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July 2021 Central Route Coordinator News

Hello Central Route Riders.
Greetings from California’s beautiful Carpinteria State Beach! I hope this finds you all healthy and well. I just returned from Denver, Colorado, where I attended an RFTW face-to-face board meeting. The good news is that preparations are well underway for all four routes for our 2022 run. This was the first meeting with five new board members. They may be new to the board, but all have been in various leadership positions on all three routes for many years.
One of the topics for discussion was a new streamlined registration that is slated to go online by 9/11/21. Keep in mind that regardless of whether you registered for the last two cancelled runs, you will still will need to register for 2021. A thirty dollar fee will be due at the time you register. Keep in mind that this fee buys a lot of meals and gas and pays for our “event” insurance. I recommend that you register as early as possible to help our state coordinators’ planning efforts. The first question every supporting organization along the way asks is how many riders we expect.
Our Angel Fire Reunion, held Labor Day weekend is fast approaching. Registration is open on the RFTW site at the following link:  https://forms.glehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfMUuBi1tpIoaCPq1yg-h-YJ6tgODgbHOoB3RqILCgCdrhqyw/viewform/lj4nkgNVfWBzFuf8
Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Saturday night dinner is paid in full! So far over 100 people have registered. We are still looking for people with brick-laying experience. If you’ve never been on the run, you are still welcome to join us. It will be a good opportunity to meet the RFTW family and to be of service to veterans. This memorial site is breathtakingly beautiful in the mountains outside of Taos. I hope to see you there.

It is with a heavy heart that I pass on the news that RFTW’s beloved chaplain, Rupert Harrell, passed away due to cancer and the effects of Agent Orange. Many of you may not know that Rupert made it his mission to work with fellow Viet Nam veterans, even escorting some back to Viet Nam to facilitate their healing. Rupert was proud of his service with the 101st Airborne, and was the recipient of two bronze starts and two purple hearts. In every sense of the word, Rupert was a true hero. He was my friend, and I will miss him.

 

Stay Safe. God Bless the United States of America.
Tom “Boomps” Miller
RFTW Central Route Coordinator
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June 2021 Central Route Coordinator News

Hello Central Route Riders.
Greetings from sunny (and HOT) Southern California!
I know that even though our 2021 ride was cancelled, many of you, including myself, were able to get a couple of weeks riding in May/ June. Six other riders and I left California on June first and headed out to Perryville, Missouri. Most of you are likely already aware that a local farmer in the area, James M. Eddleman, donated a big chunk of money and forty-seven acres of his farm to build an exact replica of the Vietnam Wall in Perryville. The organization supporting it has the mission of supporting all of our service men and women and their families, and providing an environment of peaceful reflection. Everyone in my group was impressed and moved by the patriotism we saw in Perryville. See www.mnvn.org for more information on that memorial.

Good News! Angel Fire Service Project/Reunion for 2021 is ON! Although this event is hosted by Central Route, all routes are heartily invited to participate. As in the past, this event will take place over Labor Day weekend in Angel Fire, New Mexico. Since we were not able to meet last year, we have close to 800 bricks to lay in the path to honor vets. My understanding is that we are especially in need of younger volunteers with brick-laying experience! The guys that have been doing it for the last ten years are now in their seventies and aren’t getting up and down as easily as in the old days. No offense intended, old guys! I know all too well what I’m talking about! Start studying You-Tube clips on laying bricks and bring your knee pads, level, and rubber hammer. I also want to post that Kris (Tigger) Allen has posted some information under “Regional Gatherings” on our RFTW Forum. More information will be posted as soon as it is available, including registration and itinerary.

Enjoy the rest of the summer! I will check in from my camp host site at Carpinteria State Beach when I have more information in July.

Stay Safe. God Bless the United States of America.
Tom “Boomps” Miller

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Central Route Coordinator News February 2021

Greetings! Although we are now over 40 days into 2021, we are no closer to knowing for certain whether or not we will actually be gathering in Ontario and heading east in mid-May. I have made my reservations, as I know many others have, so I get a little more optimistic each time I hear about another state opening up. As of this time, Central Route has 517 riders registered; which I believe is a record.

We want to thank all of our state coordinators for their hard work during these difficult times. Throughout the COVID situation, state coordinators have been working tirelessly with communities, veterans’ organizations, and supporting law agencies to make our RFTW 2021 actually happen. Because of the complexities involved in this year’s planning, (e.g., health and travel restrictions in most states and communities) coordinators have faced some serious challenges. Many arrangements for fuel, meals, and lodging are not yet settled.

All state coordinators are being encouraged to continually update the status of their planning efforts, confirming such things as fuel stops, lunches and dinners, and ensuring that significant lodging and camping is available for all RFTW riders.

 

This past Saturday, I had an opportunity to go to the Southwest RFTW monthly lunch held in Yerma, California, about forty miles north of Victorville on the way to Vegas. There were about fifty riders representing all four routes present, including quite a few newcomers who have been waiting over two years for a chance to join us. It felt good to get out and ride with so many of my RFTW brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to a family emergency, and missed the meeting after lunch.

Being less than 100 days out, it is time to start getting your bike and yourself in shape. Dust off your walking shoes and get your 10,000 steps per day, and take a pass on that second piece of pie. Some of you had to winterize your bikes, so its time to thaw them out.

Ride safely and stay well. God Bless the United States of America.

Tom (Boomps) Miller
Run for the Wall
Central Route Coordinator

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December 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Merry Christmas and a belated happy Thanksgiving!  Please accept my apologies, for not communicating last month, and thanks to Rich Boy for pointing out that I slept through the month of November! I don’t know about you, but this has been a very long year.

The biggest news I have since October is that, due to personal reasons, Bruce Bartolomeo had to step down from his position as ARC for our 2021 RFTW. Fortunately, Paul “Brush” Marshall stepped up and hit the ground running. He has been in contact with all of our state coordinators and team leaders to introduce himself, and to offer any assistance that they might need from him. Many of you know Paul from his position as Platoon Leader. His FNG year was 2002, and he has been all the way 11 times. He is also a retired police captain, thus bringing with him a lot of valuable leadership experience.

The state coordinators are almost all finished with their respective hotel lists, which should be published at the end of the year. One of the questions I get frequently from RFTW riders is, “Are we really going this year?” All I can answer is that we have 416 riders registered for Central Route, and we are 150 days from “Kickstands Up,” and the state coordinators are working their tails off to pave our way through their states. No one can predict what 2021 will bring, but with the promise of widespread vaccines in the upcoming months, I’m optimistic that we will be heading east in May.

It is my hope that you all stay safe and healthy, and enjoy your holidays as much as possible under the circumstances where you live.

Ride safely and stay well. God Bless the United States of America.

Tom (Boomps) Miller
Run for the Wall Central Route Coordinator

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June 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Greetings from Nuevo,

I hope this finds you safe and well. Most of our quarantines are coming to a close. Mine was pretty exceptional. Jan and I were lucky enough to be invited to serve as Camp Hosts at Carpinteria State Beach the months of April and May, just after our state parks closed. No worries about social distancing with the park closed! The “down” side of living at an empty beach is the absence of wifi, which explains why I haven’t been in contact for a couple months.

Speaking of contact, a few of you have reached out to me about jobs for next year. While it is too soon to know what the specific needs are for next year, you can always visit our website and fill out the volunteer form. Alternatively, you can reach out to individual team leaders, who’s contact information is also on the website.

Even though RFTW did not happen this year, we are still committed to helping those schools that depend on our support each year. Jenny Ward has done an excellent job with the schools fundraiser she started after our COVID cancellation, raising over $10,000. She is also putting together a ride to Raynell, West Virginia, to present the elementary school principal with our check.  Stay tuned for more information.

Another ride coming up will be this weekend, June 12, to Carson City, Nevada. The Combat Hero Bike Build unveilingpresentation will be Saturday, June 13, at 4pm at Battle Born Harley Davidson in Carson City. John Barker leads these efforts, and invites you all to participate. He says three other vets who have received bikes in the past will join them. Many of those attending are planning their stay at the Best Western in Sparks, Nevada, as John arranged for a special rate.

There are other RFTW reunions planned for the summer. Check out the website for details.

Ride safely and stay well. God Bless the United States of America.

Tom (Boomps) Miller

Run for the Wall

Central Route Coordinator

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2nd March 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Greetings from my quarantine compound, 


In 1966, Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech that included, “There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times’. Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” 


The decision reached by the board of directors and route coordinators to cancel 2020 RFTW was absolutely necessary because COVID19 regulations in every state we traverse made it impossible for a group as large as ours to congregate anywhere.

None of us like it, but it is what it is. 

The state coordinators were given several hours notice of the board’s decision, so that they could contact our host hotels and those organizations that support us along the way. It is your responsibility to cancel your own hotel reservations. It is my understanding that all of the 2020 registrations will be rolled over to 2021. The board asked that Bruce and I continue to serve as Route Coordinator and Assistant Route Coordinator for 2021. It is our hope that we see each of you on the run next year.

One last point: the six elementary schools we support along the way will really miss the generous donation they receive from Central Route when we visit. Jenny Ward, our Central Route Treasurer told me Cochiti, a reservation school we support, did not even have funds for pencils and paper before we presented them with our first donation.  If you would like to individually contribute to our schools, you can send a check to RFTW and write “SCHOOLS” in the memo. Checks should be sent to Jenny Ward at 1766 South Erie Highway, Hamilton, Ohio 45011. Thank you in advance for your generosity. 

Ride safely and stay well. God Bless the United States of America.

Tom (Boomps) Miller
Run for the Wall
Central Route Coordinator

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March 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Run for the Wall - We ride for those who can't

Another greeting from The San Bernardino National Forest!

It’s March! I hope that the weather where you live is starting to warm up enough to enjoy some routine motorcycle riding. Most of us do not need an excuse to get on a motorcycle, but if you do, consider looking locally for a group such as PGR or American Legion Riders, so that you can get used to riding with others in formation. May will be here before we know it.

Over the last few weeks, we have held meetings with our state coordinators and other leadership to finalize changes in meal and gas stops. It is always amazing to me when I realize just how many hours state coordinators log to make sure that our trip across country runs as smoothly as possible.  The itinerary was posted, removed for revisions, and will be reposted soon. Carol Olmstead, our Ontario Coordinator, has also been busy readying for our arrival, organizing a Meet and Greet for Sunday May 10, and a Spaghetti Dinner for May 12 after the Safety Meeting.

This year, thirty participants from RFTW will have the privilege of washing the Korean War Memorial. I had the honor of participating a few years ago, and that act of service produced an emotional experience for me… I felt connected to those who made that ultimate sacrifice so many years ago. If you have never had the opportunity to participate, I urge you to consider it. I will assign volunteers on a first come-first served basis. If you’d like to volunteer, email me at tom.miller@rftw.us  ASAP.

Calling all Campers! Dave “Bounce” Talley offered to serve as our Camping Coordinator! If any camper has any questions, Dave can be reached by calling (716) 347-8520, or writing grabagear@yahoo.com. Thanks, Dave!

Last item: As of this writing, our Central Route has 381 registered riders. Please make sure both you and your motorcycle are in top condition by the time May arrives.

Ride safely,

Tom (Boomps) Miller
Run for the Wall
Central Route Coordinator

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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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Central Route Coordinator News – January 2020

Happy New Year!

Fundraising for our 2020 RFTW has begun in earnest! I want to thank everyone who is working to raise money or who has generously contributed. It has always amazed me to see the different creative ways people have imagined to generate funds to support our mission. One I am sure you will be hearing a lot about is the stained-glass windows Southern Route Road Guard Captain Bob Mazone made for each route to raffle. The monies raised from this particular raffle will go to schools we support along the way. The tickets will be sold out of the merchandise trailer starting in Ontario, and the drawing will be in Lewisburg, West Virginia, on our last morning.

Central Route Stained Glass

The hotel list was posted at the beginning of the year. If you have not made your reservations, you can use the links on our website. For those of you who have already made your reservations for Wentzville, the Wentzville Holiday Inn was added late, and is holding a block of rooms for RFTW riders. This hotel is the closest to the location of our dinner and breakfast site.

As of this writing, the state coordinators are finishing up the itineraries for their state, including gas and lunch stops and evening programs. Please plan on attending all evening programs, as local volunteers work all year to raise funds and plan for your visit. If you miss a program, you not only short-change yourself, you miss the opportunity to receive their heartfelt thanks and to offer your own.

As of this morning, registration for our route is over 300, and we have a little over 100 days until KSU (Kick Stands Up). I trust you are all working on your own personal health care goals and will be in your top condition by the time May arrives.

Ride safely,

Tom (Boomps) Miller
Run for the Wall
Central Route Coordinator

 

 

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Central Route Coordinator News – December 2019

Greetings from Southern California! The days are getting shorter and the nights longer; as they say in The North, “Winter is coming!” More importantly, Spring follows, and you cold weather folks can look forward to riding again! I hope you are remembering what I advised about getting in physical shape and honing your riding skills by taking advantage of an advanced riding course when weather permits.

After looking again at our RFTW website, I see that we still have openings on our Staging and Fuel Crews. If you filled out a Volunteer form and have not heard back from a team leader, please reach out to them directly. Their contact information is listed on the Central Route Hub on the RFTW website under Central Route Contacts. We are also creating a new position for a “Camping Coordinator.” This person will be responsible for having and distributing all the camping information for each of our overnight stops. If you have been camping with Central Route for a number of years and are interested in this position, I would love to hear from you.

Also, if you have not done so yet, please officially Register for the 2020 Run, this helps us and our supporters plan for meals, stops, etc.

Our hotel list is being finalized, as I write this newsletter. It should be out by the end of the month. I encourage you to make reservations in the hotels on our list, as they support RFTW, but I also understand the need to stay within a budget. If you are looking to cut costs by sharing a room, you might locate perspective roommates by checking on our website first under “Scuttlebutt,” then go to “Forums” on the drop down list, and then “General Discussion”.

From my family to yours, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Regards,
Tom “Boomps” Miller
Run for the Wall®
2020 Central Route Coordinator

For you new people, and our FNGs… Here is one of the RFTW Promo Videos.  A small taste of what’s to come..