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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – JAN 2020 – New Year/New Route Edition

Howdy from Texas!

Now that we’re in the new year, we all more and more often hear and say, “Is it May yet?”  For RFTW Riders like me, hearing that phrase always invokes a sense of excitement for what lies ahead, and I instantly have thoughts of saddling up for a ride to Ontario!  For the past several years, those three days in Ontario have been filled with detailed briefings and serious preparation for the Run.  But the part of those three days that always stand out as memorable are the mini-reunions taking place at every curbside in the parking lot and in every hallway of the conference center.  I think back to my first PL year with the Looney Toons crew leading Southern Route’s 3rd Platoon – Bugs, Sidewinder, Roadrunner, Coyote and Chaps.  Next was leading 1st Platoon with COB, Hollywood, Idaho and Chaps again.  Then on to riding as ARC with Slacker and as RC with Captain America along with the outstanding leadership teams and riders that made it all happen.  Every one of those encounters and many more represent a family relationship that is a potential reunion in May.  Just today I wrote to a friend of mine that, “…the bonds of brotherhood remain stronger than the space and time between us.”  That is so true for our RFTW Family.  Remember that all roads lead to all roads and that regardless of where you are or when you ride, there is likely someone else you know out there riding too.  TOGETHER WE RIDE!

Service

What is service?  What does it mean to you?  Can one serve this country without being in uniform?  Ask the Navy wife who holding a small child while standing on the pier waving at the giant grey boat taking away her husband.  Ask the Husband who keeps the kids going to school every day, explaining to them at night why Mommy must be overseas with her Army unit.  Ask the RFTW Rider whose child has been in uniform overseas or that rider whose patriotic sense of duty leads them to this family to give something back.  Yes, those people serve – and thousands like them do so every day.  Service is more than an action when inspired from the heart.  For many of us, Service is a state of being or a fulfilling purpose when selflessly directed toward those whom we care about.  I am truly humbled to be counted among all the amazing people who Serve the great Mission of Run For The Wall.  Whether you wear sleeves and a colored hat, or you are an FNG riding in a platoon, there are times that each of us NEEDS to serve and there are those difficult times when we may need to BE served.  The wonderful thing about family is that either way, the Service continues, and we stand strong together. 

New Year / New Route

As I write this Newsletter, we are 114 days away from Kick Stands Up on the Inaugural Run of the SandBox Route.  Interest in participation with the SandBox Route has been very high and extremely positive.  The execution of our Mission over the years has cast a wide net of support as we seek to not only raise awareness for the travesty of those left behind overseas, but to support those who came home and the family and friends of those who didn’t.  The fact that the RTFW can focus that Mission through SandBox Route onto our recent era veterans and their family & friends with NO revision to its purpose speaks to the timelessness of its goals.  We need ALL our RFTW Family with a heart to support that mission involved in making it successful.  To that end, I have directed the RFTW Registrar to add all those currently on the Standby List to be added onto the SandBox Route.  If you have already requested and been granted entry onto the list, you should be receiving notification soon that your “Ride to” has been changed to Marseilles.  You’ll then be contacted by our Platoon Coordinator, Paul “G-Rex” Steigleder for your Platoon assignment.  The Standby List has been active for three months and will remain in place in case others want to sign up, but as of now the list is empty.  For instructions about getting on the next round of the Standby List, see the November 2019 SandBox RC Newsletter at this link:  SPECIAL REGISTRATION EDITION #3 – 08 NOV 2019

SandBox Route Patches

Some folks have been asking about the SandBox Route Tab patch.  You should see now that the Route patch is available at the RFTW store on line at rftw.us under the “Shop” tab.  It’s properly designed with the SandBox colors and will make a great addition to your vest or chaps.  There will also be an “All The Way” patch available in the trailer after we pull out of DC that will complement it nicely.  Also…  I have been working on a SandBox Route Inaugural Run commemorative patch that will be sold as a fundraiser for the Route.  The design is at the factory now and I expect the patches will go into production soon.  When the sample is available, it will be published, and we’ll start taking pre-orders.

Are you Ready?

I sincerely doubt any of us would answer “No” to that question, but let’s break it down to the basic issues that we all need to consider before getting on the road in May…

  • Mechanical Condition – Be sure your bike is in good condition for a 1000 (or more) mile ride.  Although our Route is planned at just over 800 miles, those of us who ride one of the legacy routes from Ontario may have put as much as 6000 miles on the bike before we even leave DC on May 24th.  Tires, oil change, and scheduled servicing may be available somewhere along the way but doing it during our short 3 days of the Run will take away valuable time you would otherwise have available for the Mission.
  • Physical Condition – The Run always includes long, hot, cold, dry, wet, misty, tiring, enjoyable days on the road.  Be sure that your mortal engine is ready for the long haul as well.  Some simple daily activity, exercise or walks will pay off well in keeping you awake, alert and safe on the road.  Our Hydration Support crew works very hard to ensure there will ALWAYS be water available for you to pick up between segments of the Route.  Some people start hydrating early so they get used to holding more water – your choice, but regardless of conditions, be prepared to drink a lot of water along the way! 
  • Mental Condition – I’ve written a lot in the past about PMA – Positive Mental Attitude.  Keeping that in mind, we all bring our own ideas and expectations for what the Run will mean to us and what we would like to get out of it.  Be positive, talk positive and share positive with others.  For me, this positively incredible event is a family reunion with a purpose and a Mission Statement of Healing, Accounting, Honor and Support and I ALWAYS have high expectations!

Final Comments

Congratulations to our Founder, GySgt James “Gunny” Gregory, USMC(Ret) on his selection to the South Carolina Biker Hall of Fame!  Gunny’s outstanding contributions and leadership for our biker and veteran communities are legendary and enduring.  Every time we put on that RFTW vest, we represent a Mission that was created to directly support the return of our missing service members and the well being of their families.  Gunny’s legacy will soon be enshrined in that Hall of Fame, but his Mission continues.  So, congratulations again to my Brother and Mentor, Gunny!  See you in Ontario!

WALL–2–WALL!

Bugs out!

Very best regards,
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
SandBox Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII
bugs@rftw.us

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator
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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – DEC 2019

Merry Christmas from Texas!

The holiday season has swept in again and it’s been a great time to wrap up tasks and enjoy the accomplishments of another year of diligent planning for coming events.  Yes, I’m talking about May!  Your SandBox Leadership Team has been preparing for the coming year in anticipation of a great Run on all the Routes, but especially focused on our Inaugural SandBox Route from DC to Marseilles.  The motivated dedication of those leaders has never been more clearly demonstrated considering that very many of them are also involved in the planning and leadership of other routes leading into DC.  Big shout-out here to our ARC, Ken “Six String” Dugas (MR RC) and our RGC, Don “10-A-SEE” King (MR ARGC) for your phenomenal dedication to the RFTW Mission and the future success of our SandBox Route!

Registration

Registration has now settled down and the SandBox Route remains at maximum fill.  However, it’s more like a tide moving in and out than a steady sea state.  Along with our RFTW Registrar, John “Wicked” McKee, I have been closely monitoring registration numbers and using the StandBy List to immediately fill slots as they open.  Since the list was created early last month, we’ve been able to place 9 riders into the Route.  As of right now, there are only 8 riders waiting to be placed from the list.  With six months to go before KSU next May, I am confident that these folks will be placed into the Route as spots become available.  That largely depends on the honest and timely notification from SandBox Registered Riders who may unfortunately find that they will not be able to make the Run.  If you determine that you will not be able to make the Run, please contact the registrar at registration@rftw.us as soon as possible so that we may draw from the StandBy List to place riders in your open spot.  Keep in mind that a NO SHOW for the Run may mean that a StandBy Rider will be left standing when the Run departs.

For more information and instructions about getting on the Standby List, see the November 2019 SandBox RC Newsletter at this link:  SPECIAL REGISTRATION EDITION #3 – 08 NOV 2019

Route Planning

The 2020 SandBox Route is 99% complete thanks to the steadfast efforts of our Road Guard Captain, Don “10-A-SEE” King and our Pennsylvania State Coordinator, Tom “Kid” Schultz.  Here’s the rest of the story…  One of the most unpopular segments of the Recon Run was Hwy 30 through Pennsylvania.  That segment was selected due to the extra coordination that would have been necessary to take the group onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike along I-70.  Through exhaustive correspondence and coordination with the PA Turnpike Authority culminating in a face-to-face meeting to finalize the agreements just two weeks ago, 10-A-SEE and Kid have developed an approved plan to pass through the Turnpike with full support of the PA Turnpike Authority and PA State Police!  The details of the plan will be very explicitly briefed to our riders before making that passage due to the strict safety and administrative concerns for the operation.  But that doesn’t mean it will be difficult, just well defined.  It’s nothing that this awesome group of SandBox Riders can’t handle!

Team Leader Highlight – Dave “Double-D” Davies, Outreach Team Leader

Dave “Double-D” Davies is a Great American and Patriotic Rider from Oakland, California.  He has made 4 ATW Runs with the Southern Route and most recently served on my SR Leadership Support Team as FNG Liaison and Admin Assistant on RFTW XXXI.  Double-D became involved in Military Veterans causes after the loss of a close friend to combat action in Iraq in 2003.  Since then, he has maintained a close supportive relationship with that friend’s family.  Since then, he has chaired a committee that hosts a Military Fund Raising Event which over the past 13 years of his leadership has raised over $350,000.  He also maintains a very strong supporting relationship with the Gold Star Foundation in northern California.  When I speak of a Middle East Conflict Affected Person, you should picture Dave Davies.  On the SandBox Route this year, Dave will lead an Outreach Team of three who are already contacting Gold Star and Veterans Groups to coordinate their attendance and participation at our stops along the way.  Dave’s selfless dedication to the RFTW Mission, the riders and the people we contact along the way exemplifies the motto of Mission > Self.  Look for Dave and his team wearing Green Hats on the SandBox Route and let them know you appreciate them.

Hotel List Publication

The SandBox Route Hotel List is nearly complete and will be published along with all the other Routes on 01 JAN 2020.  It has been reported that some folks are already trying to claim an RFTW rate ahead of the hotel list release and are experiencing resistance – those rates don’t go into effect until after the List is released.  Keep in mind that whatever the circumstance, if you invoke the RFTW name, then you are representing the organization in some form – please be a good representative.  Our continued participation at some excellent hotel properties and even our passage through some municipal areas can be drastically altered by the harmful actions of just one person – please don’t be that person.

Itinerary Book

New for 2020, the SandBox Route will have an Itinerary Book published with useful information about schedules, routes, contacts and points of interest for the Route.  It will be published in early Spring at the same time as the other Routes publish.  However, since the route selection is new for SandBox this year, I will publish the actual Route and Timing cards early next year so that our Riders can get a look at the path we’ll be taking.

Platoon Make-up and Assignments

If you are a Platoon Rider, you’ve likely already received a contact from Paul “G-Rex” Steigleder, our Platoon Coordinator.  We’ll be running 7 platoons on this inaugural run as you may have noted on the SandBox Route Contact List.  There, you can also view the Platoon Leadership assignments.  Please reply to G-Rex with your preference for Platoon Assignment if you have one.  We’re working toward pre-coordinating Platoon assignments and other administrative aspects of the Route as best we can to mitigate time constraints after we arrive in DC prior to departure.

Final Comments

The Christmas and New Year holidays almost always provide opportunity for a joyous time spent with family and friends.  Almost always…  As we all know, the Middle East Conflicts continue and many of our best and brightest are standing the watch, every day and every hour.  As you give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy in this great nation, please remember to also give thanks for the service member who is sacrificing time with family to stand that watch.

Merry Christmas Gonzo!

WALL–2–WALL!

Bugs out!

Very best regards,
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
SandBox Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII
bugs@rftw.us

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator

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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – SPECIAL REGISTRATION EDITION #3 – 08 NOV 2019

Greetings from Texas!

The open registration period on Tuesday night commenced on time and filled within an hour. Thank you all for your enthusiasm for joining the SandBox Route. I know that there are many who were unable to get in. Although Tuesday was the last registration period that will be scheduled, there is still a chance that we can include others who wish to join.

There remains six months of planning and preparation time prior to our Kick Stands Up in DC on Sunday, 24 MAY 2020. Unfortunately some folks will inevitably and reluctantly have to withdraw from the Route before we roll. So that we can keep the available slots filled up until that day, I am establishing a STANDBY REGISTRATION LIST for those who would still like to participate. To make this work, we’ll need our family of SandBox riders to honestly assess their intentions to ride if participation becomes questionable. If you are registered for the SandBox Route and find it necessary to withdraw from the Route, please contact me at SB-Registration@rftw.us or the registrar at registration@rftw.us as soon as you can. With limited slots available, a NO-SHOW on SandBox Route means someone else will be prevented from participating.

STANDBY REGISTRATION LIST

NOTE: This process is ONLY for those NOT currently registered on the SandBox Route into Marseilles.
To be listed on the Standby Registration List, please do the following:

    1. Compose an e-mail with the Subject Line: “SandBox Standby Registration Request
    2. In the e-mail, please provide the following:
      1. Your Name
      2. Confirm that you are registered & paid on Central, Southern or Midway Route into DC.
      3. Confirm that you are a Motorcycle/Trike/CanAm Rider (not a passenger)
      4. If applicable, provide the name of a passenger (also registered) who will be riding with you, they can be added with you.
    3. Send the message to SB-Registration@rftw.us

The Standby Registration List will be established with precedence in the order of messages received at the address noted in step 3 above only. As spots open, your registration will be manually modified with a “Ride-to” of Marseilles and you will be notified with an updated Registration Confirmation E-mail.

SANDBOX REGISTRATION GIFTING

I have had several folks tell me that we should ensure our Middle East Conflict Warriors and their affected family members are well represented on the SandBox Route. I couldn’t agree more. However, a great contributor to the success of our mission is the person to person relationships established along the way and I believe we need a healthy mix of all our family members from all conflict era’s to build those relationships on this new Route. That being said, there have also been a few requests concerning gifting a registration to another person, specifically to a Middle East Conflict affected person. Your SandBox Route Leadership Team is in contact with many of these people and can make that happen if you so choose. This wouldn’t necessarily mean that you pay for their registration, just that you relinquish your spot on the SandBox Route, DC to Marseilles only. This same process will be open for donation to others besides MEC affected people if that is your preference – there is no intention of making this a restricted process. To coordinate a donation or for more detailed information on how we can make this happen, please contact me.

Finally, coordinating these self-imposed registration limitations has been a challenging but necessary task as discussed many times before. While I have made every effort to provide background and details of the process, I know that many folks still found it confusing and often frustrating to say the least. With the completion of this Special Registration Edition #3 Newsletter, I intend to focus on the operational planning aspects of the tasks ahead to ensure our Mission receives the full attention it deserves.

As always, any questions or comments about these topics or others related to the SandBox Route may be addressed directly to me at the e-mail shown below.

WALL–2–WALL!

Bugs out!

Very best regards,
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
SandBox Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII
bugs@rftw.us

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator

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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – SPECIAL REGISTRATION EDITION #2 – 05 NOV 2019

Greetings from Texas!

The e-mail registration period closed Sunday night with new riders added to the SandBox Route.

The Open Registration Period will begin tonight at 7:00pm (Central Time) sharp and will close when the target number of additional riders is reached.

Leading into tonight’s registration period, following are a few notes and instructions.  Please read carefully to help make your registration successful…

1.  Tonight’s Registration Period is intended only for those who are NOT already registered for the SandBox Route into Marseilles. If you already registered for the SandBox Route with a “Ride-To” of Marseilles, Illinois, then you are good to go with no further action required.  To confirm you are registered, review your registration confirmation e-mail under the “Ride-to” section and look for “Marseilles – MUST Pay Now”.  If it says anything else, you are NOT registered for SandBox Route.

2. VERY IMPORTANT: This Registration Period is intended FOR PLATOON RIDERS ONLY.  If you are currently assigned to a Leadership Team but have not yet registered, contact your Team Leader for instructions on how to register using a separate process.  Registering tonight as a Platoon Rider will remove you from Leadership Teams.

3.  REGISTRATION PROCESS: The “SandBox Route” will not be a listed Route Option.  You should register for your preference of the original three routes with a “Ride-to” of Marseilles.  If you plan to ride only the SandBox Route portion from DC to Marseilles, still select one of the original three routes for registration with a “Sign-in” of Washington and a “Ride-to” of Marseilles.

With the current level of interest in SandBox registration, I expect the remaining available slots will fill up quickly.  Your attention to detail to ensure you have filled out all the required information and made the correct selections on the first attempt for registration tonight will increase your chances of successfully registering onto the SandBox Route.

Once again, thank you for your patience and for helping make this inaugural SandBox Route a great success!

WALL–2–WALL!

Bugs out!

Very best regards,
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
SandBox Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator

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SandBox RC Newsletter – SPECIAL REGISTRATION EDITION – 22 OCT 2019

Greetings from Texas!

Detailed planning for SandBox Route #1 is well underway and the pieces are coming together.  As I mentioned on the last newsletter, I intend to open registration again for a limited run and I believe that we are now ready to do so.  There remains a great deal of interest from folks who were unable to register, and we will do our best to make this registration period as fair as possible.  With that in mind, there will be two paths to registration as described below.

 

UPDATE NOTE: This 2nd Registration Period is intended only for those who are NOT already registered for the SandBox Route into Marseilles. If you already registered for the SandBox Route with a “Ride-To” of Marseilles, Illinois, then you are good to go with no further action required.  To confirm you are registered, review your registration confirmation e-mail under the “Ride-to” section and look for “Marseilles – MUST Pay Now”.  If it says anything else, you are NOT registered for SandBox Route.

 

PLEASE NOTE:  THESE PROCESSES ARE FOR PLATOON RIDERS ONLY.  If you are currently assigned to a Leadership Team but have not yet registered, contact your Team Leader for registration instructions.

 

For those already registered  for Central, Southern or Midway Routes with a “Ride-to” into DC AND have already paid as of 21 OCT 2019:

  1. Compose an e-mail with the Subject Line: “SandBox 2nd Registration”
  2. In the e-mail, please provide the following:
    1.  Name
    2. Registered Route
    3. Registration Date (the date on which you registered on line)
    4. Confirm that you are a Motorcycle/Trike/CanAm Rider (not a passenger)
    5. Confirm that you are registered into DC.
    6. Confirm that you have already pre-paid your registration
  3. Send the message to SB-Registration@rftw.us
  4. Message must be received by midnight central time on 03 NOV 2019 to be considered.
  5. Applicants who meet the criteria above will be manually registered onto SandBox Route in the order in which the messages were received.
  6. NOTES:
    1. Only those registered as of 21 OCT 2019 AND that have already paid for registration are eligible to apply for this registration method.
    2. Both these items will be confirmed on RFTW registration rolls prior to extending your registration onto SandBox.
    3. If you have a Motorcycle Passenger registered to ride with you, please note their name in the message and their registration will be adjusted with yours.
    4. Please also note that meeting the criteria noted above does not guarantee SandBox Route registration if the available spots are filled before your message is received.

 

For those currently not registered for any Route or who have not paid for their registration:

  • Open registration will commence precisely at 7:00 pm Central Time on Tuesday evening, 05 NOVEMBER 2019.
  • This registration will be via the normal online registration at rftw.us
  • Registration will once again close as soon as the number of available spots has been filled
  • Note: The number of spots is based only on the number of registered bikes.  Motorcycle Passengers registering will not count against the number of available spots.

 

These are two separate groups of open spots, so filling the first one will not eat into the second one.

Please follow the instructions carefully or your application may be missed.

Thank you for your patience and for helping make this inaugural SandBox Route a great success!

WALL–2–WALL!

Bugs out!

Very best regards,
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
SandBox Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator

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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – September 2019

Howdy from Texas!

The SandBox Route is alive and moving forward!  Following the resignation of Marcell “Senior” Miller, the RFTW Board of Directors has confirmed me as your SandBox Route Coordinator.  Before proceeding here, I would like to express sincere gratitude to Senior and the SandBox Leadership team that planned and conducted the Recon Route and have gotten us to this point.  Although there has been some flux in the path, I am very positive about where the SandBox Route is going and how we’re going to get there.  With this newsletter, I intend to provide insight to where we are and what to expect as we proceed towards May.

ROUTE COORDINATION

Every new RC takes a critical look at how the last Route was organized and executed with an eye toward improved efficiency and effectiveness.  For the SandBox Route, that means converting the experiences from the limited execution of the Recon to a full up Route intended to provide safe and successful passage for our riders.  With the lessons learned from the Recon and the valuable experience of many that have made the other Routes so successful, we are moving forward to grow the SandBox Route at a sustainable pace without overwhelming our benefactors along the way during our first Run next May.  Here I will address some topics about which many have been asking…

The Mission & The Objective

The fourfold Mission of Run For The Wall is the same for all four routes.  As RC for the SandBox Route, I embrace that Mission and will work toward the execution of its tenants every day leading up to and throughout the Run itself.  However, the SandBox Route also embraces a unique specified objective to reach out for and show support to our Middle East Conflict era veterans by developing and promoting a path to healing.   Over the past 31 years RFTW has enjoyed great success on this Mission of support for Veterans and Families from all services and conflicts.  Although the objective is clear, it is essential that we include ALL era veterans and supporters on the SandBox Route as we endeavor to pass the torch of service and support to those who will ultimately lead this entire Mission into the future.  For that is also an objective of all the Routes – plan for and follow a path that will Continue the Mission beyond that time which those of us here now can see.

Growth of the Route

RFTW XXXI had the largest number of people ever registered for all three of the CA to DC routes.  Some were concerned that our supporters would be overly burdened by those numbers, but would still do whatever was needed to provide for the Mission.  Our supporters on the SandBox Recon got a taste of the task ahead with a small group and did a great job ensuring the Riders were given the provisions necessary to continue.  Now it is time to grow, but we must do it in a way that ensures sustainable progress and a positive development toward the objective of reaching and supporting more of our recent era veterans.  To support that future growth, the SandBox Route must not explode onto the scene with an overwhelming legion of riders.  There is great interest and expectation for this Route and a great number of people wish to be a part of it.  Unfortunately, just like on Recon we will not be able to bring along everyone who wants to participate this year.  Please understand that none of us wants to keep anyone away – we ask that you keep in mind the Mission and the Objective and do what you can to support the long term success of both in whatever way you are able.

Route Selection

Recurring themes across the After Action Reports (AAR’s) from the Recon Route included issues concerning condition of the roadway, fuel stop pump availability, and restroom availability.  There were other important issues, but these three are directly addressed by Route and Stop selection.  Over this past weekend, our Road Guard Captain, Don “10-A-See” King rode from DC to Marseilles, Illinois in search of a more suitable route and fuel/rest stops with the capacity to accommodate our passage.  His preliminary report is that the trip was a great success as he also met with many of our State Coordinators along the way to solidify expectations for further support and coordination.  I look forward to receiving his full report very soon as we continue to plan the route ahead.

Registration

As many of you have already seen, Registration for the SandBox Route is closed having reached current available capacity as noted above.  As our Route and Supporter capacity becomes firm, we may be able to open registration for a limited number of additional riders.  Should that happen, an announcement will be made well in advance with a specified date and time for registration opening and it will close again after the new capacity is reached.

Also, I have been contacted by several people who mentioned that they were registered for SandBox who are not showing on the list.  Please review your confirmation e-mail under the “Ride-to” section and look for “Marseilles – MUST Pay Now”.  If it says anything else, you are not registered for SandBox Route.

Wrap-up

Our RFTW Family is made up of the most caring and patriotic people you could possibly imagine.  Your continuing dedication to the Mission has been unwavering for over 31 years and has only grown stronger since the start.  Your acceptance and support for the addition of the SandBox Route proves that the Mission is timeless, and that we are preparing a path to long term continued success.  I can’t tell you how many people have told me they will serve in whatever capacity they are needed.  As we work toward a sustainable incremental growth of this new Route, the service needed from many people will be that of enthusiastic supporter.  Ray “Ghost Rider” Wyatt’s Southern Route RC motto from 2017 is particularly fitting here: “Mission > Self”.  In whatever capacity you serve the Mission, you will be part of it, and we need the entire Family to come together if we are to successfully reach and support the people who need it the most.

WALL – to – WALL!

Bugs out!

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap

SandBox Route Coordinator

Run For The Wall XXXII

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Southern Route Coordinator – Bugs’ LAST Newsletter (JUN’19)

RFTW SR RC Newsletter – June 2019 – RFTW XXXI Wrap-up

Greetings from Weatherford, Texas!

When we gathered in Parking Lot D in Ontario, I remember speaking of how quickly the next 10 days would pass and how we should embrace and savor the time we have with each other on the Run. Well not only did those days fly by, now looking back over the past 12 months I see a whirlwind of scenes in my mind as the days, weeks and months were spent in joyful preparation and anticipation of those 10 days. And those 10 days were the experience of a lifetime! It has been a great honor and a truly humbling experience to serve as your Southern Route Coordinator. The timing for me was perfect as I transitioned out of active service retiring from the Navy Reserve last July and was able to roll into service to my Veteran Community and Family through this great organization. Now it is time to take the next step and hand over the lead…

I am very proud to announce that the RFTW Board of Directors has now confirmed your next Southern Route Coordinator…

Bob “Captain America” Nelson

Bob served as the Assistant Route Coordinator for RFTW XXXI and was right up front with me for every aspect of planning for that Run. He is assembling a Leadership team that will review the great successes and the “others” to improve on our mission capabilities and the support to our riders. Bob is a very experienced RFTW Rider and a very capable leader in whose care I will confidently hand the reigns of command for the Southern Route.

In closing, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers who selflessly gave of their time, effort, talent and treasure to make the Southern Route of RFTW XXXI such an overwhelming success. I may have had the privilege of riding at the front, but all of you led the pack with your caring and generosity that touched so many lives along the way. TOGETHER WE made a difference. As I have said before, the success of our mission may be measured in the way we make a difference for the people we meet. This is why WE RIDE.

Regardless of the separation we experience before the next Run, all roads are connected. So, wherever you are now and always…

TOGETHER WE RIDE!

I look forward to seeing you all again soon, somewhere down the road…

Bugs out!

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap

Southern Route Coordinator

Run For The Wall XXXI

 

Is it May yet?

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Southern Route Coordinator News – April 2019 – It’s almost MAY Edition!

Howdy from Weatherford, TEXAS!

Today we are less than 4 weeks away from KSU! Through the past 11 months of hard work and preparation, your leadership team has ensured the plans for Southern Route have been set, checked and re-checked. In this last month, they are taking the opportunity to make small adjustments and improvements that will pay off for us all on the Run next month.

Last month’s message was all about getting ready. I won’t repeat those lines here, but I do want to STRONGLY EMPHASIZE the part about having ALL your registration paperwork available in hand when you check in – especially if you are planning to check in with minors!

Our 11th Platoon Leader, Angie “Den Mother” Uhler wrote a great Facebook Article about many preparation tasks including bike preparation and packing/repacking to ensure you can actually carry all that you may need. She also presented a great suggestion that Riders print out the Emergency Medical Form and fill it out prior to arrival to ensure it is correct, complete, legible and ready to go in your lanyard pouch. You can find that form at the following link on our web site: “https://rftw.us/emergency-information-form-2”.

So with this month’s message, I’m not going to dive further into the minute details of what everyone needs to do to get their bikes and themselves ready for the Run. There are dozens of those messages out there already. I want to spend this last Newsletter focusing on why we ride…

While producing this year’s Southern Route video, I was moved by thoughts of experiences on the Run, conversations with Gunny about the early days and conversations with my mentors about finding the focus of the Mission. Seeing Gunny’s 1989 interview video brought all those things into clear view, and that focus was made stronger than ever. It’s something about which I’ve written often as a continuous underlying theme of why we do what we do. It’s about people – our family. Family by blood, family by oath, family by service, family by shared adversity, extended family, our family’s family, our missing family, our lost family. Our family that loves deeply, supports courageously, defends honorably, gives generously and prays incessantly. That’s why when Gunny mentions LtCol Higgins or Col Shelton and asks “Where are they?” it doesn’t matter that you don’t know them – because you know them. They are family and we don’t leave family to suffer at the hands of those we know seek to do them harm. After the disappearance of loved ones, we don’t leave family alone to wonder, “Where are they?” We don’t leave our active service members to wonder if their sacrifice is worth the cost. And we don’t leave our honored service members returning from the life changing experience of combat to deal with the healing without the support. Those are the applications of our mission statement and when we ride for those who can’t, THIS is why we ride.

 As I’ve said before, we all have stories about what brought us to the Run and the strong urge to reconnect with our family is what brings us back. While we’re all together for this glorious 10 days of reunion, remembrance and renewal, I urge everyone to savor every moment, because you all know it will pass much too quickly.

For all those who have gone before, those with us now and those who would be here if they could…

TOGETHER WE can make a difference! This is why WE RIDE!  

 

IS IT MAY YET?

Very best regards,

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap

Southern Route Coordinator

Run For The Wall XXXI

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RFTW SR RC Newsletter – March 2019 – Ides of March Edition

Howdy from Weatherford, TEXAS!

It’s just 60 days and a wake-up before we are KSU on RFTW XXXI! Are you ready? While we still have time, here are a few important issues that should catch your attention…

Registration on line – Some people like to wait till it’s closer to the event, but keep in mind that the $30 fee goes up to $50 at midnight on April 30th.

Check-in to the Run – When you check in at Ontario or at any location after that, you MUST HAVE ALL YOUR PAPERWORK available for the registration team to review. That means current Driver’s License, Registration, Insurance, etc. If you don’t, then you won’t be checked in and you won’t get an arm band or handlebar ribbon.

Minors on the Run – Read the Minor Registration Policy very carefully and comply to the letter or that minor will not be checked in on the Run. Keep in mind that the Policy may require notarization of the Minor Release Form – if required by the policy, that notarization cannot be waived.

RAFFLE ROUSER – We still need a Raffle Rouser for the Southern Route – it’s the last open job on the roster. There are some very impressive items for the Raffle this year – if you’d like to be a part of the fundraising process and get more involved in the workings of the Run, this may be the step you’re looking for. It’s a great way to meet EVERYONE on the Southern Route!

Mechanical Condition – Be sure your bike is in good condition for a 3000 mile ride. Tires, oil change, scheduled servicing will all be available somewhere along the way but doing it during the 10 days of the Run will take away valuable time you would otherwise have available for the Mission.

Physical Condition – The Run always includes long, hot, cold, dry, wet, misty, enjoyable days on the road. Be sure that your mortal engine is ready for the long haul as well. Some people start hydrating early so they get used to holding more water – your choice, but be prepared to drink a lot of water along the way!

Mental Condition – I’ve written a lot about PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. Keeping that in mind, we all bring our own ideas and expectations for what the Run will mean to us and what we would like to get out of it. Be positive, talk positive and share positive with others. For me, this positively incredible event is a 10 day family reunion with a purpose and a Mission Statement of Healing, Accounting, Honor and Support and I have high expectations!

A pastor once told me the key to success for an organization is relationships. That translates to people. Some of us have close relationships with our bikes (OK, understandable) but the relationships we have with the people of our Run family is what makes us – what makes Run For The Wall – a lasting and effective organization. It takes all of us with the diversity of our abilities and talents to touch on the various tenets of our Mission Statement. To mention a few, I think of Jerry “Partner” Plent and M25’s work to watch the overall physical, emotional and spiritual well being of our riders to promote a healing environment. I think of Gunny’s words from the 1989 1st Run video interview to call for accounting, naming names and asking “Where the #&!% are they?” I think of Joe “Gump” Hudson’s work as our Missing Man Coordinator and the memorial visits to honor the memory of fallen soldiers. I think of Karoni “Hoops” Forrester and her dedication to family visits in support of our past and present military personnel. Whatever your abilities and talents, there is someone on this Run for whom you will be the face of the Mission. That same pastor I mentioned above reminded me that sometimes you minister, and sometimes you are ministered to. I believe that we all get a little of both on this pilgrimage – to heal and be healed. That’s what a family does…

TOGETHER WE make this Run more valuable than the sum of our separate efforts could ever be. TOGETHER WE execute all aspects of this Mission and touch the hearts and minds of Patriotic Americans across this great land. “TOGETHER WE” depends on all of us planning ahead to complete all aspects of preparation from paperwork to mental readiness as we come together in May to RIDE FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T!

So I ask again… Are you ready?

TOGETHER WE RIDE!

Very best regards,

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap

Southern Route Coordinator

Run For The Wall XXXI

 

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RFTW SR RC Newsletter – 25 FEBRUARY 2019

URGENT – SR DAY 4 LODGING ISSUE

99 Southern Route Riders,

I have heard and provided alternate lodging info to about 90% of the folks who lost rooms at the Comfort Suites in Grand Prairie.  As promised a week ago today, below is the info that was provided to those who contacted me…

La Quinta Inn, 2131 W. Interstate 20, Grand Prairie, Tx   214-412-3220

25 rooms at $99.00/night + tax

Heritage Inn, 2615 Outlet Pkwy, Grand Prairie, Tx  972-623-1998

15 rooms at $69.00/night + tax

I was told that the La Quinta may be full now, but it has not been confirmed.

Big THANK YOU to our North Texas State Coordinator, Mary Anne Hand for acting quickly to secure group rates for alternate lodging when we found that our Host Hotel was cancelling rooms.

TOGETHER WE RIDE!

Best regards,

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap

Southern Route Coordinator

Run For The Wall XXXI