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Central Route Coordinator News – September 2021

Run for the Wall Central Route

Hello Central Route Riders.

Greetings from Sunny Southern California!

I just returned from a two week road trip, which included our annual Angel Fire Labor Day Reunion and Service Project at Angel Fire’s Viet Nam Veterans Memorial. During the weekend, we set a record for the largest number of bricks laid in one day. This reflected a lot of hard work by both the organizers and those who worked throughout the weekend. For those of you who have never participated in this Labor Day weekend project, I recommend that you put it on your 2022 calendar.

While in Angel Fire, Jenny Ward gave me a box of letters and thank you cards from Kim Tincher, principal, and children enrolled in Rainelle Elementary School in West Virginia. The letters thanked us for the money we donated earlier in the year, and expressed hope that we will be able to return in 2022. I regret that I didn’t see the box until our Saturday night dinner was over and everyone had left the building. I promise to bring the box of letters with me to Ontario in May.

Registration for RFTW 2022 opened on September 11, 2021. If you plan to ride with us in 2022, you need to register and sign a liability waiver. Early registration helps our planning efforts. We would like to know how many riders to expect in Ontario, and how far each plans to ride.

There have been some changes in our Central Route Leadership Team. After many years of dedicated service, George Creasy decided to step down as Fuel Team Leader. Fortunately for us, Phillip (X-Chief) Garcia stepped up and offered to take the reins for 2022. Phillip has made the run seven times, five serving on our fuel team. He had been selected to serve as Assistant Fuel Team Leader in 2020, but as you know, we didn’t go that year or the following. Phillip comes highly recommended by George. Anyone wishing to serve on the Fuel Team should reach out to Phillip at philgbike@gmail.com.

An additional change in Leadership occurred in our Chaplain Team, due to the passing of Rupert Harrell. Duane Gryder will serve us in 2022 as Senior Chaplain. I would like to extend my thanks to both Phillip and Duane for accepting these new positions.

Stay Safe. God Bless the United States of America.

Tom “Boomps” Miller
RFTW Central Route Coordinator

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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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May 2021 Central Route Coordinator News

Hello Central Route Riders.

I apologize for not writing an update for April 2021. There was no news but bad news. It is strange to be sitting at home the day before we all should have been leaving for Washington DC. The good thing about being in this dark depression for the last year or so, is that now we actually have some good news.

The Covid restrictions seem to be rapidly lifting across a good part of our country. Of course, the hope is that by May 2022, all of those restrictions will be in our rear view mirror. The Pentagon refused AMVETS’ permit for parking for the Rolling to Remember Parade, formerly known as Rolling Thunder, but RFK Stadium agreed to parade participants staging there. Although RFTW will not have an official presence there, many individual riders are either on their way to Washington DC, or are making plans to visit.

I hope all of you had an opportunity to read Les Williams’ latest President’s Message (https://rftw.us/presidents-message-may-2021/).  He did an excellent job explaining that RFTW is not just a bunch of folks who get on their motorcycles and head east each year. As a benevolent organization, we raise money for veteran organizations and help support some of the schools in the areas we pass through. No one in the RFTW organization receives a paycheck. A lot of people donate a tremendous amount of time and effort to make RFTW the success that it is. Please take a moment to read Les’ message if you haven’t done so already.

In June we will have a change in the board. On behalf of Central Route and myself, I would like to personally thank Les Williams, Ken Ward, Don Burns, Ray Brammer, and Diane McKee for their years of service and dedication. This was an especially trying time, with the cancellations of 2020 and 2021, along with major bureaucratic obstacles.

I know many of you will be getting on your bikes in the upcoming weeks. If you are wearing your RFTW vests, you are representing all of us. Do us proud. As my sailor friends say, “Fair Winds and Following Seas.”

Looking forward to a 2022 run.

Stay Safe. God Bless the United States of America.

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 2021 Central Route Coordinator News

Run for the Wall - We Ride For Those Who Can't

Hello again, Central Route Riders.

By now you’ve all read the message from the RFTW BOD President, Les Williams, officially postponing RFTW 2021. I know you are all very disappointed by the decision. I can assure you that the entire BOD was saddened by the necessity of their decision, as were all of the rest of us who support and participate in RFTW. Having participated in the meeting on February 20th, Paul and I can tell you the decision of the BOD was extremely difficult. I can also tell you that our state coordinators’ work in providing a timely update of their planning efforts was a crucial piece of the meeting, and of the BOD decision.

One by one, each of the Route Coordinators presented the current status of their route planning. It was difficult to sit through the meeting, hearing all the challenges that still remained for the run. The information received from the routes led to a consensus among meeting attendees that RFTW 2021 could not proceed safely, or without disruption from a variety of COVID restrictions. In addition, a key portion of planning information, which contributed to the BOD decision, came out of Washington, DC and Arlington, VA. Simply put, it was just not going to be possible for RFTW to complete its mission in DC.

To Central Route State Coordinators, I want to say thank you – thank you for your hard work in planning for RFTW 2021, for your perseverance in spite of the COVID threat, and for your continued dedication and commitment to RFTW and its mission. Without your efforts RFTW simply could not happen. I encourage you all to remain optimistic about the prospects for next year, and to stay in close and frequent contact with your planning partners. Paul and I look forward to working with you again in the very near future as we plan for RFTW 2022. Please feel free to call me or Paul if we can be of assistance.

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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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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October 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Greetings from Mt. San Jacinto State Park in Idyllwild!

I hope this finds you all well and healthy. Last week at the Board of Directors Meeting, the decision was made to go full speed ahead with the 2021 Run. All state coordinators have been notified, and are working to put together hotel lists, and arrange venues for meals and gas stops.

I noticed that the Volunteer Sign-Up is offline.  If you still hope to secure a position with one of the teams, reach out to me or my ARC, Bruce Bartolomeo, through the Central Route Contact list available online.

Just as a reminder, if you were registered for 2020, you are automatically registered for 2021. If you were registered last year and are not going to make the run in 2021, you need to cancel on our RFTW website. Changes or cancellations are made on RFTW 2021-Registration Revisions. The reason this is important is that we need to let the folks downstream know how many of us to expect in 2021.

I’d like to give a shout out to our Colorado and Alaska RFTW family. They are doing amazing fundraising in their respective states. Good work, guys!

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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August 2020 Central Route Coordinator News

Greetings from Nuevo,
I hope you all had a good July in your respective quarantines. I spent July in Nuevo trying to catch up on projects on the home front, but I did manage to squeeze in a few rides to Idyllwild. The highlight of my June was the Carson City Combat Hero Bike Build, and seeing so many RFTW friends there.

Things are loosening and tightening faster than we can track. By now you all are likely aware that our Angel Fire Reunion was cancelled. At present the Texas All-Riders reunion is still planned to take place in Kerrville Texas September 25-27. Our RFTW website has more information.

On August 1, registration for RFTW 2021 opened. The first person to register was a
Central Route All the Way rider! If you were registered for 2020, you are automatically registered for 2021. If you were registered last year and are not going to make the run in 2021, you need to cancel on our RFTW website. Changes or cancellations are made on RFTW 2021-Registration Revisions. The reason this is important is that we need to let the folks downstream know how many of us to expect in 2021.

Jan and I are headed back to Carpinteria State Beach on August 5 for five more weeks of camp hosting. I’ll check back in with you in mid-September. Until then, 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