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Nancy “Miss America” Schwartz

Name: Nancy Schwartz

Road Name:  Miss America (given to me by Jarrod Gerbitz)

FNG Year:   2018

How many times have you been All the Way? Once

And how many times have you been a Participant? Once, from Corydon, IN         

On which Route do you ride?  Central

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?  Like others that have been writing their stories, there are so many. First, in our FNG year, we were honored to ride the Missing Man Formation in remembrance of our friend’s son Pfc Nils Thompson. Second is participating in the Circle Dance with our brothers and sisters of the Black Creek Gourd Society. It is the “Gathering of Veterans” ceremony in Gallup, New Mexico. Third, would be visiting the Angel Fire Vietnam Veterans memorial a very spiritual and moving place.

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run? No

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? I am not a veteran. My Father served in WWII, his brother in the Korean War, and members of my Father’s family that have been in the military back to the Revolutionary War.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No. My best friend is a Gold Star Mother

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? The Mission Statement says it all,  “To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world.”

What brought you back? The feeling that we ARE making a difference by promoting healing, calling for the accounting of all POW/MIA, honoring the memory of those we have lost, and supporting our military. Visiting VA hospitals, memorials, and talking to those in the towns we stop in that support us has moved me to tears. Also, seeing the Patriots on the highway overpasses saluting us, waving flags, and standing in bad weather at times yet they are always there. Getting back in with Platoon 9, shout out to Squid and Pops.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? Yes, many times, when I rode my own motorcycle. I rode with my husband in 2019.

 Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)?     It is still undecided.

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE”.  I ride for Nils my friend’s son that was killed in 2005 in Mosul, Iraq. We always visit his grave in Arlington for Memorial Day. I ride for those in our RFTW family that have a family member that is still a POW/MIA/KIA. I ride for the 22 a day that we lose to suicide. Witnessing the healing of our Vietnam Veteran brothers and give them the Welcome Home that is long overdue. Lastly, to see the joy of the children when we arrive at Rainelle, W VA Elementary School, getting the hugs is so very heartwarming.

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February 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Greetings from The San Bernardino National Forest!

I returned from our “Face-to-Face” Board of Directors Meeting in Dallas, Texas, last week, where a number of items were brought to my attention. One of the topics of discussion concerns those riders who bring their dogs. Because there were dogs running loose last year, the BOD instituted a rule stating that all dogs must be on leash at all times. I hope this says enough about this topic.  I wouldn’t want any innocent dog (be it service, comfort, or other) to be sent home because his or her owner can’t abide by this edict.

Another change for this year involves our arrival in Arlington, Virginia, at the Holiday Inn. Due to limited parking space at the hotel, riders from all three routes are instructed to stay on their bikes. Those who have reservations at the Holiday Inn will be directed to the underground parking lot. Those who are staying at other hotels will be directed back onto the street to go to their respective hotels. This is all in an effort to avoid the problems we’ve had in past years.

As most of you are aware, 2019 was Rolling Thunder’s last year.  AMVETS will be hosting 2020’s Memorial Day Weekend Demonstration Ride named Rolling to Remember.  ( https://www.rollingtoremember.com/ ) As of this writing, we have no detailed information about any RFTW involvement. Those of you who are planning to ride the Sand Box Route know that both events commence on Sunday.

The following information should be of concern to all our riders who plan to camp along the way. We are still looking for a Camping Coordinator. We are in need of an experienced rider who has camped with us enough to advise others about conditions in various campgrounds. For this valuable service, our Assistant Route Coordinator, Bruce Bartolomeo, has promised to donate half his RFTW salary. Please give him a call if you’d like to take advantage of his generous offer.

If you’ve been on the run for a number of years, and would like to take a leadership position to help guide our RFTW organization, there are three Board of Director positions opening up this summer.  To apply, submit your resume to Dave Klemme (Papa Smurf) at dave.klemme@rftw.us No Later than 31 March.

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Your name Here!

Last item: What is the condition of YOUR motorcycle? I know some of you, like Barry, Bruce, Nick, and Mike have purchased new motorcycles for our 2020 run. But the rest of us need to make sure that we get our bikes into the shop to make sure they’re in top condition for 6000+ mile mission.  I trust you are all still working on your own personal health care goals, and will also be in your top condition by the time May arrives.

Richboy’s Bike. First Run was 2019.

Ride safely,
Tom (Boomps) Miller
Run for the Wall
Central Route Coordinator 2020

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Board of Directors Openings

The RFTW Board of Directors is soliciting applications from riders interested in serving on the Board. There will be three (3) vacancies on July 1st, 2020 due to term limits.  The positions being vacated are Treasurer, Director of Merchandise, and Director of Operations & Training.  Because sitting members have the option of moving into vacant seats, these may not be the same positions being filled.

Anyone is eligible to apply, but it should be understood that the Board places a high priority on experience and past service to the Run in leadership and service positions when evaluating candidates.

If you would like to apply for a position on the Board of Directors, please submit a resume with an overview of your work history and a detailed recounting of your RFTW experience, including your FNG year, the number of times you’ve ridden with RFTW (both as a Participant and ATW), which route(s) you’ve ridden, and what leadership or service positions you’ve held.  We also ask that you submit a short cover letter explaining why you wish to join the Board.  Please send these to dave.klemme@rftw.us by March 31st, 2020.

We hope to hear from you. Remember… decisions are made by those who step up.

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Your Name Here
Open Positions
RFTW is looking for a few good people to fill expiring terms. If interested, please submit your resume to one of the current board members.

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Kevin “SPEEDBUMP” Bowman

Name: Kevin Bowman

Road Name: Speed Bump

FNG Year: 2016

How many All the Way/Participant? 4

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? My favorite memory… wow…My favorite memory would have to be how I have come to know so many of the RFTW participants! My FNG years was a very tough year. My buddy Edwin and I both went down in an accident just outside of Topeka KS. We licked our wounds for a couple days trying to sort out our bikes. Once we figured out a plan for the Bikes, we rented a car and drove almost 24 hours straight to catch up with the Pack. It was very important to Edwin and I to continue the Mission! We caught up with the Pack and ran ahead to watch everyone come into Rainelle WV to the School. The warm welcome and the amazement that we got from everyone in our Platoon was overwhelming! I was right then and there, given a Patch with my road name on it…. Speed Bump!! I couldn’t believe they had already had a patch made! Edwin and I followed the Pack the remaining 2 days of the Run, on into Washington DC! What was even more amazing is on Saturday Morning, Terry and Christy Ray (Some VERY Amazing People in the Trike Platoon) had found a couple of Trike Riders that were willing to let Edwin and I ride as Co-Riders into Arlington for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. So, Edwin and I both were able to COMPLETE THE MISSION!!!

The patch!!!!
Kevin and Edwin with Tigger After Catching up with the pack

Positions held as a volunteer on the Run? Assistant Platoon Leader 2019, Platoon Leader for 2020

Military Background if any or relationships with Military? I was not in the Military. My Father in Law was/is a Retired Senior Master Sargent in the Air Force…. I worked at Sheppard Air Force Base from 1977 until 1989 and then moved to Arizona in January 1990 and worked at Williams Air Force Base from Jan 1990 until October 1991. Government shut the best weather Flight Training Base in the country down for budget cuts. I got to work with some incredible retired Air Force Aircraft Mechanics for 14 years!! I was a T37 and T38 Aircraft Mechanic for 9 of these years and I was an Instrument Flight Training Instructor for 5 years in the T38. So, I wasn’t IN the Military but man did I get to hang out with some GREAT folks!!

Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No

What got you to do the RFTW the first time? My buddy Edwin Musto from New Zealand is the guy that told me about RFTW. Edwin called one day in 2015 and said he was going to come to the US to ride in RFTW. That is how I found out about it! I did some research and WOW!!! I was IN!!

Kevin and Edwin

What brought you back? It gets in your BLOOD!

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? NO

Are you planning on Rolling to Remember (AMVETS Replacement for Rolling Thunder)? No doing Sandbox Route

Brief Synopsis of “WHY YOU RIDE” See Military Background above…I was not in the Military, but I was a snot nose 18 year old kid that got hired right out of High School to work at Sheppard Air Force Base. ALL of the guys I worked with back in 1977 were from either the Korean War or Vietnam War. Lots of these guys had seen it ALL and DONE it ALL. I loved all of the guys SO much as they taught me the value of Brotherhood, Teamwork and Friendship. I listened to their stories over and over again throughout my young adult life even though I may have heard the story 10 times before. I ride to honor all of these guys that touched my life. I was a very fortunate teenager, I had about 25 Father Figures over the 14 years at Sheppard Air Force Base!

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Todd “Killswitch” or “Slow Ride” Miller

Name: Todd Miller

Road Name: Killswitch, Slow-Ride

FNG Year: 2013

How many times have you been All the Way? None yet, I usually follow the pack from Colorado Springs and sign on in Goodland, KS. In 2017 I rode to Eagle’s Nest to join the pack. And how many times have you been a Participant? 4 (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Central Route all four times.

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? Meeting Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor recipient, in Goodland, KS. Also earning my road name got me to meet the team at Manowar HD who recharged my battery and got me back on the road in about an hour.

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  Staging Team 2015 and 2016.

A shot by a member of the Staging Team somewhere in West Virginia I think.
An Article in the Mountaineer, the Fort Carson newspaper about my ride in 2017. Photo from Robley Rex back parking lot.

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? I am currently Active Army at Special Operations Command Europe in Stuttgart, Germany.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No.

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? I had been a member of Rolling Thunder in Ohio years earlier and had sold my bike to help buy a house. When I got to where I could buy another Harley in 2012, I thought, “I wonder if anyone rides to DC from this far away?”. Then I found RFTW.

What brought you back? The experience. There is nothing like the Run. It is long and exhausting, but every morning I woke up and wanted more. It will restore your belief in the patriotism of the people of this nation when you see all the support along the way.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? Yes, first in 2003.

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember? I don’t stick around DC for Rolling Thunder ride anymore, so probably not. I get on the road to Ohio to see my grandson by Saturday afternoon anymore.

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.” My father, a Viet Nam Veteran made it back seemingly unscathed. He was there in 1968 when I was born. He never discussed what he did over there, but it bothered him a lot. When I was 19 years old, my father shot himself. That was hard to deal with for a lot of years. I attribute his suicide to demons I only learned of after his death, but I will never know why he actually did it. He is the main reason I ride, but also for my grandfather (WWII) and my great grandfather (WWI). 

Anything else to Add?  You may remember me as the guy who flew from Korea to do the Run for 2 years in a row in 2015 and 2016. 2018 and 2019 were prevented by a trip to Afghanistan. I am planning to take leave from Germany for the Run in 2021. I should make a patch for that!

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Rupert “Preacher” Harrell

Name:  Rupert Harrell

Road Name:  Preacher

FNG Year  2014

How many All the Way/Participant? 5

 Which Route (Routes)?   Central

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?  FNG year riding into Arlington National Cemetery as a Chaplain then helping veterans at the Wall.

Positions held as a volunteer on the Run?  Chaplain

Military Background if any or relationships with Military? Yes Army and family members that have served

Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Yes Uncle in Korea and Cousin in Viet Nam

What got you to do the RFTW the first time?  Chaplain Duane Gryder had been after me for sometime and I was always ministering on Memorial Day in uniform and one year I didn’t have a service and did the ride.

What brought you back?   The camaraderie and being able to minister to veterans of all wars since I have family that has fought in all wars.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder?  No

Are you planning on Rolling to Remember (AMVETS Replacement for Rolling Thunder)?  No

Brief Synopsis of “WHY YOU RIDE”  I ride because I love veterans, active duty and love ministering to them because I’ve been where they have been plus I’m the son, grandson, nephew, Dad, uncle and brother-in-law of veterans.

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Jim “JOURNEY” Dalton

Name: Jim Dalton

Road Name: Journey

FNG Year: 2019

How many times have you been All the Way?  Once, but this year its All the Way + Sandbox.       And how many times have you been a Participant? 0

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Southern Route

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? There are so many…. In 2019 I was an FNG and in Ontario I met Pam Cain. I learned about the tradition of carrying a picture and bio of a service member to the wall. I was honored to carry her father all the way, Col. Oscar Mauterer, MIA 15/2/66 Laos. Then there was the chance meeting at a lunch stop in Texas where I met Sgt. James Yettman. We started talking in the parking lot shortly after we pulled in. He told me of his support for the mission and how he and his wife come out to see us every year. He follows us on-line and tracks our progress and knows our traditions. After quite a while of visiting the Sergeant asked me if I would do him a service, He had always wanted to go to the wall and pay his respects. He knows a lot of the names on that stone. But he’s getting on in years and his health aint the best these days. He asked if I would carry his picture to the wall as a way of being with his friends. Well of course I said yes. There’s room for two pictures on my windscreen.

Sgt James Yettman

The day of the walk to the wall….wow. I met Pam at panel 5E. I touched her father’s name on line 38…. We place his picture at the base of the wall. We cried, we hugged, we cried some more. Once we had collected ourselves and dried our eyes, we smiled and propped each other up. I had made it, all the way and here I was at the wall. I was no longer an FNG. It was time for Pam to turn my pin upside down….. more tears, more hugs, you know the story. But my mission wasn’t complete. I walked around to the far side of the grass in front of the wall and found a spot with a perfect, unobstructed view that looks out across the entire wall. There on the chain that hangs from post to post and runs along the grass edge, I hung Sgt. Yettman’s picture, facing the wall.

There were many other moments along the way. Like when a member of leadership mopped me up when the two Brownies turned me into a puddle. Going with Gump on an outreach and participating in the Honor Guard at a wreath laying ceremony. And more.


Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  Not yet but this year; Fuel Team – Sandbox!

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? Senior Systems Engineer – DoD –

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? When I heard about the run I went to the website. The messaging there was all I needed to know I had to go.

What brought you back? The people. The experience. The mission.

 Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? No

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? No – Sandbox

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.” I have so much respect for those who have served in uniform. Every day I go to work to do my part in maintaining our military supremacy. To build the latest technology for the war fighter. That said, I feel like family with the whole RFTW group. Though like many families we may differ on politics or religion and such, we share more important things. A sense of duty, honor and a love for our country.

I believe in the RFTW mission. I ride for those that can’t.

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Jim “Stoney” Stone

Name: Jim Stone             

Road Name: Stoney

FNG Year: 2007

How many times have you been All the Way? 7         

And how many times have you been a Participant? 3

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Southern

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?

So many memories… 5 May 2009 flying from London to DFW I met a Flight Attendant whose brother went down 3 December 1969…. 10 May 2009 I met a Road Guard named Baron, the pilot who took Marty’s place on 4 December 1969…   Leading RFTW XXVII Southern Route and laying the Wreath at The Tomb are two of the great privileges of my life and things I shall NEVER forget

Touching Marty, RFTW XXV

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  If you have, which Positions have you held?  Road Guard, 2009 – 2014,2016 and 2020; ARC 2014 and RC 2015

The best job on the Run…Road Guard!

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military?  Navy Vet, son of a Marine (Mom) and an Army FO (Dad) Vets

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? No

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time?  Rolling Thunder XX

What brought you back?  The people and The Mission

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? 2007 and again in 2009 with my Wife and Daughter.

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? No

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.”

In April 1975 I participated with HC-1 Det 2, on board USS Midway, in Operation Frequent Wind and I have always felt we did not get all the right people out.  My first trip to The Wall was in 2000.  I bought a bracelet for Robert Alan Clark of VA-115, shot down off Midway on 10 January, 1973. 

In 2005 I was in DC and ran into a bunch of gray-haired bikers participating in Rolling Thunder, ‘A demonstration for the MIA’s…’  I bought my first Harley in 2006 with the intent of participating in RT XX with some friends from Kalifornia.  When they could not ride in 2007, I searched the Internet and found RFTW.  I sent a note to Tadpole on his day one and he asked me to meet him in Weatherford, TX… since 2007 I have only missed The Run because of Back Surgery, an unfortunate mounting mistake enroute to RFTW XXX and my daughter’s wedding in 2019!

I have ridden each year for the Vets I have met around the world who could not participate and those who are still not home.

I ride to Continue The Mission.

Charlie Mike

Stoney

RFTW XXVII Southern Route Alabama
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Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Name: Kristine Wood

Road Name: Eyes

FNG Year: 2014

How many times have you been All the Way?     7 years

And how many times have you been a Participant? All the way baby!

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? Southern Route

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory? Do I have to choose just one? It would have to be my FNG year when Gump stood up to share his story. He told this group in front of him, hundreds of Vietnam veterans, “the reason we did not leave any behind in Iraq, was because of the lessons learned in Vietnam”. You should have seen the look on these seasoned veterans faces. This young repatriated POW telling these veterans, that they changed the course of future conflicts. It was powerful!

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  If you have, which Positions have you held? 50/50 rouser, tail gunner, assistant platoon leader, platoon leader, sit-rep writer and assistant route coordinator

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? I have not personally served. My father was a World War II and Korea veteran, my brother-in-law is a Vietnam Veteran, brother was in the Air Force. I have had a relative fight in every conflict this country has ever been involved in, beginning with the revolution up to today.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Yes, blue star.

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? The opportunity to honor and serve America’s veterans.

What brought you back? The opportunity to honor and serve America’s veterans.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? Yes

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? Not sure

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.” 

I ride because my father a World War II veteran drank himself to death. He did not face the demons of PTSD and deal with his grief and loss. My brother-in-law a Vietnam Veteran is currently battling cancer from agent orange. My son-in-law served in Afghanistan as a corpsman and saw his best friend’s legs blown off from an IED. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to these veterans and thousands of others. If by being on the run, I can help ease a Veteran’s pain and help them to heal, then I will be on the run as long as I am able.

Any favorite photos you’d like to share?  Anything else to Add? I published the book Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial www.rftwthebook.com . The book contains 300 of my favorite photos, capturing the essence of the run and why riders return year after year.

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Greg “r0de_runr” Noller

Name: Gregory Noller

Road Name: r0de_runr

FNG Year: 2018

How many times have you been All the Way?  2018, upcoming 2020 w/Sandbox.

On Which Route (Routes) did you ride? ATW Midway in 2018, 2 days on Southern in 2019 and upcoming ATW SR 2020.

What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?  Being asked to fall in as a Tailgunner when my Platoon Leader needed a fill in, then that becoming an ATW event when another Tailgunner got promoted to Platoon Leader. As an FNG it was truly an honor to be asked and a special memory of successful completion.

Have you held any positions as a volunteer on the Run?  Tailgunner 3rd Plt then 6th Plt SR 2018.

Are you a Military Veteran, or do you have a military background or a relationship with a member of the Military? Retired US Army, 1971-1996. Father of an Afghanistan Vet OEF RCP 44 2012-2013 FOB Airborne.

Are you a Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Blue Star, Son-In-Law in the Air Force; Don’t know what Star color for Dad of a Combat Veteran Suicide.

Scott Noller

What inspired you to participate in the RFTW the first time? My local Combat Vets Motorcycle Association (CVMA) Det Commander (SAPPER) was a 10-year veteran of the Run, and offered to help me do my first Run. I had just lost my (veteran, police officer) son to suicide just weeks before, and my former spouse was dying of brain cancer. I had somewhat always struggled with survivor guilt after 25 years in the Army and never being shot at. My hometown high school lost three young men in Vietnam.  My brother served in Vietnam in the 196th LIB, my other brother served in Thailand during that war. I wanted to do something memorable for my son, so I decided to build a small memorial tribute and carry it from Texas to Ontario and on to Washington to place it at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Most of the nearly 2000 participants in 2018 didn’t realize they were escorting my memorial cross-country to honor my son.


What brought you back? I wanted to do it again so in 2019 I rode with Sapper just from Dallas to Meridian on the SR.  This year I want to ride ATW and include the Sandbox Route again to honor my son’s participation in that conflict.

Have you participated in Rolling Thunder? I have sat on the sidelines twice and watched (from the bridge between Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial).

Are you planning on participating in Rolling to Remember (the AMVETS event that replaces Rolling Thunder)? No, doing Sandbox.

Give us a few words about “WHY YOU RIDE.”

I ride for my Uncle Fred Noller who died on Okinawa just 5 months before the end of WWII; I ride for the three young men who went to my high school and died in Vietnam: Jim Nufer, Richard Conrardy, and Gregg Steimel; I ride for my two brothers who fought in that war and came home: Gary and Larry Noller; I ride for all the men and women who are missing or died in all of our wars; but mostly I ride for my son Scott, who can’t.

Anything else to Add?   “Stop Veteran Suicide – 22 A Day Too Many https://youtu.be/rdTurNfZcQE