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.
Carry on! Enjoy the pictures.