March. More to follow as it develops. If you are thinking of attending, as with the Run, you might want to make your hotel reservations early. Sturgis gets pretty busy that time of year.

One of the challenges of the BoD is ensuring a consistent funding stream to pay all the expenses that come with this type of organization. Registration fees help as do donations, but honestly, we cover most of our expenses through merchandise sales. This year, we need your help. If you are riding ATW and are interested in how you can help, our Director of Merchandise is looking for two couples that will be going ATW and are willing to work selling RFTW merchandise for both Central and Midway. We are not looking for someone to tow the trailers; just to sell our merchandise at the various stops. If you might be interested in assisting in this capacity, please send an email to merchandise@rftw.us. Alan will be able to fill you in on the details. There may even be an incentive or two available.

On 3 February, I was able to virtually attend the Celebration of Life for RFTW long-time rider Karoni Forrester’s father, USMC Capt. Ronald Wayne Forrester. Capt. Forrester was shot down on December 27, 1972, and through the efforts of so many, his remains were finally repatriated. RFTW was well represented at the Celebration and there were over 130 folks online. Welcome Home Capt. Forrester!! Thank you to all who attended, whether in person or virtually. We Ride For Those Who Can’t!

We are finalizing plans for both Ontario and DC, and we are pleased to announce that while we will not be able to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we will be able to place a wreath at an alternative location inside Arlington National Cemetery. The intrepid Gail continued to work through the bureaucracy that is Washington, D.C., and this year we will be able to take a total of 75 motorcycles (FNGs) in for this wreath laying. We will place a wreath at Section 60, nearest to the area of internment for those lost since the start of the Gulf Wars. Your RCs have the details and will be distributing the necessary-colored bands while on the Run. Note that the limit is seventy-five (75) motorcycles, which means we can bring in a total of 150 people. As in the past, no trikes or trailers are allowed. The RCs have all the details so they can complete their itineraries, but the following times may help you a bit in your planning: Saturday 0700 staging for ANC with a 0805 departure. At 1100 begin assembling at Lincoln Memorial for the 1130 photo. Depart Lincoln Memorial for the 1215 Misson Complete ceremony at the Wall. Sandbox registration will be at the host hotel on Saturday 0900-1015 and again from 1300-1600. We strongly encourage those of you registering in Ontario and riding two routes to register for both at the same time. Our registration teams will remind you to register for both routes to reduce the flow of registrants in D.C. Sandbox route meetings will be starting at 1500 -1800. More to follow in the sequence for those meetings.

The Park Service notified Gail that they will no longer allow bullhorns, loudspeakers, singing or chanting at the Lincoln Memorial. While they appreciate our enthusiasm and patriotism, the volume and ensuing echoes from so many voices may be contributing to the destabilization of the Memorial. We need to police ourselves and respect the wishes of the Park Service; remember we are allowed to gather for the photo as invited guests. Additionally, as in the past couple of years, there will be no parking on the grass around the National Mall area. Violators may have their bikes towed and impounded.

If you are still on the fence and have not yet registered, we ask that you do so as soon as possible. Our State Coordinators are working hard to finalize plans and rely on a pre-Run head count to ensure we can care for everyone’s needs. Our Day Rider registration process kicked in on 1 February, so please visit https://rftw.us/rftw-registration for all of the details.

In past years, we provided a standardized message for you to use when contacting news media, civic organizations, etc., announcing our arrival. Below is that message. I encourage you to copy and paste it into an email and get it out. Let’s work together to notify the nation that we are coming to your community and that We Ride For Those Who Can’t.

CUT LINE

Run For The Wall (RFTW), a veteran support organization, will be coming through ENTER LOCATION HERE on ENTER DATE/TIME HERE on our way to ENTER EITHER WASHINGTON D.C. OR MARSEILLES, IL. This is the 34th year RFTW has conducted its mission of promoting healing among all veterans and their families and friends, calling 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 around the world. This mission is supported by thousands of citizens from communities like yours who come out to greet us, who provide donated gas and oftentimes food, and, most importantly, to demonstrate their patriotism and support.

As we work our way across America, whether from California to D.C or D.C. to Marseilles, IL., we visit towns and communities, veteran organizations like the VFW and American Legion, VA Centers and hospitals, schools, Gold Star families, and civic organizations to help spread the word. We need your help to promote the healing of those who have answered our nation’s call; to help remind our legislators that we need the accountability that was promised; and most importantly, we need to NEVER FORGET those who sacrificed all for us.

We cannot continue this mission without your support and assistance in getting the word out! Our motto is “We Ride For Those Who Can’t”. That all-encompassing motto includes Veterans and Patriots from all walks of life – with your help, we can reach more people who may need a personal connection or who wish to show their support.

We would love to have you come out to meet or join us on ENTER DATE AND TIME HERE. We would love to see you as we work our way across this great country of ours. For more information on Run For The Wall, please visit our website at https://rftw.us. If you would like to donate, please visit https://rftw.us/donate. RFTW is a registered 501(c)(3) with a Platinum rating by GuideStar.

We look forward to seeing you!

CUT LINE

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. 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.

Let us remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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RFTW BoD – Open Position Announcement

Run for the Wall

The Board of Directors is looking to fill the position of Secretary.

Run For The Wall® Secretary is a critical, sensitive position with a 3-year commitment that requires certain skills to further the maintenance of administrative tasks and documents, and the Mission of Run for the Wall. We live and work in a hugely electronic environment, so knowledge and familiarity with computers, file/folder structures, etc., is paramount.

The successful candidate will have a background in the use of Microsoft Office products including Word, Excel and similar tools. Knowledge and experience in setting up and maintaining structured electronics records accounts is especially important. The ability to work in an online, collaborative environment is essential, as is having access to reliable internet services.

The bylaws describe the duties of Secretary as follows:  The Secretary shall: (a) record the minutes of the meetings of the members and of the BoD in one (1) or more books provided for that purpose; (b) see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these By-Laws or as required by law; (c) be a custodian of the corporate records and of the seal of the corporation; (d) keep a register of the post office address of each member which shall be furnished to the Secretary by such member; and (e) perform all duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as from time to time may be designated to him/her by the President or by the BoD.

Appointment to the BoD places demands on your free time. We meet a minimum of once a month, often twice. There are occasional emergency online meetings with as little as 5 days’ notice. Occasional travel is required with certain travel expenses reimbursed for July meeting; in July each year the BoD convenes Face to Face meetings where attendance is paramount. We also meet Face to Face each year in Ontario prior to the Run. You will be required to take and produce detailed minutes of each meeting. There are online documents such as a roster of motions by month and topic that must be maintained. Additionally, the person filling this position is not only a Director, but also a corporate officer with certain duties and obligations specific to the corporation.

The successful candidate will submit a resume outlining their particular skills relevant to those listed here, along with a brief description of their Run experience, and the names of three references we may contact. Veterans are required to also submit an SSAN-redacted copy of their DD-214 that shows Character of Service (type of discharge). Once selected, the successful candidate will also have to submit to a Character & Fitness Examination (CFE), essentially a background check at the Board’s expense.

Those wishing to apply should submit their package to Secretary@rftw.us no later than 15 February 2024. Questions can be directed to President@rftw.us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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President’s Message – January 2024

Run for the Wall

Happy New Year to one and all!!

Hopefully you had a peaceful holiday season along with the opportunity to relax a bit and recharge your system. Now might be a good time to begin your Run preparation by looking over your individual plans including necessary medications, motorcycle maintenance, your physical condition, your gear. There are myriad details to cover pre-Run; the start of the new year might be a great time to get after it all.

Speaking of new things, if you are thinking of Valentines Day and perhaps buying something sweet for that special someone, how about visiting the Run For the Wall candy shop at https://www.yumraising.com/secure/runftw_run_for_the_wall22/JohSta9280/. Not only can you buy a sweet for your sweet, but you are also providing support to RFTW!!

See's Candies

Our hotel lists hit early on the morning of January 1st and there seemed to be few glitches. We saw a Facebook post from one person regarding a problem with one of the links but were unable to reproduce the problem. I often wish we could have better answers when something like that happens, but unfortunately, issues are often related to which browser you are using, what your security or privacy settings are, and even sometimes what policies your Internet provider establishes. If you experienced an issue, please go to our website, and fill out a contact form so we can investigate the issue. When doing so, please provide as many details as possible to include which browser you are using.  Screenshots may also be helpful. We also know of one link to a hotel in CA that isn’t correct, and Ted and Carol are all over that one. A third-party provides those links, so we must rely on them and their timing for a fix.

As we prepare for each new Run, we often see “repeat” questions on a wide range of topics. The safest and surest way to provide accurate answers to questions is to direct those asking to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. While visiting that page, they will almost always find answers to additional questions, saving time and effort. This page is the result of years of compiling questions and answers and can often provide clear answers that have stood the test of time.

Speaking of preparations, if you haven’t yet registered, I encourage you to do so before 1 February when the registration fee goes up from the “Early Bird” rates. Currently, our registration numbers are still slightly behind last year’s. We kept registration fees at the 2023 level and there is still time to take advantage of the early registration discount. Since the accuracy of our registration numbers drive the State Coordinators’ planning along with the hundreds of other volunteers that support us, it’s very important to register as early as possible.  If you haven’t already done so, please CLICK HERE to register today! If, for whatever reason, you are electing NOT to ride this year, we would love to hear from you, especially if the reason is related to our organizing and executing the Run. There is a contact form on the website. We are genuinely interested in hearing from you!

I would like to take another moment to remind everyone that route planning is a function of the RCs and the BoD. Any changes or additions to the primary mission must be routed to the RCs and to the BoD for review and approval. Recently, we again had folks with the best of intentions planning changes to a route organization structure with no RC coordination. Our RCs and others are busy coordinating their route plans. It is unfair to them to inject and announce uncoordinated, unapproved changes.

On Saturday, January 13th, you can attend a ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral at 4 p.m. if you are in the Washington, D.C. area, for the special A Celebration of Character & Courage ceremony honoring the service, courage and legacy of Vietnam veterans, Gold Star Families, and commitment renewal to account for the remaining missing. You can view the flyer for more information, and register to attend in person. In addition, you can also attend virtually via the host’s live-stream page.

Central Route graciously agreed to support the Tour of Wings – POW/MIA Wings on RFTW 2024. Homeland Magazine’s most recent issue contains an article on the Tour (https://issuu.com/adminhlm/docs/homeland_magazine_january_2024/20). The entire magazine can be viewed at Homeland Magazine-https://issuu.com/adminhlm/docs/homeland_magazine_january_2024?fr=sMDA4ZTYzMjkzNzk  RFTW Homeland Magazine (Pages 20-21) – (RFTW Ad – Page 23). Homeland Magazine is also supporting RFTW by placing an ad for RFTW on page 23. Carol is working on plans to display the Wings while we are in Ontario, and they will be accompanying the Central Route across America. Gail is working on a display in DC. More to follow.

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. 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.

Let us remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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President’s Message – December 2023

Winter has arrived in south central Pennsylvania. While we have not had any appreciable snow, the temperatures and the winds remind us that mother nature is in charge. As the earth takes this time to relax and prepare for the next season, we too should try and make time for relaxation. I try and remind myself that every winter day that passes brings us one day closer to spring!

The last couple of months have been especially difficult for many of our Run family, and I ask that we continue to reach out and offer our friendship and understanding. Our Mission must endure, and we should be especially sensitive to the need for healing.

Recently, Cornell “Thumper” Penn resigned as the RC for Sandbox route for personal reasons. In true RFTW spirit, Heidi “Blue” Hansing agreed to step up as the RC. On Tuesday, 12 Dec. in a special BoD meeting, the Board approved Blue’s ascension to RC. I ask that you give Blue and her team all the support possible as she and her team continue the critical elements of route planning. Heidi will be submitting her nomination for ARC shortly, so more to come.

We continue to reach out to other veteran-centric organizations to spread the word about the Run. We are working diligently to attract riders of all wars and conflicts so that our MISSION and goals continue to resonate across our landscape. As our rider demographics adjust to the ages of our older warriors, we need to ensure our younger warriors know and understand that we look forward to them joining us and carrying on the Mission. On that same note, on December 18th, Ted “Boots” Kapner and I will be interviewed on a podcast scheduled for release on 22 Dec. The For Vets Sake podcast is a monthly presentation as they work to educate Veterans on benefits, services, tributes and discuss all things veteran. You can typically find them on Apple and Spotify, and with this episode, there should be video available on their YouTube channel.

We need your help to expand our outreach to veteran organizations, to military organizations, to those who care and support our Mission. We have presentation templates so that the message we carry to outside organizations is consistent and meet the intent of RFTW. Remember, the Mission isn’t simply about going All the Way; it is about making a statement through participation!! Whether you ride one leg, three days, or ATW, we need our voices and the voices of those who cannot ride, to be raised and heard at the highest level. We Ride for Those Who Can’t!!!

Speaking of 2024, if you haven’t yet registered, I encourage you to do so before 1 February when the registration fee goes up from the “Early Bird” rates. Currently, our registration numbers are behind last year’s. We kept registration fees at the 2023 level and there is still time to take advantage of the early registration discount. Since the accuracy of our registration numbers drive the State Coordinators’ planning, if you haven’t yet registered, please CLICK HERE to register today! If, for whatever reason, you are electing NOT to ride this year, we would love to hear from you, especially if the reason is related to our organizing and executing the Run. There is a contact form on the website. We are genuinely interested in hearing from you!

Please keep in mind that your RC and ARC are your primary points of contact for questions regarding route activities. While we all have our Mission and rider’s best interests at heart, they are the primary movers and shakers for their respective routes.

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. 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.

Let us remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

If I do not get the opportunity to speak with you, it is my sincere wish that each and everyone have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful Holiday Season. For whatever you celebrate, may you find comfort, joy, and peace within.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member