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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter September 2022

Registration Begins September 11, 2022 at 8:45 am EST. Changes have been made to the registration process. Registrants will be able to complete the entire registration process online. This includes completing the liability waiver and emergency contact forms, and choosing the preferred method of formation riding – side-by-side or staggered. The actual “check-in” for Run for the Wall XXXIII will take place in Ontario, California or one of our Evening stops. Be sure to bring your current driver license (endorsed for motorcycle), Proof of Insurance and registration.

With another month of planning under our belts, we are yet another month closer to kick-stands-up on 17 May 2023. In August, meetings were held with the Board of Directors and Route Coordinators from all four routes). A separate meeting with Central Route (CR) leadership included volunteers from the Registration Team, Medical Team, the Quartermaster, and other key members of CR leadership, such as our chaplains. And this month, we’ll begin developing  the CR itinerary for RFTW XXXIII.

If you’ve been following the CR Newsletter, you’ll know we just completed another mission at the Angel Fire Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico, on 3 September 2022. This CR Service Mission and Bricklaying Ceremony, while not a sanctioned RFTW event, is important in the lives of many veterans and their families. This year alone, Riders from Central Route Riders (with welcome assistance from Midway and Southern Route Riders) installed another 500+ named bricks, 12 Medal of Honor Bricks and over 500 blank spacer bricks at the memorial. From all accounts, the bricklaying ceremony was a tremendous success. The riders also had the chance to catch up and “talk story” about past experiences on the Run as well as attend a “rider’s Forum” on Saturday Night. A hearty thank-you to all volunteers.

Why do we ride with RFTW? We realize all participants have their own reasons for joining the Run. Some of us served in Vietnam. Some served in subsequent conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan. We also realize that families and friends, in large measure, served right along with us. Which makes it all the more important that participants remember how the RFTW mission statement begins; “to promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends”.

Chaplains are here to help:  Keeping the RFTW mission in mind, as well as the individual needs of participants, our CR Chaplains dedicate themselves to fulfilling this part of the mission by providing crucial services to those in need. You might not yet realize it, but your (and our families’) decision to join RFTW is likely the first step in accepting the need to begin the healing process.

You will find our CR Chaplains, walking through the platoons at each stop, making themselves available if someone needs to talk. Should a participant become upset or uneasy, Chaplains are there to listen, to comfort and to console – to get us back on track to complete our personal mission. And, should a participant experience an illness or injury, a Chaplain will be there to assist in any way they can. Everyone wearing a Chaplains brassard is actual clergy, trained to listen, and everything you say to them is confidential. You may find that once you get things off your chest, you won’t have to go any further and the healing has already begun.

Calling all volunteers! We’ve had a great response to requests for volunteers. While most CR leadership positions are currently filled, experience has told us that changes can occur several times before we begin the Run, and even after the Run begins. If you don’t get picked up for your desired position, consider helping out on one of the other teams such as the fueling team, staging team, road guards, registration, medics, or chase vehicles. If such an assignment appeals to you, contact me or Nick Hentges as soon as possible, and we will forward your request on to the appropriate team leader.

Finally, have you checked out the information posted on the RFTW website regarding new riders. For example, how do you pack efficiently for a 10 day cross country ride? Take a look at the RFTW website. There are many Frequently asked Questions on the website (with answers) such as suggestions on what to pack.

I make it a point to pack small, light and portable. If you have questions, try blasting it out on the RFTW Forum.

And, while you’re thinking about what to pack, get out and ride your bike – now!

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter August 2022

As I’ve said before, it’s not too early to begin planning for RFTW XXXIII, both for riders and leadership. For leadership, planning actually began as soon as we returned from DC in June. One of the first things to change was the central route coordinator (RC) positions. In June, I succeeded the central route coordinator for 2022 (Tom “Boomps” Miller). Shortly thereafter, I nominated a new assistant route coordinator (ARC), Nick Hentges, who was then confirmed by the Board of Directors (BOD).

Other leadership changes have also occurred, mostly in the state coordinator positions, due to pending retirements from RFTW. California (outside Ontario, CA) has been masterfully led by Bud “Rebar” Phillips for years. Bud’s role will be filled by his former assistant, Larry Medcraft. Curt Gilman will assume the role as state coordinator for Indiana, succeeding Bill “Oz” Chaney. And, in Illinois, where we’ve always been treated to great lunch at the Mount Vernon airport, Angela Schrum is stepping down as state coordinator, and David Parkhill will assume that role. Leadership roles in other teams continue to evolve, and will likely do so until just before our departure from Ontario, CA, in May 2023.

Several preliminary (but vital) planning meetings for RFTW XXXIII have already occurred. We met with state coordinators in June to get their thoughts on RFTW XXXII. Next, we met with platoon leaders in July to hear their observations and suggestions. And, we met with another group which included the fuel team leader, the staging crew leader and the road guard captain. Finally, the entire BOD (including all RCs and ARCs) met at the end of July.

Central Route (CR) leadership has also been working on a number of other matters we believe will assist platoon leadership, and make the ride better for all. First, we are reviewing several after action reports (AARs) to review rider comments, and to assess what observations may have a bearing on route execution. Where feasible, and relevant, we may consider implementing some AAR recommendations. Second, we are in the process of developing standardized platoon briefing notes, containing “minimum” instructions that address route safety matters. This should help platoon leadership provide guidance to new RFTW riders in a consistent manner.

We are continuing to build a list of potential leadership personnel, developed from information derived from volunteer request forms submitted by many riders in 2022. As vacancies occur in platoons, fueling and staging crews, and other leadership positions, we will consider volunteer requests in filling these positions. If you are planning to return to RFTW in 2023, and you have ridden “All the Way” on any route at least once (in 2022 or a previous year), consider submitting a volunteer request form. You can find the volunteer request form on the RFTW website.

On another subject, riders who participated in RFTW XXXII, 2022, may recall from their CR itinerary that we were scheduled to stop at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico on day three of the run. We all remember, however, that that scheduled stop had to be scrubbed due to the gigantic fires burning in the area. CR riders had to divert around Angel Fire (and surrounding mountains), and overnight in Raton, New Mexico instead. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that forced us to bypass the memorial in Angel Fire – easily one of the most beautiful and moving memorials RFTW riders will to see on the run. Fortunately, we will be returning to the Angel Fire memorial as part of RFTW XXXIII, in 2023. In the interim, consider attending the CR Angel Fire Service Mission and Bricklaying Ceremony in September, which was recently announced in a “special” CR newsletter.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

Finally, have you checked out the information posted on the RFTW website regarding new riders (e.g., what to pack)?

Click here for FAQ

And, have you been riding, and keeping up your skills? It is important that you continue riding your motorcycles regularly between runs. Riding not only helps maintain skills, but enhances physical fitness. Ride distances. Practice your shifting and throttle control. If you ride with friends, practice riding side-by-side; first at low speeds, then riding side-by-side at increasingly higher speeds.

So, get out and enjoy the ride. Get ready for your RFTW experience.

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter – Special Angel Fire Edition

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

As has happened since about 2007, the Central Route (CR) will host a bricklaying ceremony and RFTW reunion at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Angel Fire, NM. Since this ceremony began, thousands of bricks have been laid at Angel Fire (I personally had two bricks laid for my brother and myself). Last year, after nearly two years of COVID health restrictions barring visitors at the memorial, RFTW Participants laid over 1300 bricks. This year we will be laying nearly 500 bricks. Bricks laid at the memorial represent veterans from most wars, including WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf conflicts. Special areas have also been set aside for the founder of the memorial, Doctor Westphal and family, and for several Medal of Honor recipients.

Bricks at Angel Fire Memorial
Setting Bricks at the Angel Fire Memorial

This Workday and RFTW reunion is attended not only by families of veterans, RFTW leadership, Board members, and dignitaries, but by many RFTW riders who come to Angel Fire to volunteer for bricklaying preparations, and the ceremony itself. Whether you have already participated in the RFTW mission, or you plan to do so in the future, you are invited and welcome to attend this event. We believe that future RFTW riders will find this bricklaying ceremony to be a particularly stirring event. In addition, future riders will receive a preview of the amazing, patriotic experiences they will encounter while participating in the RFTW mission.

NOTE: This is not an official Run for the Wall event. This is a gathering of individuals to support the Brick Laying and to get together. Riders and supporters from all Routes are Welcome.

The bricklaying ceremony will occur on Saturday, September 3, 2022. Many RFTW riders chose to arrive on the Friday (Reception at the Laguna Vista Saloon) before the ceremonies to help with bricklaying preparations.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park
Boomer at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Angel Fire
Jess Setting Bricks at the Angel Fire Memorial

While it has not yet been scheduled, the State Coordinator (Kenny Keelin) has offered the possibility of a 2 hour ride in the Angel Fire area on Sunday Morning after church services (time and interest permitting).

The actual ceremony takes place on Saturday, which is capped off with a wonderful dinner. During and after dinner there will be a “Riders Forum” where Board Members and Route Leadership will provide updates on the upcoming year’s planning and a brief Q&A session.

Dinner in Eagle Nest

On the sign-up sheet you will find a tentative schedule of events. Please make sure to register and pay as soon as Possible (Before the deadline) so we can tell our supporters and caterer how many of us to expect. Any questions or concerns please contact Nick.hentges@rftw.us

NOTE: This is not an official Run for the Wall event. This is a gathering of individuals to support the Brick Laying and to get together. Riders and supporters from all Routes are Welcome.

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter July 2022

Run for the Wall Central Route

My name is Paul Marshall, and I have been honored by the Run For The Wall (RFTW) Board of Directors by being appointed as the 2023 Central Route Coordinator. This will be my first newsletter, with many more to follow, until we complete our mission for RFTW XXXIII.

Besides riding with RFTW for several years – sometimes in the pack, sometimes riding my own ride, and sometimes riding multiple legs – I’ve worked on the fuel team, and served as platoon leader for several years. For the past two years, I served as the Assistant Route Coordinator, working with Tom “Boomps” Miller, the 2022 Route Coordinator.

I joined the US Army in 1969. I served in Vietnam as an MP (1971-72), and in the Korean DMZ as an artillery surveyor and MP (1970-71).

After leaving the US Army in 1972, I joined the Sacramento Police Department in California. Over the next 30 years, I worked in two other police departments, and retired as a police captain from a police department in Southern California in 2004.

I was introduced to RFTW in 2002 by a fellow Vietnam veteran. Until that time, like many Vietnam veterans, I flew under the radar, seldom acknowledging my service, let alone my time spent in country. To say my first year on RFTW changed my way of thinking is an understatement. However, while it was an awakening of sorts – almost a rebirth of faith in Americans if you will – there remains a lingering feeling of guilt and loss.

Now, when I think of the mission of the RFTW (to promote healing among all veterans, their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all prisoners of wars and those missing in action to honor the memory of those killed in action from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world), I understand why two Vietnam veterans, James Gregory and Bill Evans, established RFTW in 1989 – to give all veterans a chance to find meaning in their service, and heal the deep scars left by that service.

In my first year (2002), I rode in the pack all the way from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. In those days, we rode in one long, continuously line of motorcycles, riding side by side next to riders we’d never met before. Fueling our motorcycles, and “staging” in preparation to leave a stop, was chaotic at best. When we left a fuel of meal stop, we shuffled into a side-by-side line as we entered the freeway. On the freeway, we often saw brake lights popping on, gradually making their way back through the pack – a very beautiful thing actually, until they got to one’s position. Things have seriously changed since 2002. RFTW is a well-practiced, and cross-country motorcycle ride.

When we launch RFTW XXXIII from Ontario, California on 17 May 2023, I will be joined by Assistant Route Coordinator, Nick Hentges, Road Guard Captain, Kirk Olson, and many more volunteer leaders.

Planning for the RFTW mission is underway. Since we completed the mission of RFTW XXXII in May 2022, state coordinators have been in constant contact with their supporters in eleven states. Several leadership teams are meeting to discuss the last run to Washington, D.C. Other volunteer leadership teams include road guards, fueling and staging crews, chase and last man crews, ambassadors, outreach volunteers, chaplains and medical personnel, to name a few.

Riding across this country, you will represent RFTW as we stop at VA hospitals, memorials, schools and community centers. And as a RFTW representative, you will be asked to be on  your best behavior by being courteous, showing respect and appreciation to the communities that support us on our ride to Washington, D.C.. After a day or two you will realize that RFTW is truly something special, and unlike anything you have ever experienced. By the end of this run, you will find that you have become part of the RFTW family.

As a new RFTW rider, you will be supported by a very large, and very experienced leadership teams that seek to maintain a safe, supportive and private atmosphere in which all participants can reflect and heal on your journey to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. – “The Wall”. Regardless of your level of experience, you will find this ride to be very challenging, and well worth the effort. That said, it is not too early to begin your preparations.

You are encouraged to go to the RFTW website (RFTW.us). There you will find a number of resources to help you plan your ride, including suggestions on how to pack for the run. New riders can also check out the “Forum” to see what other riders are saying in their chats, and read after action reports that will describe previous rides. Next spring, as planning progresses, new riders will be able to read about activities in Ontario before we launch, as well as the day-by-day itinerary for the Central Route.

Get curious. Ask questions. And, get ready!

I look forward to seeing you all in Ontario, California.

Paul “Brush” Marshall
RFTW Central Route Coordinator 2023

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June 2022 Central Route Coordinator News

Run for the Wall Central Route

Greetings to all of our Central Route Family!

This will be my last official communique as 2022 Central Route Coordinator. When I started this process in 2019, I did not expect it to last so long. We were three years in the making, but in the ten days that we actually executed the run, I can state emphatically that those three years were worth it! I had so much help from so many people, it would be impossible to name everyone, as I would be afraid I would forget someone. I do want to give a shoutout to all the FNGs who started out with us in Ontario, and stayed with us all the way to Washington DC. Together we rode through the wind and rain and the snow in Raton Pass. We dodged both forest fires and snowstorms! You are a very special group, and I was proud to lead you across the country.

Tom "Boomps" Miller

I’d also like to thank those of you who composed and submitted an “After Action Report” (AAR). Know that those reports are read by every board member, and have served to make positive changes to the way we conduct the run. After all, its is your run. If you have thought about submitting an AAR, but have not done so, now is the time. The forms are available on our website. The board still has one more meeting in June, before the new board is in place in July.

Finally, I am happy to report that the board approved Paul Marshall to serve as our Central Route Coordinator for 2023. Paul has worked tirelessly for the last two years, as my Assistant Route Coordinator. The success of Run XXXll was due in no small part to the efforts of Paul. I know he will do an awesome job as our Route Coordinator in 2023.

I hope you have more fun planned for the rest of the summer. Mine includes six weeks camp hosting at Carpinteria State Beach. If you are in the area, stop by to say, “Hi!” I hope to see you in May.

God Bless the United States of America.

Tom “Boomps” Miller
2022 RFTW Central Route Coordinator

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Central Route Day 4 Departure Time UPDATE II

Run for the Wall Central Route

NEW UPDATE!

NEW UPDATED Time Line/Schedule for the morning of Day 4 – Saturday May 21 2022

1100 – Staging

1130 – All Riders Morning Brief

1145 – Platoon Brief

1200 – KSU (hopefully)

The previously scheduled morning fuel stop at Crossroads Truck Stop has been CANCELLED! Please fuel your vehicles on your own before staging.

Since we will be missing our lunch stop please make sure you eat before we depart and bring a snack (if possible).

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Central Route Day 4 Departure Time Change!

Run for the Wall Central Route

Due to inclement weather our departure from Raton has been pushed accordingly:

UPDATED Time Line/Schedule for the morning of Day 4 – Saturday May 21 2022

1030 – STAGING

1100 – All Riders Morning Brief

1130 – Platoon Brief

1200 – KSU

Since we will be missing our lunch stop please make sure you eat before we depart and bring a snack (if possible).

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Central Route Time Line for Start of Day 4

Run for the Wall Central Route

Attention All Central Route Riders

Time Line/Schedule for the morning of Day 4 – Saturday May 21 2022

FUEL
Fuel at Crossroads truck stop 855 Clayton Rd. East side of I-25 exit 451.
0800 – 0810: Advance groups/Road Guards/Staging first.
0810 – 0840: Pack riders (Do not show up prior to 0810.)
Fueling will end at 0840.

STAGING
Stage after fuel on Clayton Rd. West side of I-25 same place as years past. Look for staging team.

0845 – Riders Brief
Caddy-corner from the Tourist information center (Abandoned Texan Motel) on Clayton Rd.

0915 – Platoon Brief

0930 – Welcoming Speeches Mayor & other’s

0955 – KSU

This time line is not normally the way we work but we are working under unusual circumstances. This time-line will allow us to keep the pack on schedule for the rest of the day.

SPECIAL NOTICE: A Jacket was found on the highway about 60 miles out of Santa Fe. We found two key fobs in the pocket. Pictures below.

If this is your jacket please report to the sound stage in the morning with a crisp $5 bill.

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Important Update: Route Change on Day 3!

Run for the Wall Central Route

Events in Northern New Mexico along the Central Route have led to a very difficult discission. Keeping my eye on the news, fire maps and talking with folks on the ground, the fires burning 10 miles South of Angel Fire and creeping closer, went from 40% to 29% contained. The Angel Fire Resort is being taken over by the Forest Service Incident Command. All LEO support has been pulled from the RFTW and reassigned to the fires. We will NOT BE GOING TO ANGEL FIRE/EAGLE NEST for the night.

Change in route is as follows. This will be for Friday 20 May

  • RT-66 Casino through Albuquerque to North I-25 no Change.
  • I-25 Exit # 252 Black Mesa Casino. Fuel 35 miles Lunch????
  • I-25 Exit # 419 Russell’s Truck and travel center. Fuel 167 miles
  • I-25 Exit # 451 Raton. Fuel Donated 35 miles.
  • Stageing on Clayton Rd in AM. Time TBD

Hotel list

Best Western 575-445-8501 473 Clayton Rd, Raton $144.00 plus Tax
Quality Inn 575-445-4200 533 Clayton Rd, Raton
Casa Lemus 575-445-2737 350 Clayton Rd, Raton
Robin Hood 575-455-5577 1354 2nd St. Raton
Microtel Inn & Suites 575-303-4479 1640 Cedar St. Raton
Super 8 575-445-2355 1610 Cedar St. Raton
Travel Lodge 505-738-4180 1600 Cedar St. Raton
Holiday Inn Exp & Suites 575-445-1500 101 Card Ave.

Raton has plenty of rooms.

Make sure you cancel reservation in Angel Fire/Eagle Nest/Red River or any other place you have reservations made.

*Several items need to be finalized and being worked out.

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April 2022 Central Route Coordinator News

Run for the Wall Central Route

Greetings to all of our Central Route Family!

Since last posting, we have registered about a hundred more riders to our 2022 RFTW Central Route. Hopefully, you are one of them. As of May 1, Registration fees go from $30 to $50. The 2022 Itinerary has been posted on our website’s Central Route Hub. Once again I am amazed at the amazing work our state coordinators have done to put this together.

If you’ve already looked at our itinerary, you’ll see one major change for Saturday, May 28. We will not be going into Arlington Cemetery as a group. What we WILL be doing is meeting with all RFTW riders at the Lincoln Memorial at 8:30 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. group photo. Following this, we will all walk to the Viet Nam Wall to present our “Mission Accomplished plaque. At that time, any individuals wishing to go visit Arlington National Cemetery may go on their own.

I hope all of you will have your bikes and yourselves in shape within the next thirty days. Remember to start hydrating. You can’t just start drinking water on the first day of the run to stay healthy throughout.

I look forward to seeing you in May. Kick Stands Up in @35 days! Stay Safe. God Bless the United States of America.

Tom “Boomps” Miller
RFTW Central Route Coordinator