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Central Route 2017 – Day 0 – Ontario, CA

This last day before the RUN has been one filled with meetings, meetings and more meetings, so necessary for a smooth operation. Just to list a few; staging, road guards, platoon leaders, ambassadors, FNG’s, hydration teams, cooks, well maybe not cooks yet, but someday. In the past years that I have been on this RUN it always leaves on time and always arrives in Washington DC within an hour or two of its appointed arrival, keeping mind that it is all 100% volunteer with no paid staff or leadership. Amazing but maybe not so amazing when you look a little deeper into who makes up this dedicated group. Many vets and many non-vets, like myself, young and mostly older men and women who work together as “fighting” unit just to make it possible for anyone who joins, to be able to make the entire RUN and experience the healing and blessings that take place. It is really an amazing thing that cannot be adequately put into words or described. I will do my very best to place you here each day but my efforts will fail because it is one of those events that “you just have to be there” to really appreciate it.
We will be having the Marine band here later in the day and the RUN dinner which takes place at 5:00 PM.
In one of the leadership meetings today, a former Tail Gunner Richard Young was honored by his former platoon. Richard passed away last October and his two daughters and one son came today and received a standing ovation from all the leaders and his former platoon. They were given new platoon hats with the inscription on them that read, “In Honor of Richard Yong”. His family members; Thomas Young, Alisa Young and Kimberlee Chatigny.

Another exciting event that happened tonight was the RFTW Dinner. So many were present at the meeting and many received plaques in honor of their service on the Board of Directors and other service to RFTW. One event that stood out was the honoring of Ken Kraft who was an injured Iraq soldier. He was given a really cool Road Glide Harley made into “Harley Trike” by Thunderstruck, a bike build company from Oregon. Many, many people donated the needed funds and also through a lottery sponsored by Jenny and J Graftner and some like Mike Cash donated the funds necessary to complete the build. Ken was very excited and very thankful and has committed himself to be ready to make the RUN next year. We very much look forward that Ken, May God Speed!

One more event that I know you will appreciate is my happen chance to meet this lovely lady, Lona D. Bader. She is a GOLD STAR MOM who lost her son Staff Sgt. Daniel Bader on 11/2/03 in Fallujah Iraq. She also has a son, Retired Captain David Bader. Lona will be traveling along with the :Mid Route”. We thank you Dear Lona for the great sacrifice that was made on our behalf and for his great country.

Until Tomorrow,
Carry on! Enjoy the pictures.
Roger Hageman

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Central Route 2017 – Pre Run Post

Before the big day!

Hello Run For the Wall riders. This is Roger “Pops” Hageman, Sit Rep writer for 2017. I have been given the honor of following along on this ride across the United States of America, and hopefully I can give you a small glimpse into this incredible journey. This is the 29th year that veterans and non-veterans alike start in Ontario, California and ride motorcycles to Washington D.C. We will arrive the Friday before Memorial Day where we will conduct several ceremonies at “The Wall”, a laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a group picture on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial which marks the end of our Mission. So, hold on to your seat or get a good grip on your handlebars and come along with us and enjoy the ride as we experience the “Greatest Ride in America”. You may contact me at roger.hageman@yahoo.com or rftwsitrep17@gmail.com.

A little about me. I joined the RUN in  2006 and have gone all the way or partially every year except one. It has been a life changing event for me and my son, who is in charge of the 50 50 fund raiser that you will hear every morning. I have served as a platoon leader and assistant leader, ambassador for 4 years and now the sit-rep for the Central Route. .Each day I will feature one or more “People of the Run”. These individuals, among many others, have made significant contributions to the successful operation of Run For the Wall and as they are very important part, I believe you will greatly appreciate them and their contributions. The RUN from my perspective may be different than some others but I will endeavor each day to bring out some highlights as I see them. I hope you will come along with me and that you will enjoy the ride.

Our Mission Statement is:

-To promote healing of ALL veterans and their families and friends.

-To call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. (POW/MIA)

-To honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars.

-To support our military personnel all over the world.

Our philosophy is: To strive to maintain a safe, supportive, and private atmosphere in which all participants can reflect and heal on their journey to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. in hopes that they can return home to a new beginning. And that others who help in this endeavor will have a renewed appreciation for the men and women in uniform and of their sacrifice and commitment to this great America.

Our Goals include:

-Guiding the participants safely across America so that they may find healing, dignity, encouragement, and purpose through the mission of the RUN.

-Educate future generations as to the importance of accountability in wartime actions, emphasizing that no one should be left behind. Each year our Ambassador teams visit schools and share with the pupils the history of and importance of the Veterans in our society.

– To give Riders and America an opportunity to express support and connect with the Veterans and riders of RFTW.

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Every year we hear of another soldier from Viet Nam (or even World War II) whose remains have now been identified through the advances in forensic technologies. Imagine the closure that a family would have when their loved one finally comes home. We truly believe that the “noise” we make toward Washington has helped in this endeavor.

So many things happen during The Run that are hard to imagine and harder yet to explain. At a past dinner, two Viet Nam veterans were sitting down to dinner when one looked at the other and said “no way”. Sure enough, the two had fought in Viet Nam 48 years ago and had never seen each other sense only to be going on the Run For The Wall, now together!

Wednesday is the big day! We will stage at 6:30 a.m. and ksu (kick stands up)(except for Can-Am riders) at 8:05. It is the day we have all been looking forward to with great anticipation and excitement.

Roger Hageman

Central Route Sit Rep