Hi Everyone, we are back for another great, fun filled year on Run For The Wall trip. Similar to last year, I will be posting daily at this location and I hope you will find it interesting. I will not be reporting on the daily schedule as much as I will be writing about some of the events and people that help make this RUN, the “Greatest Run In America”. That may sound boastful but if you stop to think of all that takes place on this RUN, you may change your mind. When you consider the tens of thousands of people across America who buy and prepare the daily food, who do rallies to purchase and pump the gas, the many who line the streets to cheer their support, the national and local leadership who do all their service for free, all the work to set up and tear down each event, the many hours of the traffic and road guard people. Then consider all the healing that takes place in the lives of the participants. We have countless stories of men and women who have found healing for emotions, help and encouragement in their lives because of what this RUN does. Needless to say, I am a fan and I have been on this RUN for 11 years being a platoon leader, ambassador and Sit report writer. So if you are home and reading this, make plans to be with us this or next year and come be a part of something bigger than yourself and be a blessing to many!
If you want to keep track of the RUN and its progress go to the RFTW.us web page, scroll down and click on where it says to keep track of the RUN. C1 will be Harlan in the lead and C2 will be the tail end of the RUN. it is always on when they are moving so have fun and keep up with us.
The first day there are many meetings, as all of the RUN information needs to be communicated in a short time and that is done through bulletins, emails and meetings. Through leadership, FNG (Funny New Guy) meetings, and then each platoon leader will meet with their riders and sort out the many questions that riders will have. There are also the fuel guys, the road guards, the ambassadors, Chaplains, chase vehicles, missing man, and etc.
One of the special leaders for the RUN is a guy better known by his road name, “Bullet” (Don Pierce) He is one of a kind that is always there in the middle of the action and always there when needed. He is one of a few “89ers” group that help start the RUN in 1989. He now serves as “Law Enforcement Liaison” for the RUN and has served in several other capacities over the years, such as platoon leader (although there were no platoons then). Some of his early memories of the RUN were when a Kansas trooper headed all the riders off onto an off ramp and had them circle around to and open field by Colby Kansas where they had a meal prepared and people waiting to serve them. They were unaware of this event until it happened and were really touched by the caring people. Bullet says that was the first time anyone was told “Welcome Home” and it is now an often heard sentiment on the RUN. Another memory he has was a semi tanker fuel ruck had pulled into a field and was ready to fuel the RUN’s many bikes but the fuel man was disappointed when they only had about 30 bikes. Oh for the good ole days huh, actually we have many, many people who step up and help us with our fuel costs, may God richly bless them! Although Bullet helps many to get to the Wall, he still finds it difficult himself to make it to the Wall. He has over 70 buddies whose names are on that wall and it is an emotional event when he does go. Bullet has the best attitude about all of it as he says, “he tries to look forward as he can’t change the past but he can build a better future”. Bullet you are a great example to us all and thank you for being there for all of us!!! We are very thankful for you and for what you do for all of us.
When I hang around the entrances to the hotel I run into many special long time RFTW riders. One of those was Jim (Scout) Hoffman. He road on the RUN for 15 years starting in 1999. He road a FJR Yamaha. I remember Scout, he was always where he was needed and he moved pretty fast on that bike. He was and is a treasure that the RUN has had for many years. Jim told me that he kept coming back because he wanted to give back and he liked the camaraderie and the friendships that he developed over the years and I would add to that, I know the RUN really appreciated his expertise on the road guard team.https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi3e8mJBoEp/taken-by=roger.hageman
Part of my work or duties on the RUN are being part of the Outreach Team. Our job on that team is to stop and honor any Gold Star parents that are located along our route. So, one of those parents we talked with today is Deana Howard age 50, and she lost her son 20 year old Mark Howard on 4/28/12. He was Army Airborne. PFC. Mark was the kind of guy that liked to make people laugh and he loved learning new things and he had wisdom beyond his years. Deana now works 120 to 140 hours to make ends meet and she takes care of other children. When talking to Deana, we all could see that she is a hard working lady who is determined to better herself and family and she has put the RFTW on her bucket list for maybe next year. Deana, we would very much like to have you on the RUN next year.
Ok, that is it for today and I am already behind but figured you would like the early bonus.
Roger (Pops) Hageman, make it a good day tomorrow!