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President’s Town Hall Update

Run for the Wall

As we enter this holiday season, I again ask that you keep our friends, families and veterans in your thoughts and prayers. These are difficult times for many of us, and we need to be there for one another.

The BoD is pleased to announce that Run for the Wall received the GuideStar.org Platinum rating of transparency, the highest rating awarded to a charitable organization!!

During a recent exchange both on social media (A letter from the Chairman – Communication is the Key! – Run For The Wall® (rftw.us)) and during our recent Zoom Town Hall meeting (RFTW BoD Town Hall Zoom – Video Recording Now Available – Run For The Wall®), there were suggestions that the BoD publish an annual report and other financial information. So that we are clear, the BoD has, each year, submitted the required IRS Form 990, and those forms have been publicly available on the IRS site (Charities and Nonprofits | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)) for years (in case you need it, our EIN is 36-4125559). However, in the interest of being as transparent as possible, we have been working with both GuideStar.org and CharityNavigator.org to update our profiles. In September, Charity Navigator changed how it rates charitable organizations, and is now using data and information exclusively from GuideStar.org along with information on the IRS Form 990. This profile data change happened without notice to us. Fortunately, we were already working on our Charity Navigator profile and were able to adjust our efforts. As of this update, the data exchange between GuideStar and Charity Navigator has not yet happened. However, GuideStar published our new profile (Run for the Wall® – GuideStar Profile).

I encourage you to visit GuideStar.org and review our profile. The ability to drill down into detailed information is quite impressive, and there are IRS Form 990’s dating back to 2001.

Rest assured, with the end of our fiscal year, we are working on our latest IRS Form 990. The new 990 will contain updated information that we believe will significantly improve our Charity Navigator profile. While we do not know how long it will take Charity Navigator to perform either update (GuideStar data pull and the new 990), all indications are that it will be at least 3 months following completion of the new 990. In the meantime, please visit GuideStar.org, and review our profile (Run for the Wall® – GuideStar Profile). We encourage each of you to share this profile with all potential contributors. We posted the GuideStar seal and a link to our GuideStar profile on our donation page at https://rftw.us/donate.

While you are at it, it may be beneficial to review the profile of other charities with which you are familiar, both on GuideStar and Charity Navigator.

Did you know that Run for the Wall has an active Benevolence program? Each year, organizations that meet our criteria and select individuals are eligible to apply. For further information and online applications and submittal instructions, please visit https://rftw.us/benevolence-fund/. 31 December is the deadline for applications. Awards are reviewed and considered during the Face-to-face meeting typically held in February each year.

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 – November 2023

RFTW Logo

Good day from chilly south-central PA. November is now upon us with many making plans for the upcoming holiday season. Another year has gone by producing no resolution to the POW/MIA and KIA/WIA issues that so many of our families face daily. As we gather around our tables with families and friends this holiday season, let us take a moment and remember those who are not with us, those who struggle daily with memories of sacrifices made in answering the call to duty. We Ride For Those Who Can’t is more than our motto; it describes what we do and why we do it.

A special thanks goes out to Denise “Zoom” Murray. She very graciously allowed us to use her Zoom account for our first-ever RFTW BoD Town Hall Zoom meeting on 2 November. We had a high capacity (500 seat) meeting planned, but a temporary glitch caused it to stop accepting logons at 100. Denise was able to quickly fix the issue and we had a total of 117 participants. Mike “Bonehead” Kyser was also there lending support and ensuring we were able to capture and document all the questions posted in the chat. The BoD fielded lots of good questions, eliminated some false, lingering rumors, and the consensus of our feedback is that the call was successful. We learned through this initial experience and plan to have more in the future. Thanks to all who called in and a special thanks to those who asked questions. For those who were unable to log on, our sincere apologies. As sometimes happens in an inaugural event, there was an unanticipated glitch, but we are confident we can prevent that from happening again. We hope to soon have the audio recording posted on our website, so those who were unable to attend and listen to the complete meeting recording.

Some good news from the Arlington/D.C. front. Despite what might have been unwelcome news, our Washington DC Coordinator, Gail Dippel was able to secure our host hotel for 2024 in Arlington where we have been for years. We are confident that this location will work for RFTW 2024 but do anticipate having to move in 2025. More to follow as the situation evolves.

One of the benefits of partnering with similar organizations is we often have access to tools and media devices that might be useful to those we meet. One of those partner organizations, https://www.vietnamwar50th.com, has made a Teachers Toolkit available.  This resource is free to all and may assist teachers and other educators in developing academic studies related to answering the call to duty. If you have contact with or know an educator or educational institution, you might take a moment and offer this link: https://vietnamwar50th.com/history_and_legacy/teachers_toolkit/ (Teachers_Toolkit_2023_v3.pdf (vietnamwar50th.com). The file is quite large, so it may take a bit to download. The website describes this as “…a downloadable Toolkit that (sic) provides a comprehensive packet of materials and resources that educators can use inside and outside the classroom to support efforts to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families. These resources include website links, recommended activities, books, and films, and many other materials that accommodate all ages from elementary schools and after-school programs to college-level students.” So many of our riders and volunteers contact a variety of educational institutions, this might be just the resource some are looking for.

I recently received an email telling me about an organization out of the UK that is remarkably like ours (https://www.rttw.org/). Their website describes their mission as “…a unique motorcycling event which gives motorcyclists an opportunity to gather together at a place of remembrance, to pay their respects to our serving and fallen service men and women and in doing so, raise funds solely for the purpose of perpetuating their memory and recognizing the sacrifice made.” A video of their 2023 mission can be seen at: https://www.facebook.com/walter.d.matthews/videos/1721516728322129?idorvanity=112498421427. The similarities between our organizations and ours are striking.

Some of our riders may remember meeting navy Capt. Royce Williams, the Korean War hero that, in 1952, shot down four out of seven Soviet MIGs in an engagement that remained classified for decades. The Navy originally awarded him the Silver Star in 1953; then on January 20th, 2023, the Navy upgraded his Silver Star to the Navy Cross. As early as 2014, many senior leaders thought his actions were deserving of the MOH. In 2022, the MOH upgrade action received approval by the House through the Defense Authorization Act. The House then forwarded the approved amendment to the Senate. Sad to say, the action to upgrade the Navy Cross to an MOH is still sitting with the Senate, with no action yet taken.

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 slightly behind last year. 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!

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!

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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First Ever RFTW Zoom Town Hall

The BoD is pleased to announce an upcoming event we hope will lead to improved communications with our riders. On 2 November at 1900 Central Time, we will be hosting an open Town Hall via Zoom. As we do in our Board meetings, the event will be moderated by our Chairman, Billie Dunlap, with riders able to submit questions directly to the Board members. Our plan is for a brief introduction of our Board members, a focused discussion on some issues that impact what we do daily, and then opening it up to questions via Chat.

Please set aside this date and time. The link and additional information will follow soonest.

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 – October 2023

Run for the Wall

With October’s cooling temperatures, at least in the Northeast, comes the changing of the leaves, the departure of the hummingbirds, and the need to get the house and cars ready for the coming winter. While for some this time of year may bring a slight slowdown in certain areas, our dedicated volunteers are hard at work making sure RFTW 2024 will be a resounding success.

I often think of what goes into preparing for each Mission; of how the desire to serve those who served, those who are still serving, those who are no longer with us, drives and motivates us. Each and every volunteer gives of their time and treasure to ensure that we continue to “Ride for those who can’t”. I wish I could offer more than the tip of my hat, but please know that your efforts are greatly appreciated by all.

As many know by now, we will be launching from Ontario again this year, and again, we expect many of our meetings and gatherings will again be at the Elks club. We listened to your AARs and will be making some adjustments to the meeting rooms and services provided at the Elks, but they are warmly opening their facilities to us and again welcoming us with open arms. As Carol continues to finalize our plans, there will be more to follow on this topic.

Several folks have suggested we return to Rancho Cucamonga. I remember staying and launching out of Rancho, and it was a great place for our departure. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control dictated we find a new launch site, and Ontario and the Ontario Visitors Center (OVC) stepped up and are also welcoming us with open arms. The OVC recognizes the value and importance of our Mission and does so many things to aid and support us. The OVC is a great organization and an invaluable asset in our efforts!!

As much as I wish we could return to Arlington National Cemetery, that simply isn’t in the works again this year. However, it looks like Carol has secured our ride to Riverside National Cemetery!! Preliminary plans have us staging and departing from the Elks club on Tuesday. This is good news as the Elks are planning on having coffee and breakfast ready prior to our departure. As in the past, participants MUST be registered prior to riding in this event. The RCs were notified on route responsibilities for supporting this effort and are adjusting plans to fit this into the schedule.

As sometimes happens, good news is tempered with some not so good news. As I’m sure everyone is aware, costs are rising across the country, so please be prepared for increased hotel rates, etc., as you work on your plans. The BoD is working on several initiatives to try and alleviate the price increases, but I doubt we will have them in place for RFTW 2024. While most hotels have nationally recognized names and associations with national chains, they are privately owned, with rates set by the franchise owners.  That said, we are working with some of the corporations to try and establish a national rate for our riders.

As we’ve discussed earlier in the year, there have been several changes to the Bylaws and SOPs regarding fundraising activities, use of intellectual property, the Rider Code of Conduct, along with other areas. Your RC and ARC are your primary points of contact for these and similar issues. Please ensure you are communicating with them on any plans that affect their route activities.

As an ending note, I encourage you to support the Mission, support your Route Coordinator, take the time to engage others and talk about our Mission and if you can, volunteer to be a resource for your route as well as a rider. Attend any local RFTW rider support groups and encourage our FNG’s. We need your continued support!!

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’s remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

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 – September 2023

Run for the Wall

And just like that, here it is September already. Registration is NOW OPEN! Contrary to some rumors, registration fees are the same as last year. The BoD is doing everything we can to control costs. If you think about it, on a 10-day route, with registration at $45, that is $4.50 per day. We encourage early registration so that our State Coordinators have accurate numbers to work with when contracting for hotels, planning meals, etc.

Speaking of our State Coordinators, sometimes I don’t think they are given enough credit. I know that during my time as the DC/Arlington coordinator, my work was a continuous cycle year after year. Speaking with some of our other SCs, their work is the same. During my time on the CR staging team, I once counted that we stopped 49 times on our Mission across the country. That we were able to purchase gas, eat a meal, get off our bikes and stretch, have a place to sleep, was all because of our SCs. They do a magnificent job, and we owe them a huge thanks! The SC job is not easy, but all do it so well.

The wife and I were fortunate to be able to travel to New Mexico for the Angel Fire workday/reunion over the Labor Day weekend. Since we moved east back in 2014, it has been that long since we’ve been able to attend. It was so nice to see folks from all the routes in attendance. Since the Angel Fire gathering is mainly about assisting in maintaining the Vietnam Veterans memorial and laying memorial bricks, it was heartwarming to see RFTW riders and leadership taking personal time to perform this vital mission. We laid 526 memorial bricks this year. The participation of several younger children was especially memorable, as their parents and families teach them to honor our past; to remember those who served, many of whom paid the ultimate price. This type of activity is core to the RFTW mission and goals. The team that put the workday/reunion together did a magnificent job. My hat is off to one and all.

Speaking of reunions, the All Riders Reunion in Kerrville, TX is rapidly approaching.  This reunion has been going on for several years and is always well attended. I encourage you to attend if you have the time.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  They do know how to put on a reunion in Texas!!  Click here for more information.

Remember 2023 is the year of Back to Basics. If you are contemplating something, perhaps a fundraiser or using RFTW intellectual property in any form, please run it past your RC to ensure it meets the procedures and policies of RFTW. RFTW is about the Mission; everything else is secondary and the BoD is determined to get us Back to Basics. Yet we seem to be constantly finding misuse of our intellectual property in ways and manners inconsistent with our Mission. We intend to protect our Mission, our name, and the presentation of RFTW, but to do so, we need your help. Approvals for requests for use of our exact replica intellectual property range from the State Coordinator for items like flyers, posters, etc., advertising events that support RFTW; RCs may approve use of exact replica RFTW intellectual property on certain items. Items such as hats, shirts, etc., must be reviewed and approved by the President. Your RC has information on how to submit items for approval.

At the start of the year of Back to Basics, we incorporated mandatory procedures in the SOPs regarding the order of march for the Missing Man Formation (MMF). The MMF symbolizes the very core of our Mission, and the BoD believed it was important to ensure we present this formation consistently across all four routes.  Again, your RC has the details.

Cages that are used to support leadership teams will no longer be able to travel with the pack or with the team they support. This was a subject of considerable discussion during the July Face-to-Face meetings, and all agreed that the mix of motorcycles and cars was becoming a problem. If you are leading a team and you need support from a cage, you will need to ensure they do NOT ride near or among your team.

We are still receiving AARs from the last Run.  Thank you for taking the time to submit your thoughts and ideas.  There have been a couple of questions regarding how AARs are handled.  First, ALL AARs are read by the entire BoD, and are also presented to the RCs for their review and consideration.  Some who submit AARs are contacted, but most are not.  That doesn’t mean your voice isn’t heard.  It is.

But how about you? How are your preparations going? Are you exercising, hydrating? Is your motorcycle ready? How are your tires looking? Are you staying ready for May?

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’s remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

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 – August 2023

Run for the Wall

Before I get too far into this month’s message, I would like to take a moment to recognize the upcoming departure from the BoD of Jenny Ward. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, Jenny, while continuing to serve on the Central Route, is leaving the BoD. Jenny’s near decade of either direct or indirect service to the BoD and to all routes as our resident CPA and then Treasurer has been an immense help. She has an accountant’s mind and eye and has set up our accounting procedures that will enable us to move into the future with confidence. If you have a moment, perhaps shoot her an email at jenny.ward@rftw.us and thank her for her exceptionally dedicated service to our mission. Jenny, I know we will see you on the Run, but please take comfort in knowing you served RFTW and our veterans with the deliberate dedication they so richly deserve!

We covered a lot of territory in our Face-to-Face in Dallas. One of the prominent things we decided is that RFTW 2024 will focus on Back to Basics. Everyone in attendance agreed that current events and external requirements have drawn our focus away from the basic tasks associated with accomplishing our Mission.  Your RCs will be emphasizing that very focus as we begin planning RFTW 2024. Please take a moment to read, or reread, our Mission statement and reflect the meaning behind the words. It is a powerful statement, and your leadership believes we need to refocus our efforts towards accomplishing what we say we are going to do. You will be hearing more from your RCs on this topic.

As difficult as change is, we have irrefutable data that tells us we need to institute some changes to the way the Mission is accomplished. Midway asked for approval to do an 11-day Run again in 2024. Don presented a compelling presentation during a special Board meeting outlining how the 11-days impacts the veterans, communities, families, and friends along the Midway route. While 2023 was an “experimental” Run, the Board felt there was sufficient compelling evidence, to include comments in AARs from Midway riders, to do it again. There will be changes to our departure ceremony for Midway; however we will not “require” anyone but Midway riders to attend, and it will not detract from the Wednesday departure ceremony.  More to follow as planning continues.

As we work toward getting Back to Basics, you will hear of additional redirection of efforts. We are not taking on any additional missions this year; if someone wants to alter the fundamental accomplishment of a Route by adding or embellishing the Run, they will first have to receive the RCs approval, who then in turn will bring it to the BoD for review and discussion. Again, we were all in agreement that there were too many “side” missions and changes without RC approval that significantly detracted from accomplishing the primary mission. So, if you wish to add to or embellish the Mission on a particular route, you’ll need to run it through the RC first, and well before the Run begins.  Last minute add-ons just before KSU will not be approved. Over the past couple of years, we have seen many of our participants bringing unfavorable attitudes with them. Whether it is an attitude of entitlement or an attitude of “the rules are good for everyone else, but they don’t apply to me in this situation,” or “I can insert a mission into my route without preplanning with my RC,” this needs to stop. There will be no new missions, no new positions, no new operations without prior RC and BoD coordination.

As we look at the demographics of RFTW, it has become glaringly apparent that we need to take a hard look at expectations. There are a couple of studies going on that may alter the face of RFTW. I ask that you keep in mind that we are not looking at the Run blindly; we are consulting with riders, RCs, other leaders as well as folks outside of our organization. Change is difficult in any organization, but if we expect our Run and our Mission to survive, we need to approach adapting our operations to this ever-changing world we live in.

Finally, we are looking at and planning for RFTW 2025. As most of you know, we owe our very existence to a dedicated, determined group of Vietnam Vets who, some 34 years ago, decided to march on Washington DC to participate in a peaceful protest over the treatment of our POWs and MIAs, along with multiple other issues. Recognizing that 2025 will be the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, and the 35th anniversary of RFTW, Run 2025 will be the “Year of the Vietnam Vet”. We will not be dismissing the contributions of our other vets, but instead focusing on those that started what we are today. Again, more to follow. We are hoping that many of our Vietnam Vets will come back in 2025, even if only as Day Riders, so that we can recognize and thank them. RFTW is today what it is due to the care and concern of the “89ers”.

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 – July 2023

Run for the Wall

It seems like yesterday that I was writing about how winter had settled in in south PA.  Now with summer upon us, there are so many outdoor activities to choose from; car shows, fly fishing, festivals supporting our volunteer fire departments, and soon it will be time for the apple harvest festivals.  Hunters are already lining up for their annual deer and elk tags.  Like so much of the country, we are seeing unsettled weather with daily air quality alerts from the wildfires burning in Canada.  We remain busy though, getting plans moving along for next year and beyond.  I hope summer brings peace and happiness to you and yours. July is the month dedicated to celebrating our nation’s independence and freedom.  July 4th, like so many other dates, has a very special meaning for our nation.  I hope you were able to spend some time celebrating our nation’s independence.  The clock continues to countdown; as I write this, we are 310 days out from KSU for Run 2024.

Congratulations to our 2024 RCs, ARCs and RGCs!!  We know you will do your best throughout the year as you plan for RFTW 2024.

All our leaders, including members of the BoD, are non-compensated volunteers.  That sounds simple, but reality shows us it is quite complex.    I guess I am trying to share with you that RFTW, and accomplishing all that goes into an RFTW mission, is quite complex.  That said, the BoD and your volunteer leadership is dedicated to the Mission; we hope you continue to remain so.  We are always looking for better ways of doing business; if you have suggestions, please submit them to one of the board members.

Thank you to all who have and are submitting AARs.  They make a difference.  Each AAR is reviewed by both the BoD and the route leadership.  In reading many of the AAR’s, especially those from FNGs, I’m glad we received so many responses.  While we received a lot of good feedback from many riders, reading the FNG AARs was enlightening.  One thing many FNGs expressed was an appreciation to experience and learn the mission and focus on riding the RFTW way.    FNGs need to experience the camaraderie, the healing, the meeting and making of new friends that go along with riding in the pack.  They need to develop an understanding of “We Ride For Those Who Can’t”.  FNGs, like all riders, need to experience the care and concern our PLs demonstrate, they need to feel the warm embrace of RFTW.  They need to learn the RFTW way.  And we need to continue to ensure that each FNG experiences the Run as they are supposed to do.  That is one of the reasons FNGs are not allowed to participate on special teams.  They need time to learn the RFTW mission and truly experience the healing we bring.

As we review RFTW 2023 and prepare for 2024, we are also looking at RFTW 2025.  We plan on making 2025 a special year; it’s too early to release any details but suffice it to say part of our 2024 Back to Basics planning is in preparation for RFTW 2025.  Stand by for more info.

One aspect we can all assist with is helping our chase trucks.  They perform a great job of helping our riders in the event of a breakdown.  One thing I learned recently is that different brands, and even models, of motorcycles should be strapped to a trailer differently.  If you were to strap a Honda Goldwing in the same way you might strap a Harley, you could cause significant damage to the Goldwing.  It is important for each rider to know and understand how to strap down their bike or trike.  If your bike requires a special strap, please don’t expect our chase trucks to carry that strap.  For example, many models of pre-2018 Goldwing’s require the use of a loop-strap that wraps around the triple-tree.  These loop straps are then connected to the rachet straps.  If you use rachet straps across the handlebars of a Wing, you could break the handlebars.  And it is nearly impossible correctly wrap a rachet strap around the triple tree.  Same issue with the using rachet straps on the crash guards on a Wing.  The crash guards are attached to the Wing using standard bolts instead of hardened bolts.  While this hasn’t been an issue on the Run, there are many reports from Honda owners of the bolts breaking when using rachet straps on the crash guards.  Bottom line:  it is the bike owner’s responsibility to know how to properly strap their bike to the trailer, and if special straps are required, you should have them with you.  Help our chase truck drivers help you!!

Kriss Ross is looking for some assistance.  She was part of the 13 flags carried across the US mission and is missing a piece of luggage and a flag.  In her emails, she stated that she has been in contact with several RFTW riders that say they know the whereabouts of her missing items but have not offered any specific information.  If you happen to have information on the whereabouts of her missing items, please contact her via email at mookiki2@gmail.com.

The announcements for both the Kerrville reunion and the Angel Fire reunion and work weekend are out.  I hope you can participate in one or the other, or perhaps both.

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’s remember to keep our focus on the Mission.  It is why we ride!

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 2024 RC’s Announced

Run for the Wall

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the confirmation of the Run For The Wall 2024 Route Coordinators as follows:

Central Route: Nick “Rich Boy” Hentges

Midway Route: Don “10-A-See” King

Southern Route: Darin “Lurch” Koch

Sandbox Route: Cornell “Thumper” Penn

Congratulations to all.

We look forward to announcing the new ARCs and RGCs for each route soon.

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President’s Message – June 2023

Run for the Wall

One more night in a hotel and I’ll be home. It is hard to believe that Run 2023 is over. The work of so many people culminating in KSU on Tuesday for Midway, and Wednesday for Central and Southern routes followed by Sandbox route enabled us to carry our mission across the country; to reach out to the thousands of patriots who come out to greet us, those who help feed us and sustain our desire to complete the mission. It lends a whole new meaning to the motto “We Ride For Those Who Can’t”. According to my day counter, there are 347 days until KSU Run 2024. The cycle continues. The After-Action Reports are already coming in; click here if you would like to submit one. Your input matters and will help us make Run 2024 even better.

I had the opportunity to ride both Central and Sandbox this year, working on both routes as a Road Guard. I would like to extend a personal thanks to the RGs who took me under their wing and began what I am sure will be a forever learning session. My mentor (Smoke) was patient and understanding. I learned so much from observing the experienced RGs and asking questions. All the RGs took the time to patiently answer my many questions. It is a fast-paced job that demands attention and quick decision making. Our RGs on all the routes work so hard to ensure the pack moves safely across this great nation of ours. Again, to all who worked with me to start my journey to becoming a good RG, I thank you!! To all the RGs on all the Routes, I thank you. RG is a tough job, and you perform it so well!!

To say that communication and leadership are the glue that binds is an understatement. I had the opportunity each morning to work with a different platoon, to speak with the riders and their leadership, to hear their concerns and to help them understand the subtle nuances of the upcoming day. While the RC is the overall leader of the route, a significant amount of responsibility lies on the shoulders of our platoon leadership. From where I sit, you all did a great job.

I fear that sometimes we get so involved in working our responsibilities that we lose sight of our mission. Each time we passed the Missing Man formation while working our way back up front, the RGs would render a salute. I understand the other route RGs did the same. For that short moment, everything stopped, and we recognized the sacrifice of the missing. We took that moment to pay our respects. I urge you to consider taking part in the Missing Man formation as we prepare for Run 2024. If you stop for a moment and reflect on why RFTW was started, that one formation, that one element, is the reason we ride. It is greater than anyone’s ego; the MMF symbolizes why we ride and should continue to be recognized as such. It is entirely proper that the MMF be a leading element so the public sees the importance we place on its significance within our Mission.

As we begin preparations for Run 2024, think about how you might reach out and encourage more younger riders to come on the Run, even if just for a day. At first glance, our Day Rider program was a success, and I’m hopeful the BoD will continue the program in some form. But we need new riders, we need younger riders. Just think, if 1/4 of our riders this year could bring a new rider to the Run, we would gain almost 250 new riders!

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 – May 2023

Its MAY!!!!

My countdown clock tells me we are 16 days from KSU.  16 days until we again begin this Mission across our country to remind friends and families of those lost that they and their sacrifice are not forgotten.  16 days until we again begin to reach out to those who cannot ride to remind them that they are not forgotten.  16 days until the plans and scheduling and hard work of thousands of volunteers come to fruition.  We currently have 1181 registered riders on 900 bikes.  Without the support of the thousands of volunteers, completing a Mission of this size would be nearly impossible.  Remember to thank them as we visit their town.  If there is a donation jar at one of the eating locations, remember the hard work they put into providing us with the sustenance we need to complete this journey.  Donations go a long way to ensuring that they support us in years to come.

This year, Midway will be leaving Lot D at 0800 on Tuesday.  While we’ve asked route leadership to attend the send-off, everyone is welcome to attend.  This would be a great opportunity for FNGs to stage, to see what Southern and Central routes will be dealing with Wednesday morning.

We’ve been speaking of getting ourselves and our motorcycles ready for the Run.  Ensuring you have enough meds, hydrating regularly even if you don’t think you need it.  As much as I like my morning coffee, I make sure I always have water with me when I ride.

Speaking of riding, I ask that each and everyone take care on the way to wherever it is you will join the Run.  We are a big family and each of us has friends that reach across all the routes.  Please be careful getting to the starting point, wherever that may be.  We cannot complete this Mission without you.  We need you; our veterans, veteran families and friends need you.  Together, we can make a difference.

The weather across the country has been a bit challenging this year.  Please maintain your situational awareness.  If it looks chancy, it probably is.

Be Safe!!!  I hope to see and meet each and every one of you either in Ontario, D.C., or Marseilles.

Oh, and by the way, yes, it is MAY!!!

Always remember, We Ride For Those Who Can’t.

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
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member