Posted on Leave a comment

Homes For Our Troops Presentation – July 9th!

President's Message

ATTENTION RIDERS!

As most of you are aware, Run For The Wall, in partnership with Operation Family Fund, recently donated $100,000 to Homes For Our Troops. HFOT provides custom built homes to severely wounded service members. These homes are constructed and specially adapted to these heroes’ specific individual needs.

On July 9, 2022, Homes For Our Troops will present Lance Corporal (L/Cpl.) Kevin Honaker, USMC (Ret.) with the keys to his brand new home in Sparta, Tennessee. We hope to have a large RFTW presence at this event. The plan is to have riders assemble in nearby Cookeville, TN (one of our regular Midway Route stops) the morning of the 9th and ride to Sparta in typical RFTW formation, where we will meet L/Cpl. Honaker and escort him to the site of his new home for the “Key Ceremony.”

For those who wish to gather in Cookeville the evening before, Ron King will arrange a special RFTW rate at the Country Inn & Suites there.

Reservation information is as follows:
Country Inn & Suites
1151 S. Jefferson
Cookeville, TN 38506
Phone: 931-525-6668
*Ask for the “Run For The Wall Rate” when making reservations.

I realize that this is short notice, but we’d like to get as many riders as we can to participate in this worthy event. Come witness RFTW’s Benevolence Program in action and meet L/Cpl. Honaker.

Respectfully,
Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

NOTE: A detailed itinerary/schedule of events will be published on the RFTW website shortly.

Posted on Leave a comment

RFTW Board of Directors Announcement

President's Message

Dear Friends and Fellow Riders,

Three members of the Run For The Wall Board of Directors will be leaving at the end of this term on June 30th. In addition to me, Jim “Ancient 6” Marshall and Nick “Rich Boy” Hentges are leaving. I want to personally thank Jim and Nick for their outstanding service to the Run and to our ridership.

I’m pleased to announce the following changes and additions to the BoD, effective July 1, 2022:

Ron “Sky” King, our current Director of Risk Management/Registration, will assume his duties as Board President.

John “Turkey” Staub, currently Director of Operations, will become the Vice President & Chairman.

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap, Bob “Captain America” Nelson, and Don “Bullet” Pierce have been elected to fill the three vacancies. Their specific Board assignments will be determined at a later date.

On a personal note, it has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve the Board, and the Run, these past six years, especially my four years as Chairman and this final year as President. I will miss the Board, but I leave with absolute confidence that YOUR Run For The Wall is in the best possible hands.

Semper Fi! Is it May, yet?

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
2016 RFTW Central Route Coordinator
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

Posted on Leave a comment

The End of an ERA – When One Door Closes, Another Opens

President's Message

My friends and fellow RFTW riders:

I have some sad news that will alter one of our most cherished RFTW activities in the D.C. Metro area. Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) cancelled all wreath laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier over the 2022 Memorial Day weekend. In February, ANC leadership decided instead to host an annual Public Flower Ceremony over the Memorial Day weekend. As of this message, ANC has not published the dates and times for the ceremony.

RFTW Wreath Laying

Last November during a Centennial Commemoration event, and for the first time in nearly 100 years, the public was able to walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier plaza to lay single-stemmed flowers in front of the Tomb and personally pay their respects to the Unknown Soldiers. More than 13,000 individuals registered to attend the two-day event. Our own D.C. Coordinator, Gail Dippel, participated on behalf of Run For The Wall and was moved by the attendance and support for the commemoration. The public response was so overwhelmingly positive that ANC decided to make it an annual event for Memorial Day weekend.

We will keep you updated about the Memorial Day Public Flower Ceremony and provide details for riders to individually schedule a block of time to participate in this honored event. Please be patient.

The closing of this door represents the end of a proud and honored tradition for RFTW, but opens another door for riders to individually honor and remember our fallen brothers and sisters by laying their own flowers at the Tomb. Hopefully, this will give everyone a greater sense of personal involvement in our remembrance.

We Ride For Those Who Can’t.

Respectfully,

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

Posted on Leave a comment

We’re Going to D.C. in May!

President's Message

Greetings from the Lone Star State. We just concluded our Face-To-Face Board of Directors meeting in Dallas and I am delighted to announce that we are in unanimous agreement:

We’re Going to D.C. in May!

With the lessening of COVID-19 restrictions across the country we see no reason why the 2022 Run For The Wall should not proceed as planned. Our State Coordinators have been busy making preparations and arranging for support all along our routes and We. Are. Ready!

I know many of you have held off registering for this year’s Run because of your disappointments from the past two years. Now is the time to get registered. Just go to our website, rftw.us , and follow the simple procedures. This is critical… we need to get accurate numbers as early as possible so our supporters across this great land know how many riders to expect, how much food to prepare, etc.  We also encourage you to visit the store on our website and get your RFTW XXXII gear now and beat the rush in Ontario.

It’s been a tough two years, with all of us suffering badly from ride deprivation, but we can once again ask…

How far are we going?
ALL THE WAY!!

Respectfully,

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
2016 Central Route Coordinator
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

Posted on Leave a comment

The Board of Directors is Looking For A Few Good Patriots

President's Message

The RFTW Board of Directors consists of nine members, each of whom serves a three-year term. We try very hard to keep the year-groups balanced, which means that every year we must fill three seats, and 2022 is no exception.

Our ridership has a great many talented people who actively look for ways to serve Run For The Wall. The Board of Directors is the pinnacle of the service pyramid, as our members directly affect all aspects of the Run and its mission.

There are no formal prerequisites to join the BoD. Anyone may apply, but as is the case with any selection process, knowledge and experience are key to being successful. We look for candidates who have several years of experience riding with RFTW and who have held leadership and/or service positions on their respective routes.

The application process is very straightforward. Simply prepare a “resume” in two parts. First, briefly tell us about yourself and your work history. We are particularly interested in your military service, if any, and an overview of your career, with particular emphasis on positions where you exercised leadership and/or management level responsibilities. The second part should detail your RFTW experiences. This would include the number of years you’ve ridden with RFTW, which route(s) you’ve ridden with, the number of times you’ve gone “All The Way,” and most importantly, what jobs you’ve held on the Run. Since the reputation you’ve built on the Run is often a determining factor in selection to the Board, feel free to ask Team Leaders, former Route Coordinators, and others to forward letters of recommendation on your behalf if you wish. Send your resume to our Chairman, Jim Marshall, at jim.marshall@rftw.us by April 30th.

All of us have thought, at one time or another, “If only I was in charge, I’d sure do things differently!” Well, here’s your chance. Decisions are made by those who step up. Will YOU be one of them? I hope so.

Respectfully,

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

Posted on Leave a comment

Holiday Greetings from Run for the Wall + Update on RFTW 2022

Happy Holidays

December 12, 2021

Dear Fellow Riders and Friends,

Greetings from beautiful Colorado. I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everybody in our RFTW family joyous holidays, good health, and a blessed New Year.

Many of us on the Board of Directors have received inquiries from anxious riders about the status of Run for the Wall XXXII in 2022. Apparently, rumors are running rampant, so please let me set the record straight.

We are proceeding on the assumption that we will conduct our Run in May as we always have… from Southern California to Washington, D.C. by three routes, and from D.C. to Marseilles, IL via the Sandbox Route. The Route Coordinators of all four routes, along with their respective State Coordinators, are hard at work getting their plans and logistical support in place as usual. As in previous years, we plan to publish the hotel list on January 1st, and registration for RFTW XXXII is up and running now.

The “rumor mill” always seems to take on a life of its own, but factual information is literally at your fingertips. Our website ( rftw.us ) has all the current information. If there are any changes to our planned Run, you will find it there first. Also, your individual Route Coordinators are putting out their newsletters on a frequent basis. I urge you to rely on these sources for your information… it isn’t “official” unless you read it there.

Take care and be well. Is it May yet?

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
“Freedom Isn’t Free”