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Central Route 2017 – Days 10 & 11- Lewisburg, WV to Washington, DC

This post is for day 10 and day 11 spent in Washington DC

Fantastic, we made it! What a great ride. It is more than a minor milestone for many on this RUN. Many high five’s, hugs and great celebration. A job well done for anyone who went for only one day, and yet many of us were there the entire ten days, it is something to be proud of. There is a bonding that takes place among riders on a trip like this, especially when centered around so great of a cause. It is so good to see those who were maybe struggling at the beginning and after 10 days in the saddle, now are pros and they have overcome issues that they were dealing with.

This RUN is a test, a test of your “metal” to see what you are made of, a test of your character, as things can get dicey at times, and a test of the purpose that drives us. It is a good test. Some have gone all 29 times and some only a day or two. Wherever you fit in the time thing, we are thankful for you and are glad you were a part of it and we believe this trip is life changing, so take advantage of the things you have seen, learned and experienced and go make your world a little better because of what you have learned.

The trip from Lewisburg to DC was pretty much un-eventful. Again that is possible for all the State and City police Departments helping us out. I have been on the RUN when we did not have any help and or protection through Kansas City, St. Louis, Louisville K. and especially DC. I am so very, very thankful for all the help and if you newbies understood what it was like, you would be very thankful too.

I want to interject an interview I had with Barb “Rockie” Bell. She has 3 kids and is presently works as a Real Estate investor. On the RUN she works as a Road Guard but is also the Chief Medical Officer for the RUN.  Barb made the RUN in 04 and it changed her so much it gave her back her boldness and self-confidence, that she went home and talked things over with her family and she and they decided she should enlist in the Air Force and served there ten years. She became a medical flight nurse on the Critical Air Transport for ten years. She went on the RUN in 08 and 09 when on leave. Barb gave an example of why she does this RUN every year. One of her friends had been in counseling for 6 years for PTSD and was at the point he could not even go to the store to buy needed things. Somehow he made it to the RUN and went the whole way. When he returned from the RUN he took his family to Disney World. He said that the RUN did more good in 10 days than all the counseling he had received. (Let’s remember that next time we say welcome home or hug an FNG) Barb was the only official medical person available on the RUN until 2013. She was a very busy lady then. The RUN had a bad accident NW of Oakley K. on the 2012 RUN where several people went down and had serious injuries. I remember Barb that day, she was pretty shaken up and bothered by the helplessness of the RUN to deal with the medical trauma. So, she and her son William Govigan (sp) set up the medical team guidelines we have in place now. Barb says that the people we meet are life changing experiences.

Here I think it prudent to ask this question. What would Barb’s life and the life of those she has helped all these years be like if she had not made it to the RUN. What would the life of her friend be like if he had not had Barb and the others to pull him along? Who could even begin to guess or know but how very good it is that she found her way with a little, well maybe a lot of help from the RUN. We are blessed to have you Barb and we are blessed also to have so many others on this RUN that are top quality people. People that have found a place here and a home of brothers and sisters that they have found maybe nowhere else and they have stepped up this year as they have in the past and they have done what it takes to make the difference in people’s lives. I am so thankful for all of you. I was not able to spotlight so many of my friends as time and space just do not allow. But just so you know readers there are many, many great people that make this RUN happen.

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Barb Bill medical lead and road guard

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Speaking of great people, it is important that I do not forget the FUEL CREW. They are led by George Creacy who has been faithful at this job for many years. They can fuel 400 bikes in 20 minutes or less, it is amazing to watch and even more amazing to be a part of. Thanks much to all of the crew.

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Our fearless and faithful few crew team leader.

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Fuel crew in action

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Fuel crew in action

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It's the last fuel stop at Tom's Brook

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We had our traditional dinner at the Mexican restaurant with friends from the RUN  just a few blocks away from our hotels and did an early to bed night. This trip can wear you out over the time it takes to do it. I have slept for about 3 hours just letting my body catch up.

On Saturday I went to the Wall at about 7:00 AM, as there not too many people there and if you need solace to reflect, it is a great time to go. I took many pictures to try and capture the stories there and I walked with my good friends Eric and Sonja (Ambassadors) to the other memorials and then we went to the Lincoln memorial at 11:30 for pictures of the whole gang. A pretty cool group and there more there today than I think I have ever seen there. We had some interesting things happen while touring the memorials. There were there several groups from different parts of the country learning about the memorials and they were young kidos and very interested in what was going on. Since the 3 of us were dressed in RUN clothes, they assumed we were Vets and wanted to shake our hands and hug us. We told them we were not vets but the more we insisted they were still wanting to make contact with Vets so we certainly made them feel appreciated on the be-half of you Vets. It was so refreshing to see so many young people there learning about the memorials and being so interested in them. After a while we just stopped explaining, because they did not understand any way and so we pass on that great thankfulness to you all.

I would like to pontificate here a bit as this place, the Wall, is a very special place. I am not a Vet and I have been here at least 10 times over the years and each time I am filled with respect and quietness for the sacredness of this Wall. Here are the names of over 58 thousand men and some women who perished while I was safe at home doing things that all Americans were doing. Mostly unaware of the real hurt and suffering and death toll that was taking place. Now I see the many names and it seems unbelievable  that all of this took place while I and most of America was unaware or at times did not really care. The Veterans that came back then were looked at as a little off and we dared not talk to them too much. When I did talk to them I tried to understand and told them so, but really how could I begin to understand what they went through. Maybe that is why I respect this place so much, as it gives me a place to honor those I never knew who sacrificed for me so that I live. To the families of the many names listed on this Wall, Thank You! You have my deepest respect and I pray that we as a people, nation will always honor you!

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More reflections on the Wall.

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And one of the most important and special events of this entire RUN is being able to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is a special event that we are privileged to do. We invite all of the FNG’s to ride into Arlington National Cometary and attend the laying of the wreath. The RUN chooses 4 different riders to lay the wreath each year. This year Dadbo, Ross,  Santa Ed, and Bandit were chosen. This is such a huge blessing and privilege to be chosen and to be able to participate.

 

So here we are, at the end, bummer, but yet a good thing as we all have other lives to lead, at least I have a job to get back to. I hope that through my eyes and the pictures you have enjoyed some of the posts and that they have been a blessing to you. I have much to learn in this area and I have learned a few helpful hints, like don’t start writing so late in the evening and (J)

Until we meet again, may God richly bless and keep you!

Roger Hageman, roger.hageman@yahoo.com

Enjoy the pictures:

We have two special “Road Guards” who do all the road guard duties and also carry the flags whenever we enter a town or memorial. Each carries two MIA-POW flags and of course one American flag. We greatly appreciate their contributions as the sight of the flags leading the RUN is impressive. They are Bud “Rebar” Phillips and Tom “Twitch” Burnett. Thanks Guys!

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Bud and Tom, great road guards and our Flag guys!

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Reflections in the wall

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The nurses memorial

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Celebrations at the World War II Memorial

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You need to have reservations at this crowd

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More kudos for the Chase vehicle team.

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People going to the wall

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Girl Friend and Crispy at thunder alley.

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Dallas Hageman at the morning meeting.

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Top Hat. A faithful dedicated road guard!

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Dallas and Sami with an fng.

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A fitting end, until next time, God Bless!

 

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Central Route 2017 – Day 9 – Nitro, WV to Lewisburg, WV

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood. This is one of those days we live for, is it not. Great places to go like the WV Capital and great people to ride with. I am glad this day is at the end of the RUN because if it was this nice and easy at the beginning people might think it is always this easy, and we know it is not.We left for Nitro at 8:30 AM which means we had at least an hour extra to talk about the RUN, the beautiful people (slightly off) (actually we decided that we are all just a little off) of the RUN. The bikes are fun and the places we see are great but it is the people that come out by the 100’s that make this RUN so special! Thanks for coming out and supporting us. “THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!   Yet when we tell them “thanks for coming out and supporting us”, they look at us and say, “No we thank you for coming to us so that we can show you our appreciation,” and we say “Well thank you very much” and they say, NO, THANK YOU! and they can get pretty adamant about it.  The conversations can take some pretty cool directions.  If they only really knew, speaking only for myself and I am not a Vet, how little I have done to cone and see them and how little the cost has been for me to be able to be a tiny blessing to them, if they really knew, I think they would have the same gracious hearts and attitudes because that is who they are and whom they have become. Gracious, giving, caring and loving people who want to bless us out of the overflow of their hearts, and for whatever reason, we are the beneficiaries of it all.  As I have seen this happen since my start on the RUN in 06, it has always amazed me and or interested me greatly how much we need each other. The  crowds that multiply 2 and 3 deep on the streets, who do the cooking and the fuel stops and do a 100 other things, they need to be able to express that love and respect that God has placed in their hearts and the RUN and its riders are a real connection point or contact point. AND as much as they need us, even more we NEED them, you the people who support us, we desperately need you and the great love that you show. I have seen on several RUNs the complete changing of the men and women who were broken on the inside, find healing for their souls because of the miracle that God works in their lives THROUGH the communities and the “man on the street” so to speak. There is something about that unconditional love that they feel and see first hand, that disarms their life-made walls and opens their hearts for the healing to begin. I love this so much, when we see even one person find his place or get their feet under them, it is a great day for all concerned, and this is why I do this and I don’t think I am alone in all of this plan. So, one more time, THANK YOU and we unashamedly LOVE each of you very much.

I have been to the W V Capital before but every time I go I thoroughly enjoy the place. (see photos) It has a peaceful presence to it. We are able to fit all 550+- bikes into the circle area. We listened to a short speech from the Governor’s assistant, ate about a 100 boxes of Crispy Crème donuts and a few cases of water, took a group picture on the Capital steps and we were off again. Headed to Rainelle, on of the top ten favorite places for sure. Cloudy and cool and I have been spoiled as so many times I have gone to Rainelle it has been warm and sunny. What a beautiful ride, lots of twisties. Put this one on your bucket list  of great places to ride. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful country side. Wow it is amazing the trees and the greenery. I grew up in south east Wyo. and we did not have forests like these.

For those who do not know the story of the RUN and Rainelle, I will try to tell it as best I can and I hope I am somewhat accurate. In 1989 the group of bikers led by Gunny (see previous posts) were on their RUN across America and because they did not want to pay a toll they decided to take a different route that led them through Rainelle. A sheriff officer stopped them and asked where they were going and what they were doing. The sheriff then called the school and a very bold teacher let her class out with many flags and gifts to meet the bikers. Well when the bikers encountered the formidable wall of the little kids, their defenses were shattered and much healing took place that day. It has been a synergistic experience since that day 29 years ago today. There is something about little kids that breaks us down to a place where we receive healing into our lives and God of course knew just how to do it. Since that time the RUN holds a very special place in it’s heart for Rainelle and likewise Rainelle for the RUN. The RUN has a 50/50 raffle each morning before meetings and this year Dallas Hageman and his sweet wife Sami have run the raffle and done a great job with it and because of the hard work and of course the donors, the Run was able to make a sizeable offering to Rainelle.

Last fall a devastating flood wiped out part of Rainelle’s town taking the lives of some 20 people and destroying many homes, business and lives. In response to this many good thing came pout of the tragedy. The RUN raised funds across America and were able to buy 250 coats and gloves for the school children. Steve Tincher, (Principal’s husband) and his brother Jeremy Tincher and his son Marquis Frazier along with the wrestling team, went to the community and for 100 days worked tirelessly cleaning up the devastation. What a great group of people. When we talk about this younger generation, lets remember these great kids and use them as an example instead of running down our youth. Amen? Lets also keep them mentioned in our prayers.

So, I thought you would like some of the following excitement of the interaction between the kids and the bikers:

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Route into Rainelle # 1

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Ride into Rainelle number two.

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Going west by all the people at the school.

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Gunny with some of the kiddos

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__________________________________________

Here is a little side note from a friend I have made on this RUN and he sent me this. Enjoy:

Dee Rice <ddr3353@aol.com> Good evening Roger My words with pen (keyboard) won’t come close to the elegance of yours. I’ll throw together this little summary about the visit I had with two patients at the VA hospital. The Chaplin of the hospital was kind enough to take us (myself and “Roadside”)to visit two gentleman. One was being treated for a serous illness and one was there for annual checkup. Heart warming points: The gentlemen with the illness used to ride bikes (a biker) years ago. When asked by the nurse when the pack was arriving if he wanted to watch them arrive, he declined saying it was too depressing to watch. After our visit he was pretty jazzed and wanted to watch the bikes as they left through his hospital room window. The nurse was going to roll his bed in front of his window. Wow! It was a fulfilling time. The other gentleman was wheel chair bound. He was in a car accident in his 20’s and had a neck injury. Being wheel chair bound didn’t stop him! He went to college and received numerous degrees and is a very successful professional businessman. His desire to succeed and overcome his disability was astonishing. Of note: Good on “Roadside”. He did a great job on uplifting these two heroes. I’ll send some pics but likely you won’t be able to post them due to privacy issues.  Thank you sir! Have a good evening. Dee

Dee making a difference for sure!

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One of the people and groups of people that I must highlight is the Chase Team. They do an incredible job. They pick up the “pieces” when our bikes break down. Personally I don’t ever want to need them but if I co, thee guys are the greatest. I was able to meet some of them but do not remember all the names. The leader is called “sweeper”. I trust you get the irony in that name. Here is his BIO.

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Jim "Sweeper" Sloan Last Man Vehicle

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How long have you been doing this
I first heard of RFTW in 2005.  I was retired, divorced and the kids were grown and gone.  I hadn’t ridden a motorcycle in 25 years and wanted be a part of this and found a used Gold Wing.  I started out on the Central Route but soon found that 2 months wasn’t enough to get  myself ready after 25 years without riding.  I dropped out in Needles.
The next year I was in Texas with a new pickup and a fifth wheel trailer when the Southern Route came through.  I tagged along and found that I wanted to do more with these people.
In 2008 I was offered the spot as a Chase Driver and went “All the way”.  I have been there every year since as a Chase Driver and then as the Last Man Vehicle.
Why do you do this
I was in the Navy aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1961 to 1963.  While there we provided air cover for the first “Combat” Marines going into Vietnam.  I never felt part of that war as it was just building up when I was there.  I could see the effect that RFTW had on both the Riders and also the people that come out to urge us on and want to help these people achieve some peace in their lives for the sacrifices that they have made.   
What is your favorite part? My favorite part is the beginning of The Run.  It is being with these friends that I only get to see for a few days each year.  It is the anticipation of overcoming the obstacles that will be put in our way but knowing that we will complete our mission together.

What is your responsibility on the RUN?

I have become more involved over the years.  It starts with assisting with the preparations for our start in Ontario.  Coordinating with the City, Law Enforcement and the Host Hotel. As the High Dessert Coordinator I and my assistant talk to Law Enforcement, Fuel Stations, and the people that make our lunch in Barstow, Ludlow and Needles.  We scout the Route within one week of the departure to make sure all is ready.
When the Run starts I become the Last Man Vehicle and Chase Coordinator.  I follow right behind the bikes while trying to keep track of the Chase Trucks.  I watch for bikes that may drop out and need help and make sure a Chase Truck is sent to them.  I watch for hazards that may approach the pack from behind and advise with the CB. The Advance Team may call if they encounter anything that might affect the “pack” and I relay that to the RC.
My Vehicle marks the back end of the Pack for our Road Guards and Law Enforcement.  Traffic control ends when I pass by.   What is your best memory of the RUN?
There are so many.  As a Chase Driver I picked up and trailered many bikes over the years. It was very rewarding to help them and then see them back in the pack after getting repaired, continuing the mission.  It is meeting the lady that designed the first Vietnam Memorial in the country, or the WWI Veteran or the man that walked to the end of his driveway to watch us go past, while holding the Flag in one hand and his oxygen bottle in the other!  I guess my best memory is the people, those that participate and those that are there to urge us on.  
What would you say to those watching the RUN and reading this article?
That’s easy, “Thank You”.
Do you see why he is a special leader even though he really does lead from the back!
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Here is another leader who does lead from the front and you know what he looks like only you may not know his name. He leads the Staging Crew. A very important job on the RUN as you all know very well. He has about 22 riders who help him do this incredible job and they do it so very well. His name is John Staub and he leads the Staging Crew.

Hi Roger – 2017 will be our 7th year, 5th year ATW.

To give back.  It is something we can still do that adds meaning.

I think the arrival in the towns across America is our favorite part.  To know that we represent those folks who work so hard to support us.

I am the D.C./Arlington Coordinator, and for 2017,the Central Route Staging Team lead.

The first time we attended the ceremony at Gallup, NM.  An incredibly moving experience.

What would you say to those watching the RUN and reading this article?
Remember, we ride for those who can’t.  Remember why we do this and the many sacrifices that go into the Run.  It is so much bigger than just one person.
________________________________________
The end comes tomorrow and it is my best day and something to look forward to, to be able to completed this thing. It is no small task as I am sure you know and whether you come along and ride with us or if you help somewhere or if you wave to us from the streets, YOU ALL are so important to the success of the RUN and may I say a big THANK YOU to all of you.
See you tomorrow.
We will make it fun for sure.
Roger “Pops” Hageman
 
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Central Route 2017 – Day 8 – Corydon, IN to Nitro, WV

Hi Everyone,

Okay this thing is almost over! So long waited and planned for and now it is screaming by and soon will be a distant memory. We only have 2 more days and we will be in DC on Friday night. To all my faithful listeners out there, thank you! I will try to fulfill my promises tonight and tomorrow night and Saturday if needed. This posting has been a “hoot” for me. Not real sure what that means but I have learned much of what not to do and getting a little easier as I go along. Any way, thanks much.

We left our cozy Corydon and headed to Nitro WV. First stop Robley Rex, VMAC. When we arrived there we were greeted by many of the staff who gave us a hearty welcome. We met some special people there and if you have been there before, you may know them.

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At Robley Rex, VA ctr.

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At Robley Rex

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We were able to go up to some of the rooms and visit some of the patients. We had the privilege of talking to some and praying with others. It was a blessing to us for sure.

We headed to Wadi which is a gas stop and at that point I was given the honor of riding “missing man”. For those who do not know what that means, it is a practice that, for example, it a group of planes went out into combat and one or more were shot down and lost, then the returning planes would form up to show two lead planes and in the 2nd row the plane on the right would be missing, signifying that there had been a loss. A similar pattern is used on the RFTW where we leave the 2nd row, right side vacant and we ride that way between each stop and we do this to show that this is what RFTW is really all about. If we are to honor the POW’s and MIA’s then the RUN really needs to be about supporting them. All the other foofaraw is a side issue. Sometimes necessary and sometimes not and it is important to keep the main thing the main thing. I appreciated the opportunity and Tom “Bones” and “Mrs. Bones Pogue do a very, very good sincere job in that position. I knew much more about all of it after talking with them. I rode missing man to the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This is a marvelous place. This sun dial points to the day that the veteran was killed. When there we She had a powerful, passionate message that she delivered in the pouring rain.

I met a sweet lady there who comes now and again to the memorial. Her husband Lieutenant Lowell Reese died over a year ago and he served in Viet Nam and wrote a book from his diary notes that he made during the war. (Should be very interesting reading) her email is carolreese@aol.com.

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Carol Reese

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Lunch at Mtn. Sterling

Trip to Nitro was quick for me as I was able to go ahead of the back by permission and get ready to take some video of the arrival of the pack into Nitro. Again it is in 4 different clips as my technology that I could bring along, Instagram, will only let me download 1 minute at a time. Keep in mind that nearly 40% of the pack is made up of support groups such as RG, Fuel, Staging etc., so what you are seeing is only about 60% of the riders.

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# 1

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# 2

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# 3

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# 4

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They share their thoughts about the RUN.

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Nitro street scene

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Well as you know I have a few promises to keep to you all and I will do my best tomorrow as it is going to be a shorter day going to Rainelle. I will do my best to finish R G’s, Staging, Ambassadors, FNG’s and Fuel Crew and one or two Bio’s too. Thanks for your patience.

Talk tomorrow, take care, and my God richly bless you again. It has been a blessed day for me.

Roger “Pops” Hageman 970-566-1918

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Central Route 2017 – Day 7 – Wentzville, MO to Corydon, IN

What a great country we live in and how privileged we are to do what we did today. Leaving Wentzville this morning but not before we stopped at the first Vietnam War Memorial built first in Wentzville. They had just upgraded the appearance of the memorial and these things can look beautiful, it was nice. The people are without equal in their openness and kindness and overflowing with blessing upon the RUN. The wreath laying ceremony took place and a band played several touching songs. We then pulled out and headed towards Jefferson Barracks, going through St. Louis. I have never seen the interstate so empty as they did a rolling block so that the 4 or 5 lane highway was empty and we had it all to ourselves. I don’t know if the newer riders can really appreciate what took place today about the empty interstate. I remember once going through Kansas City in a 3 or 4 lane road and the lane beside us had a full size swing set that had fallen off and was in the road. Cars and trucks screaming by, horns honking, the radio squawking and tires squealing. We earned our stripes that day. But today, no vehicles at all, what a life, look how far the RUN has come. Lets be thankful for the state police and the protection they give us, wherever we are at and thank God for our great Road Guards. Speaking of Road guards, I was going to finish them up tonight but it will have to wait. Time and other things! Sleep? I will try to do some FNG stories next time too. Thanks for your patience!

Let me jump in here and let you know we visited the first in the nation, Vietnam War Memorial. the town has spent about $100,000.00 on upgrading it and if such a thing can be beautiful, it is. You can see it online and here are few pictures.

From here we worked our way to Jefferson Barracks. We had no one, I mean no one on the interstate with us! Poor souls who had to sit in traffic and wait for us and if any of you readers did, Thanks. Here are some pics. They took us in by the cemetery which I really appreciated. Each grave marker was a soul, a son or daughter, a brother? a Dad? a husband? whose lives were cut short so that others like me could have a life. Quite sobering when you think about it, is it not!

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Jefferson Barracks cemetery.

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From here we went to Corydon Indiana. This, I confess it is in the top ten of my favorites. The entire host of ideal settings come together in this place to make me have a special liking of this place. Thank you dear people of Corydon. I am unsure of which of the many things that you do have one my affections but you do it all so well..

The people on the streets;

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Corydon Ind. headed south on main.

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The fish fry is looked forward to by everyone who has been here before, the setting is beautiful and the people are really amazing!

These pics or videos will help explain; Since my Instagram will only let me go for 1 minute per video, I had to take 4 and they still were not totally done rolling in. Enjoy. Also a quick video to show you the inside of a new facility that was built last year.

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A new facility at Corydon, thanks

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This is supposed to be # 1. Rookies!

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# 3

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# 2

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Video showing pack coming into Corydon park # 1

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There is a Civil War memorial about one mile south of our dinner site at Corydon. It is worth the trip to it. One of our featured Ambassadors, Dirt, used this setting in the past to relay some of his Vietnam War stories that kept us all in great spirits. Here are a few pictures of that site.

A little heart stealer at the airport

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Heart stealer for sure!

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Ambassadors at work.

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Ambassadors Dirt and Dusty at work!

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I would like to share an interview with James “Gunny Gregory” the first man to start RFTW. Some of you may know him but most don’t. Here are some of his thoughts. Because of the time limit on Instagram video of one minute there are four sections.

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Ginny's interview #1, How it started.

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G Interview # 3

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G Int # 2

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Ginny's interview # 1

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Medical Excellence? Ha Ha

Sorry for so little writing today, maybe tomorrow. Going to get some sleep.

Thanks so much for checking in. See you tomorrow.

Roger “Pops” Hageman

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Central Route 2017 – Day 6 – Junction City, KS to Wentzville, MO

Okay friends I have much to cover tonight so I will write fast if you can read fast. (:) I want to spotlight the Ambassadors and the Road Guards and each one could take an hour or two so we shall see. Also read the BIO’s of Eric and Sonja and Dirt, John Grimes

Ambassadors; you may have seen them in their fancy red white and blue hats and arm bands. They are a special group of people to the RUN and they fulfill a very important mission and that is to b e “Ambassadors”. Really aren’t we all to do that, but these folks step it up a notch or two. They will attack any bystander and welcome and give them a pin or sticker and spend time with them to get to know them. Usually they go to the top of the overpasses and greet the people there in order to say “thank you” to them for coming and standing maybe in the rain  etc. just so they can support the riders and their cause. Some folks on the bridge have been coming for almost as long as the RUN has been in existence  and some for only a short time. They work to contact people anywhere they are in order to say thanks to them. It is sending a great message for RFTW and letting our supporters know that we appreciate their support. They have met many Veterans on the bridges, including WWII era, Korean era, Vietnam and others. Many times the Ambassadors go into the schools and talk to the kids.  The leaders are  Eric and Sonja Amman and they do a great job as Ambassador leaders. Dirt and Dusty are also regulars to the gang. (Dusty’s picture not available at the moment)  You most likely know Dirt (John Grimes) if you have ever been on the RUN. he has served as Road Guard and Ambassador for many years Thanks Ambassadors, we really appreciate you! See Dirts’ Person of the Day Bio Here.   Started 2006 this will be my 12th year all the way.  It started out I was only going to do it one time.  After doing it I felt real good inside.  I had been to the wall several times before the run, but never felt the way I did after riding with other veterans and people who support veterans.  That includes the people that support the run in the towns we go thru.  I enjoy everything, sometimes on long legs I get a little tired, but then think of the mission. I think the best part is being with the friends I have met on the run. I am an Ambassador.  I have been a tail gunner, road guard, and one year I had to fill in as assistant platoon leader and  platoon leader, I didn’t really like being a leader but it was necessity.  I feel good being an ambassador, it is great talking to different people at stops and over passes.  Talking at the schools is always a challenge, I don’t know if the young kids get what we are talking about, but I do enjoy their smiles and enthusiasm. Two things stand out was being asked to be a tail gunner and riding into Gallup for the first time with everyone on the main street cheering wanting to shake my hand.  If you see the run and say to your I would like to do it, Then do it, they say the train only go by the station one time.                                                      

Eric & Sonja, See their Persons of the Day Bio below.

2017 will be Eric’s 15th year on the Run and Sonia’s 14th. As with many riders on RFTW, we started out going only part of the way, due to limited vacation days at work – we typically rode west to meet the pack at Salina, KS (once the central Kansas overnight stop) before heading east to Washington D.C. Since 2007, we have gone All The Way. It was also at this time that we decided it was time to start giving back to the Run and we volunteered, with our first positions being on the Fuel Crew. We continued with the Fuel Crew until 2012, when we were asked to be part of the first Central Route Ambassador Team, where we have served since. This year will be our third year leading the team.
The reason we continue to be a part of Run For The Wall is that it’s a tangible means to make people aware that there are still many POW and MIA unaccounted for from America’s wars. As Ambassadors, we also have the opportunity to educate school children of the sacrifices (POW, MIA, KIA, KIA-BNR) that have been made for them and this country, through school programs that we coordinate along the Run’s route. A great way to illustrate sacrifices being made by today’s active military is when we ask kids to raise their hands if they have a family member currently serving – they love to explain which family member it is and which branch they’re serving in!
The duties of the Ambassador Team are to serve as some of the first RFTW riders that folks on bridges and overpasses will meet. Depending on the number of people on a bridge, we’ll stop with two riders, or the entire team, if it is a large group. Our role is first and foremost to thank them for taking time out of their day to honor the pack with flags and banners. We’ll also answer any questions they have about the Run – typically they’ll ask: How far away is the pack?! Often times, we’ll see familiar faces from past Runs on many of the bridges and overpasses.  Some will ask how big is the pack this year, have we had any rain so far, how many years have we done the Run, etc. Similarly, we’ll ask them what brought them out today, how many times have they come out to welcome the pack, and whether they’re ready to get on a bike and come with us! We’ll also make sure we meet the people behind the scenes – those who cook and serve the food, arrange the ceremonies, work at the VA hospitals, contribute for fuel, provide law enforcement, etc. to thank them and give them a small token of the Run’s appreciation.
One of the most important roles of the Ambassador Team is to conduct programs at schools along the Run’s route. As mentioned earlier, these programs allow kids to hear first-hand from veterans some of their experiences in the military. It is this type of setting that also allows students to ask any questions they can think of.
Why we ride. Sonia’s Dad served in the Navy aboard the USS Antietam (CV-36) in the late 1950’s through early 1960’s. She is also riding to honor Keith “Matt” Maupin, U.S. Army Reserves – 724th Transportation Company, based out of Bartonville, IL. SSgt. Maupin was ambushed near Bagdad in 2004. His status was listed as Missing Captured, until his remains were found in 2008. Eric is riding for 1LT Albert F. Ammann, 23rd Infantry Division, who was killed as a result of hostile fire east of Tra Bong in the Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam on 15 September 1970, when the aircraft he was in was shot down.
One of the best memory’s that we have from past Runs is when we do school assemblies. Sonia will typically research soldier and veteran information for the town of each school. She uses this information to help give the students a local perspective of the sacrifices that have been made for them. Three years ago, we were at an elementary school in Gauley Bridge, WV where Sonia’s research really hit home. She was highlighting Ted Christian, a Vietnam KIA from Gauley Bridge and sharing his branch of service, age, dates of service and how he paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. After the assembly, one of the teachers approached Sonia in tears. She went on to tell us how she and Teddy grew up together and were best friends all through school, even sharing the same birthday. She couldn’t believe that someone would remember or even honor Teddy like we did – 47 years later. Hearing Teddy get honored was such a blessing for this teacher and a learning experience for the students in this school. Ted ‘Teddy’ Christian was a 2LT in the United States Marine Corps, who was killed on 12 October 1967 in the Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.
What would you say to those watching the RUN and reading this article… For those reading this and thinking: “This Run sounds too intimidating for me,” please remember that you don’t need to have a motorcycle and you don’t have to go from L.A. to Washington, D.C. to join Run For The Wall. Please join the Run by motorcycle or car, for part of a day or all ten days. Or, simply line the streets or support from an overpass and give recognition to the Run as it passes through your area.
 Lastly, we would like to say to all our veterans, welcome home and thank you for your service.
Road Guards: What would we do without them! It takes a special mindset to be a good road guard. They have to be excellent riders, able to act Quickly, follow directions and be able to change directions at a moments notice. You need to be able to get up at 0 dark thirty, love to ride fast and be able to navigate traffic at higher speeds. Be able to take criticism with a smile, be able to handle errant drivers quickly, have all your directions for the stop or day on your windshield, and oh yes did I mention driving fast when needed.  Be able to communicate on the radio even though you can’t hear the other person very well. Other than that, it is an easy job. From my standpoint and or position, I really appreciate these hard working men and women. Thanks Much! Here are some of them: (Click the pictures to scroll to other pictures)
Seen in this order; Scott Boyd, Jim Jones “JJ“, Kay Quiroga, “Nine Mile”, Ross Curie, “Snake Charmer”, Tom Miller, “Boomps“, 2 of the morning meetings. and Dadbo.
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Mike Owen "Dadbo"

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FNGs Kate and Jay Ervin from Utah

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Roger Ingram is a Road Guard that I have known since I started in 06, He has been a friend and a gentleman. Here is his Bio:

How long have you been doing the RUN?    15 years

Why do you do this?  I had heard about all the motorcycles that would stop in Wentzville, MO. from a friend of mine. About the same time, I read an article in  The Rolling Thunder Parade. The article talked about the amount of motorcycles that were there. I, could imagine that many motorcycles in one group.Well a lot of things come into play, and I, decided to join in Wentzville. What a life changing experience! Going to the Wall, I, stood there and was overcome with the understanding that all these names were not just, names, but were, someone’s, Dad, son, brother, grandson. I, wanted to do, this again. I joined up, Wentzville 4,times.

Meet so many wonderful people. Talking to Pato in DC, he put the idea in my head, to do the hole Run. He told about all the things that I, was missing. Was not sure how I would ever pull it off.

With the Good Lord’s Blessing, I got to do it. That year Sharon and I, were able to join up with the “Bones Brigade”. What an awesome experience. I thought that I, would be able to do this “All The Way” one time, Now, I somehow, have done it 11 times.

What is your favorite part? Seeing people on the overpasses and meeting people all across this nation. Being able to help, in any way I, can.

What is your responsibility on the RUN? I, served on the Fuel Crew for 3 years. (Past) MO. State Coordinator for 8 years and Road Guard 4 years. Road Guard Captain 4 years.

What is your best memory of the RUN? Being able to help the riders, seeing and Meeting all the supporters along the way.

What would you say to those watching the RUN and reading this article? There is nothing else like this world-wide. There are families still waiting for their loved ones to come home, even if it is just bones. They all need to be accounted for.

Roger “Griz” Ingram  Thanks very much!

Photo to follow:

This is Nancy Gross who is the sister of Robert Castle who was KIA along with two friends on three 3/22/1970. Dave Klemme, “Papa Smurf ” was a friend of Robert and the other men and Nancy and Dave were able to meet for the first time today at the lunch stop.

 

We will be featuring some FNG stories plus Roger Ingram’s Bio and his and Pretty Boy’s picture tomorrow. I need the sleep and I don’t have their pictures, go figure. For the two who have  said that you are reading these posts, I sincerely thank you! I hope you enjoy them. Better yet, I wish you could be here to see it all.

God has been good to us today! See you tomorrow. Thanks and may God richly bless each of you!

Roger “Pops” Hageman

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Central Route 2017 – Day 5 – Goodland, KS to Junction City, KS

Our day started with the morning meeting at Goodland in the Tech School gymnasium. After the preliminaries a Church service was started and Curtis Hubbell and Rupert Harold gave some very sobering messages. Curtis retold the story of the approaching storm as we went toward Angel Fire and how the Chaplains and others were praying that God would give us dry roads. The clouds and storms were all in front of us and as we approached them they seemed to dissipate before us. These were no small storms and there were forecasts of impending snow, rain and wind but as we grew closer the clouds gave way to sunshine and no wind. The same was forecast for the next day but our Chaplains and others were praying and we were greeted with a beautiful morning with very dry roads. See earlier posts. Curtis continued to share how we have not because we ask not and He will take care of us because He knows our needs. We just need to ask and believe. Curtis prayed a specific prayer, “give us sunshine on the roads” and God answered. It is a witness to all who took part.

The casual reader may think that they were little storms and things just happened that way and God was not involved. Well I was there and so were some of you and I saw first hand how God changed the outcome. To me that is exciting! Rupert shared how there is power in the name of Jesus and we can trust totally in that name. No other name has stood the test of time and no other name can bring the peace to our lives like the name Jesus can and does.

This sure sounds like some sermons and yes they are and I appreciate them very much as that name of Jesus is special to me as it is the only name that has pulled me out of the wreck of a life and set my feet on solid ground and I on this RFTW Sunday, am so very thankful for Jesus paying the price for me and for you too!

Okay, we loaded up and went about 60 miles to Oakley and had a great lunch prepared by the community. Again this is one of those communities who goes all out to bless the RUN and we are the beneficiaries of their outpouring. Thanks much.

Along the way, we met a new FNG rider, Patty,  and her father who are from Denver. Today was her first day.

On to Junction City (JC). Here we go again, this place really out does itself every year. The entry streets are lined with beautiful flags and [people 2 and 3 deep, all waving and cheering for the vets in the pack. It brings tears to our eyes every time we enter here. For the FNG’s it was an new special experience which was moving for all of them. Again, you just had to be there to experience it, it was special and I so appreciate the love that is behind all the preparations for this event.

Mayor Phyllis Fitzgerald oversaw the presentation of colors and the pledge of allegiance. Next Winky from RFTW was presented a painting of the Heritage Park Memorial.

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Winky with the painting.

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The special speaker was Brigadier General Patrick D. Frank from “The Big Red One”, based in Junction City. He said many interesting and informative things. This is the 100th year of the formation of the Big Red One. Some of the men in our group were connected to this base. It has a long and inspiriting history, being the first in WWI and WWII and now headed back to Iraq to retake Mosul. We pray they succeed mightily.

After his speech, he did something that I have not seen done before and I am so glad to see it and I rejoice that our military is finally reaching out to the Vietnam Vets in a bigger way and being active in welcoming them home. Isn’t that what we are all about. It made me jump for joy and I am so proud of you who have been there and have come home and that you could be honored in a stetting like this. I am overjoyed that you are honored as it has been a long time coming. I thank the Lord for this! For each Vietnam Vet he greeted them and gave them a pin thanking them for their service and welcoming them home. There were lots of tears in many of the Vets. It was a very special time for all that were there. For me, the trip could end now as this is what our country needs to do to honor the men and women who did come home and who served their country well.

Please enjoy these pictures and I think they will speak for themselves.

This lady Michelle and others were thanked and given plaques for their service for this event.

General Frank

Mayor Fitzgerald

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Mayor Fitzgerald

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Color Guard

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Color Guard

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The pin presented was a great thing and I think also some were thankful that their country was acknowledging them.

Last thought, the two very similar names on this wall, could they be related as a Dad and Son or? Causes one to slow down a little and remember and surely to be thankful for those who paid the price that I did not have to pay and most likely I could not have paid it. And since this is Sunday may I say too that that is just what Jesus did for me, He paid the price for my sin that I could not pay.

Hope you are enjoying the experience of the RUN and for those who can’t be here we miss you and hope to see you soon or next year and thanks for reading and I will see you tomorrow with boots and helmet on. This has been a good day and I thank God for His goodness and mercy.

Roger “Pops” Hageman   Read the Bio for Curtis below.

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:47 AM, Curtis Hubbell <bikerdaddy@hotmail.com> wrote:

Here is a bio submitted by Curtis Hubbell  about one month ago. He is our Rider of the Day.

How long have you been doing this? Can’t remember my actual FNG year, but I think this is about my 15th year.
Why do you do this?
I have a deep respect for all those who have been willing to serve and fight for my freedom.  I am also passionate about sharing the good news that God loves us and can help make every aspect of our lives better.  I am a full time Chaplain to Bikers and their families and feel RFTW allows me a great way to do my job.  Chaplains know that a building is not necessary to provide opportunities for ministry.  I feel that my participation in RFTW is a way that I can serve the biker and veteran communities at the same time.  RFTW is also a big part of my family traditions.  My children and grandchildren are very aware of the true cost of freedom.  It has been an honor to introduce them to some very courageous men and women who serve as great examples and inspiration.
What is your favorite part?
Very hard to say, but I think I love meeting in California the best.  It now feels like a family reunion.
What is your responsibility on the RUN?
I serve as Senior Chaplain and lead the Chaplain Corps.
What is your best memory of the RUN?
Taking all three of my children “All the way” the year they turned 13.  This was seen as a right of passage into adulthood.
What would you say to those watching the RUN and reading this article?
There are many ways to support RFTW.  I have not met many people who regret getting involved.  For those wanting to ride in RFTW it is just as challenging as it is rewarding so don’t make the decision lightly.  If you are able to volunteer or just wave a flag along the roadside it’s always a great thing to say thanks to a veteran.  If you know how to pray, please remember RFTW as we travel across the USA.
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Central Route 2017 – Day 4 – Angel Fire, NM to Goodland, KS

Ok, somewhere in space I lost my first post so I am starting over at 10:30 to try again. A long day but a very great day in things we have seen. The canyon out of Eagles Nest was spectacular. The fog was lifting, the sun was shining and every tree and blade of grass was sparkling to greet us with a beautiful morning surprise. The Chaplains had been praying and Winky planned it good as we had no wet roads and smooth sailing. Thank you Lord for the good roads. Here is a short video that shows the snow on the ground that fell the night before and yet early the next morning the roads were nice and dry. Icy roads in a canyon with 400+ bikes with some drivers who have never driven on ice would not have been pretty.

We stopped in Cimarron to visit the people there and to see the Cimarron Area Citizens Memorial. Anita, who has lived there most of her life, introduced herself and she is the cochairman of the Cimarron Veterans Group. We so much appreciate their consistent support.

From there we went to Raton, NM and were treated to a performance by the Colfax County Young Marines who did an outstanding  job. Thanks guys

Then we were off like a herd of turtles to Fountain Co. to have lunch at the Fir Station. What a sparkling clean building all ready for some 450 bikers who were hungry.

At each place we have gone to for lunch and or fuel and or lodging, we are always treated with great respect and honor and those who are serving us, please don’t think that we don’t appreciate all that you do. Your service to us is a precious thing in our eyes and it is humbling to us that you are always  so kind and helpful and generous in your outpouring of your resources to bless the RFTW riders. THANK YOU SO MUCH and may God richly bless each of you.

Next we went to Limon for fuel and in this short video you can get a glimpse of the well oiled machine that our great fuel crew does every time we get fuel.

Next a short 100 miles to Goodland K. A place that is a favorite among many others. A great meal was prepared and enjoyed by all.

Two special ladies, among many that helped there are Dawn Jolly, and Gwen Mai, City Commissioner. (on my left). Dawn had warmly greeted us with hugs and great food for many years now and it is a delight to see her here again. Richard Liess, an American Legion leader gave us a sobering presentation of the Remembrance Table. I will include its description at a later date. Thanks you Richard for the grim reminder, we need to be reminded of those who have paid the ultimate price so that we can go on living. It was special to me!

I am inserting this after the fact a few days later until I got all my facts straight. Richard presented this to us during the meeting and I want to follow up here.

The following tribute to MIA and KIA soldiers was read:

Tonight we have some honored guests who cannot be with us. Please direct your attention to the place setting in front of the podium as a physical symbol of the thousands of American POW/MIAs still unaccounted for from all foreign conflicts. A reminder for us all to spare no effort to secure the release of any American prisoners from captivity, the repatriation of the remains of those who died bravely in defense of liberty, and a full accounting of those missing in action.

-The table is small, symbolizing the helplessness of one person alone against his oppressors.

-The table cloth is white for the purity of their intentions in responding to their Country’s’ call to arms.

-The bread plate where a slice of lemon rests to remind us of their bitter fate.

-Salt, symbolic of the tears shed by those who wait.

-The single red rose in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones who have kept faith, awaiting the return of our POW/MIAs.

-The yellow ribbon, tied so prominently around the vase, represents the yellow ribbon worn upon the lapels and breasts of thousands who bear witness to our Nations’ unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our POW/MIAs.

-The candle is the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, out of the hands of the oppressors and into the arms of a grateful Nation.

-The glass is inverted for they cannot toast with us tonight.

-The chair is empty, for they are not here.

Remember, we all called them comrades, brothers, sisters and friends. Do not let them be forgotten for surely they have not forgotten us.

After the above reading a moment of silence was taken. Quite a somber moment and one that touched all of our hearts…………………..WE RIDE FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T.

 

Until tomorrow, Sunday, have a great ride, go to the Church services we are having in the AM and take care.

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Central Route 2017 – Day 3 – Gallup, NM to Angel Fire, NM

Well this is one for the books. We started in cold weather again with ice on our bike seats but no ice on the road. As we went further east to the mountains there was about an inch or more on the ground and the trees. It was a very beautiful site to see, pretty cold but beautiful. When we made it to the Route 66 Casino we were all chilled to the bone and we finally got warm again at our stop at the Sante Fe Harley Davidson. That turned out to be a great place also as they were most hospitable. Then we bundled up, as it was to get rainy and be cold, and we headed to Angel Fire. Turns out it was not very cold and no rain and we had a great ride. (If you have not taken the ride to and from Angel Fire, you might put it on your bucket list) The people are so hospitable here, they go above and beyond to make us all feel so welcome and tell us to come again any time. The Vietnam War Memorial here is a must visit and if you can take some time as  it is 2nd only to the Wall in DC. The movie “Letters from Home” shown here, has always been hard to watch  but it also is a must see. It deals fairly honestly with the culture and the war that was. It is a peaceful place.  Tomorrow, who knows, it is almost 8:00 PM and it is snowing, so?   I knew I should have bought the optional snow plow for my Can Am.  Winky will address the situation in the morning and we pray it will not be as forecast, 400 two wheel bikes on ice in a canyon, now that will be something to tell our kids about, and the medics and the insurance companies and.

I had promised to give you a “Rider of the Day” when I first started and the days are screaming by so I may load up on some of  them as they are too good to not do. There are so many good people on the RUN and I cannot do all of you so I have chosen ones that I know. I think highly of and have great respect for them. I have seen all of them in action over the years and they all have a great heart for the purpose of the RUN. Their Bios are written by them and it will give you insight into their lives

Today we will do TWO.

Our names are Mike and Delores McDole. Better known as Tanker and Girl Friend. This year will mark our 18th year of being on the RUN, 17 of which have been all the way. In 2015 we missed when Girl Friend caught a severe case of food poisoning and we were unable to go on our annual pilgrimage to the Wall. Both of us have been in different aspects of the RUN including Central Route Coordinator 06, BoD 2007 – 2010, Sit reps, Route finances and platoon leaders for the last several years.

Our first year was 2000, the result of much agonizing on my part whether it would be a positive thing, for me since returning from my tour of duty in the U S Army in Vietnam, I did not talk about the war and wanting nothing to do with anyone who did.  It was the one year of my life I tried desperately to forget except for the birth of our first daughter Paula (Hugger) 8 months into my tour. Our participation in 2000 was the result of a good friend’s encouragement who had been on the RUN the previous two years. He and Girl Friend believed it would me connect with other Veterans and as a result start the long overdue healing process. Much to my surprise they were correct. Since our participation in 2000, we feel compelled to return each year and help others, especially FNG’s feel welcome and supported in their personal journey with us. The RUN offers a unique opportunity to experience the patriotism that exists across the heartland of our great country. From the countless volunteers in small town who prepare meals and care for us, to the hundreds of people who line the sidewalks and overpasses waving flags, to the many businesses, who provide free fuel stops to the one person standing alone along in the middle of a rain storm saluting as we pass by, you will be blessed and emotionally moved on every leg of the journey.

To those of you reading these sit reps and have not yet been on this amazing journey. we encourage you to join us for what promises to be an unforgettable experience that will change your life. To those of you who have been with us in the past and are reading these sit reps but were not able to make the run this year, we look forward to you joining us in the future.                                         God Bless,            Tanker and Girl Friend.

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Girl Friend & Tanker

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Short history of Memorial.

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___________________________

Tom “Bones” Pogue and Denise “Mrs. Bones”, Pogue.

1.) I’ve been on The Run since 2002 when I joined for 1 day and 1 night, expecting that to be a one time experience. In 2003 and 2004 I increased my time with the Run but still did not do the entire trip.  I then went ATW in 2005 expecting that would be the only ATW trip, but have gone ATW every year since.

2.)I originally did the Run to show support and respect for our Military who were in the midst of the Mideast conflict following 9-11.  Once on the Run I saw the large number of Vietnam Vets participating and it was very clear how much the “Welcome Home” they got during the ride meant to them.  It was obvious this motorcycle trip had tremendous positive impacts on lives. I continue to do the Run because there are still many Vets who haven’t gotten a Welcome Home and I want to do my little part to help this mission continue so the opportunity exists for others to hear those words.

3.). My favorite part of the Run is also the part I hate the most.  At the conclusion of a Missing Man tribute leg when I am face to face with a Gold Star parent who just rode in honor of their child who was KIA, I have the opportunity in a private setting to convey my appreciation for the loss they have endured. I hope that I can convey the sincerity of all RFTW participants our sense of gratitude and that our continuing the mission in a small way reminds our country to “NEVER FORGET”.

4.)As the Missing Man Coordinator it is my job to interview, vet, and assign individuals to ride as a Missing Man Escort.  The Escort rides in the lead formation and the position immediately to their right is left unoccupied.  That “empty” spot is for the person who is being honored.  My duties require me to set a dignified tone prior to the Escort leg and council the Escort at the conclusion of their ride, and often times for the remained of the Run.

5.). My best memory of the Run(s) goes back to question #3.  In Junction City KS I had the post ride with the Escort who was a Gold Star Father.  We had just ridden through several blocks of hundreds of people holding American flags, all waving in the breeze.  It was a beautiful sight.  I expected this father to be overcome with sadness, remembering his son, reliving the initial pain of those words delivered, KIA.  But his demeanor was just the opposite; it was serene, but also radiant at the same time.  He told me that he and his wife’s biggest fear was that their son would be forgotten.  As he looked past me towards all the hundreds of people with their flags, with tears in his eyes he said, “it looks like that won’t happen” Whenever I get weary on the Run and think I can’t continue on, I remember that scene and know that we have to continue to provide this opportunity for other Gold Star families to have the same experience as this Dad did.

I hope  you enjoyed reading about these leaders on this great RUN.

Please pray for our safety!

Until tomorrow, Roger “Pops” Hageman, Sit Rep, Central Route

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Central Route 2017 – Day 2 – Williams, AZ to Gallup, NM

Wow, what a day! We only had 200+ miles to go today and it was an easy run. When we awoke in Williams there was frost on everything, including our bike’s seats and windshields and the sun took it’s sweet time melting it off.

First morning of the raffle rouser doing the 50/50 and Dallas and company raised about $800.00 for the Rainelle  school.

Let me here address the FNG pins for a moment. FNG stands for Funny New Guy (or Gal) and it is given to everyone on their first sign up and it is to be worn where easily seen by all. It is a ticket to many advantages such as lots of hugs by “old timers”,  some times a pass to the head of the chow line and it is a symbol of great triumph when you get to the wall the first time. When there, get someone close to you (perhaps a platoon leader who put up with you the whole way) to in pin it and turn it upside down. It becomes a badge of honor and you will have completed what many people never get the chance to do even once, so enjoy.

One of my jobs as sit rep, I think, is to bring you stories that give you some insight into the “spirit” of the RUN. You can get all the facts about where we went and the places we visited and the miles we travel from the web site. So, one thing you can’t get is Run Life stories.

Here are a few: I was almost overwhelmed today as we headed out of Williams this morning thinking about all the people involved in this event that are really special people. On the CB radio we hear road names like Grizz, Dadbo, Smoke, Sunshine,EZ, Bones and Mrs. Bones, Tunnel Rat, Pretty Boy, and many others. These are just a few of the ones who make this RUN happen and they do it all so easily that it “looks” like a well oiled machine, although we know it is not always that way. These are dedicated people who give of their lives not just for a few weeks but some all year long to make this thing happen. Selfless people who would rather see us have an enjoyable time than be on their own pursuits. I think that is really amazing and worthy of our applause!!!!!!!!!!!

Our breakout platoon stopped at the Winslow 911 memorial just south of Winslow. It was sobering for me to see. Twisted metal that came from our buildings and a flag that flew over the Pentagon. It was a stark reminder of what was done, of the high price that was paid and is still being paid in soldier’s blood, families and certainly will be paid in the future. It is why we can never forget. We have a great country and we don’t need to apologize for it and those who want to tear it down must be stopped.

On to Holbrook, only about 40 miles and oh the great joy we had watching the children wave and get excited as we drove by. There were about 3 schools that had let there kids out to stand along the street or fences and we were able to connect in some small way. Our Ambassador platoon does more than just ride by as they go into the schools and set up times to talk to the kids about the wars and the prisoners that are not home and when it is done, it makes a great impact. See, here is another example of dedication, Sonja and Eric Ammon are dedicated leaders of the Ambassador platoon, who plot and plan all year just to be able to meet with the kids if only for a few minutes. This is what makes this RUN special and what helps make this country great!

As we were getting ready to go inside and have our lunch, a lady (Collene)  leaned over the wall outside and told me that last year when we were at this location, she was in the cemetery next door burying her brother, Donald Martinez who was a marine and she has another brother, Ronald Martinez. What she really appreciated is that some of our group last year left the meeting room and went next door to put some special flags on his grave. I think that is pretty cool. I am glad for the moment that God brings us to that I can meet people like her.

The last stop is Gallup NM. We were greeted for over 8 miles of dear people along the sides of the road that were waving flags and cheering for our men and women. We were also escorted into town by NM State motorcyclist and we will also have them for all day tomorrow. They really move quickly when they need to and me thinks it is somewhat of a game for them.

Gallup, NM. is a favorite for many of the riders because of the Navajo Nation’s presentation for us. The program was put on by the Black Creek Gourd Society. The Navajos believe the warrior is the top of the ladder in their world. In English warriors translates to soldiers and the Navajos show and incredible respect for the Veterans on the Run For The Wall. At one part of the program they ask the riders to join them. It is quite a site to see 200 bikers in leathers doing their dance. Comical maybe but oh so very sincere. They show us a level of respect that few people understand. I dare say if you were not there we could not explain it. They are very serious about the concept of our soldiers and their warriors are one. (Last paragraph by Dan Koster)

Okay, until tomorrow, happy trails!

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The snow receipt in the morning.

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Winslow memorials

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Colleen

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Video Riding into red rock park Gallup New Mexico

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Passing by Holbrook school

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Central Route 2017 – Day 1 – Ontario, CA to Williams, AZ

May 17, 2017. The first fay of our journey and it was a great one. Beautiful weather to start before the sun came up in Ontario and we were crowding into the parking lot just north of the Radisson. The excitement was electric and all of us were ready to get started as we renewed old memories of past RUNs and looked forward to this one. We left the site at 8:00 just after the presentations and a brief fly over showing us the missing man formation. Harry “Attitude” Steelman,  gave his last speech as President as part of the ceremonies and presented to us the current BoD members. After a short time of prayer we were off like a herd of turtles. We quickly made our way to Barstow and then on to Ludlow and on to Needles. The weather was very good with a high of about 85 degrees, which is much better that the usual 100 degree heat. The people of Needles came out in force in their usual hospitality and had a good nutritious meal and some ice cream and cookies to top it off.  We had a  performance by the Fort Mojave Tribal band. Dr. Edward Paget, M.D. is mayor of the City of Needles and he and others made us feel very welcome and appreciated. I think the thing that we appreciate the most is of course the great food but the genuine hospitality is very treasured by all of us.

We covered a little over 400 miles today and we arrived in Williams Arizona at about 7:00 PM, doing a short parade for the great people of Williams and then on to the Hall. We were cold and very hungry and their great homemade food really hits the spot. Two ladies that were part of the Ladies Legion Auxiliary were Dorrie and Katrina.

See you tomorrow, Roger “Pops” Hageman

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Mayor of needles California, Edward Paget.

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Dorrie and Katrina

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