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Midway Route December 2022 Newsletter

Midway Rout Coordinator News

My name is Jerry Wilkins, and I have been honored by the Run For The Wall (RFTW) Board of Directors by being appointed as the 2023 Midway Route Coordinator. This will be my first newsletter, with many more to follow.

I ride this year in memory of my Father, my Hero, Robert B. Wilkins, WW II Army Veteran.

In early 2004 Glen “Wombat” Waggoner, 2019 Midway Route Coordinator, told me about Run For the Wall. I participated in 2004. Upon my return I told my wife, Patti, I had participated in an event greater than anything else I have ever been involved in. I am not a Veteran. I knew in my heart and soul; this is a manner in which I could say thank you to those who have given so much to our Freedoms. Due to work restrictions, I was not able to go All The Way until 2011. Since that time, I have volunteered 2010 – 2013 as Central Route Fuel Team, Tailgunner and Fuel Team Lead, 2014 – 2019 Midway Route as Fuel Team Tailgunner and Fuel Team Lead, Asst. Advance Team Lead, Advance Team Lead, 2020 – and 2022 Midway Assistant Route Coordinator.

The Midway Route is not just a route but is a FAMILY. We have developed a family culture over the years and I intend to carry on that tradition. We don’t just say the words; it is part of our culture. We have a “servant leadership” that is there to help you get safely across the country. Everyone, whether in a leadership position or not, is here to answer your questions. The route is about you and the Mission and not about leadership. Everyone’s safety is of utmost importance.

Earlier this month, Midway Route long time supporters Bill and Cathy Clark, Merchandise Lead and Quartermaster informed RFTW they would not be able to participate in 2023. I would like to personally thank Bill and Cathy for many years of Service to Run For The Wall. For those of you interested in taking over this awesome task and giving back to the Run, feel free to contact me directly at jerry.wilkins@rftw.us

Midway Route needs you to consider volunteering to help with both Staging and Promotions teams. The Staging process will be changed for 2023. Staging has come into the modern era with changes to the platoon placement markings making the job physically easier and less stressful. We will improve hydration opportunities and provide medical support. Staging is such an important aspect of daily organization on the route and we need your help. Please contact Gina Cutrer by email at gina.cutrer@rftw.us or call her directly at 225-202-5328. If you would like to volunteer for any position on Midway Route, please fill out the Volunteer Request Form (CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER). Between now and May 2023 there will be openings on different teams. By volunteering now, you will be on the ready list to be asked to join a team.

It is my Honor and Privilege to announce Don “Ten-A-See” King as Assistant Route Coordinator, Leo “Rucksack” Rachmel as Road Guard Captain and Ryan ‘Pipes” Long as Assistant Road Guard Captain. I know each of them personally and we all ride for the Mission.

Hope that all MIA and POW’s find closure
Honor all KIA
Healing for our Veterans and the 22 per day

Mission First.

Jerry “Corp” Wilkins
“Service Before Self”
RFTW 2023 Midway Route Coordinator
Email- jerry.wilkins@rftw.us
Four Routes, One Mission!

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Midway Route Coordinator News Brief – December 2022

Midway Rout Coordinator News

As your Midway Route Coordinator I am proud to announce Don “Ten-A-See” King as the new Assistant Route Coordinator for Midway Route 2023.

I am also pleased to announce that Leo “Rucksack” Rachmel will be the Road Guard Captain for Midway Route 2023.

We are all working hard to make RFTW XXXIII the best it can be in 2023! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season. Is it May YET?!?!?!!!!!

Your Midway Route Coordinator,

Jerry “Corp” Wilkins

P.S. If you haven’t registered for the 2023 Run for the Wall yet, what are you waiting for? Register today. Rates go up on Feb 1st!

*Also, RFTW Swag make GREAT holiday gifts! CLICK TO SHOP RFTW

2023 RFTW Long Sleeve Tee
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Midway Route RC Update From the BoD

RFTW Rider Survey

The Board of Directors wishes to share that Jim “Bruzer” Bruzewski has, for personal reasons, stepped down as the RC for the Midway Route for 2023.  Bruzer has long dedicated his free time to advance the mission of RFTW, and as we move forward with our 2023 planning, his zest and energy will be missed.  Jerry Wilkins agreed, and the BoD has approved, his appointment as Midway RC.  Jerry will nominate his ARC and the BoD will act on that nomination as soon as possible.

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Midway Route November 2022 Newsletter

HAPPY BIRTHDAY UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

With that said, I do want to celebrate the birthdays of all branches of service and hope that all of you have a meaningful VETERANS DAY. We need to continually honor our veterans every day of the year and this gives us a special day to honor them. All have given so much to assure that you and I have the freedoms that we do. It takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication and many have suffered individually as a result of that service and dedication. A great deal of you return home and you do not feel the same as when you left, and many of you are not the same person while still on active duty. These symptoms had different names over several centuries and in 1980 the behavioral health community developed diagnostic criteria and officially recognized POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD). The United States military and the Department of Veteran Affairs have developed programs to more effectively help active-duty personnel and veterans. Even with the availability of these programs, there are thousands of individuals still suffering. I am speaking in terms of military personnel here, however, PTSD can affect anyone. In several newsletters, my intention is to create more awareness about this problem. Part of the Run for the Wall mission is to “promote healing among all veterans, their families and friends”. The information presented below is from the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress which is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs: 

 

“(The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress) We are the world’s leading research and educational center of excellence on PTSD and traumatic stress.

PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening or traumatic event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event (also called “trauma”). At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time. If it’s been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. Some factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.

Personal factors—like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender—can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.”

 

I want to thank Mike “Papa Mike” Cash and his foundation, OPERATION FAMILY, for providing us with this information and guidance on this very important issue.

Next month we will publish more on this subject.

                              —————————————————-

On another note, Midway Route needs you to consider volunteering to help with both staging and promotions teams. The Staging process will be changed for 2023. Staging has come into the modern era with changes to the platoon placement markings making the job physically easier and less stressful. We will improve hydration opportunities and provide medical support. Staging is such an important aspect of daily organization on the route and we need your help. Please contact Gina Cutrer by email at gina.cutrer@rftw.us or call her directly at 225-202-5328. If you would like to volunteer for any position on Midway Route, please fill out the Volunteer Request Form (CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER). Between now and May 2023 there will be openings on different teams. By volunteering now, you will be on the ready list to be asked to join a team. 

 

I am pleased to announce the Midway Route will have two fundraiser activities for this coming year that were successes last year. Our Promotions Team Leaders for 2023 are Gina “LeSpice” Cutrer and Randy “Mullet” Olgion. The first is the HOTEL DRAWING. This was an awesome fundraiser in 2022 and we are doing it again. The prize is $1000 which is approximately the amount it will take to pay for most of your hotel expenses or anything you need. The money raised from this drawing will go to support our adopted schools and our fuel stops. 

The cost per ticket is $10.00 or you can purchase seven tickets for $50.00! If you purchase $100.00 worth, you will get 20 tickets and $150 gets you 30 tickets. ANYONE CAN PARTICIPATE. You do not have to be a registered rider for Run for the Wall. You can be a non-participant. You can sit at home or be on the beach in Cabo. 

                                   DRAWING IS JANUARY 1, 2023

If you would like to purchase HOTEL DRAWING tickets, please make a check out to RFTW Midway Route and send it to:

Gina Cutrer
33538 Nancy Drive
Walker, LA 70785

You may also use Venmo:

@Gina-Cutrer-1

 

Our next fundraiser is the SUPER BOWL DRAWING. It is early, however, we are beginning to make an effort to raise the money to support the fuel cost for every rider on the Midway Route this year by conducting various fundraising activities. So, we are offering a Super Bowl Football Board opportunity to support the Midway Route fuel costs. Winners will be receiving a gift card to use during the 2023 RFTW ride. 

Buy a Super Bowl 2023 square for $25.00 or $100.00 buys you 5 squares or buy as many entries as you like! The winning square at the end of each Quarter will receive a $100.00 Walmart Gift Card. End of game score is the fourth quarter, no overtime. 

The Board will be filled out from the top to bottom and left to right based on the time and date of the receipt of your entry and payment. The numbers will be drawn from the hat after a board is complete, so there will be no particular order. All entries must be received by 31 January 2023. 

How to enter:

  1.  Send check made out to RFTW Midway Route to:

                      Gina Cutrer
                      33538 Nancy Drive
                      Walker, LA 70785

  1.   Or pay via:

                      WWW.VENMO.COM (APP) to @Gina-Cutrer-1

Once the Board is filled and numbers assigned, the Board will be emailed prior to game start and posted to RFTW Facebook.  

Those receiving gift cards will be contacted the day after the game to ensure we have the correct contact information for mailing the gift card to you.

Thank you all for your continued generosity in this fundraising effort and GOOD LUCK. We appreciate and need your support for the Midway Route. If you want to help but do not want to participate in these drawings then please send a check to Run for the Wall-Midway Route to Gina Cutrer at her address listed above. Please do note “Midway Route” on your check.

 

Please register for the RFTW if you have not done so (CLICK HERE TO REGISTER). Registration information helps the Midway Route in planning all the details necessary for a successful ride. If you register early, you save money. Registration is set up on a graduated system where the later you register, the more it costs. A good incentive plan for registering early. 

  

NEVER GIVE UP

Jim “BRUZER” Bruzewski

Midway Route Coordinator 2023

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Midway Route RC Newsletter — October 2022

A part of our Run for the Wall mission is to “support our military personnel” and to “promote healing among all veterans and their families and friends”. As an opportunity to fulfill these tenants, we are excited to announce that Midway Route is visiting the US Army Installation in Lawton, Oklahoma known as Fort Sill, the FIRES Center of Excellence. For those of you who may not know, Fort Sill is the home of Air Defense and Field Artillery for the US Army and the only US Marine Corps Field Artillery MOS School. Today Fort Sill is one of only four US Army basic combat training locations turning nearly 17,000 civilians into soldiers every year.  Plans for the various activities there are all completed or nearly completed. We should have a full law enforcement escort from the time we enter Oklahoma to the time we leave Oklahoma. We hope to have active duty military personnel from Fort Sill ride with us as registered riders. What an honor that would be. Often civilians and military personnel living on or near large military installations in the U.S. become less sensitized as to how important their roles are in the big picture. We hope to bring more awareness to their importance in our daily lives and to honor them for their service to our country. A few of the planned activities are: The Tribes located within the Fort Sill area are planning to participate during our lunch at the Field Artillery Museum providing the Honor Guard, the presentation of an authentic tribal dance and, finally, the blessing of our bikes. A couple of Outreach activities are also in the planning process.

This year, we are blessed to have resources available to us at Fort Sill to plan and execute this event. This has been a collaborative effort with personnel at Fort Sill and the Tribes in the area and the City of Lawton community leaders along with our Oklahoma State Coordinators. I would also like to announce that Mike “Heavy” King has accepted the position as Mazz’s Assistant State Coordinator for Oklahoma. Thank all of you for your willingness to volunteer for the challenge of exploring and planning for new and exciting opportunities for our riders and to keep the mission viable. We hope to build on the possibilities of keeping the Run for the Wall relevant and meaningful for the future.

Speaking of opportunities and volunteers, I am pleased to announce that Gina Cutrer has accepted the position of Staging Lead and will co-lead with Promotions in 2023. Gina has had experience with staging and promotions over the last few years. She is asking if you would you consider volunteering to help with both staging and promotions. The Staging process will be changed for 2023. Staging has come into the modern era with changes to the platoon placement markings making the job  physically easier and less stressful. We hope to improve hydration opportunities and provide medical support. Staging is such an important aspect of daily organization on the route and we need your help. Please contact Gina Cutrer by email at gina.cutrer@rftw.us or call her directly at 225-202-5328.

Click here for the volunteer link.

I am pleased to announce the Midway Route will have two fundraiser activities for this coming year that were successes last year. Our Promotions Team Leaders for 2023 are Gina Cutrer and Randy “Mullet” Olgion. The first is the HOTEL DRAWING. This was an awesome fundraiser in 2022 and we are doing it again. The prize is $1000 which is approximately the amount it will take to pay for most of your hotel expenses or anything you need. The money raised from this drawing will go to support our adopted schools and our fuel stops.

The cost per ticket is $10.00 or you can purchase seven tickets for $50.00! If you purchase $100.00 worth, you will get 20 tickets. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can buy. If you would like to purchase HOTEL DRAWING tickets, please make a check out to RFTW and send it to:

Gina Cutrer
33538 Nancy Drive
Walker, LA 70785

You may also use Venmo:
@Gina-Cutrer-1

Our next fundraiser is the SUPER BOWL DRAWING. It is early, however, we are beginning to make an effort to raise the money to support the fuel cost for every rider on the Midway Route this year by conducting various fundraising activities. So, we are offering a Super Bowl Football Board opportunity to support the Midway Route fuel costs. Winners will be receiving a gift card to use during the 2023 RFTW ride.

Buy a Super Bowl 2023 square for $25.00 or $100.00 buys you 5 squares or buy as many entries as you like! The winning square at the end of each Quarter will receive a $100.00  Walmart Gift Card. End of game score is the fourth quarter, no overtime.

 The Board will be filled out from the top to bottom and left to right based on the time and date of the receipt of your entry and payment. The numbers will be drawn from the hat after a board is complete, so there will be no particular order. All entries must be received by 31 January 2023.

How to enter:

  1. Send check made out to Midway Route Fuel to:
    Gina Cutrer
    33538 Nancy Drive
    Walker, LA 70785
  1. Or pay via:
    WWW.VENMO.COM (APP) to @Gina-Cutrer-1

Once the Board is filled and numbers assigned, the Board will be emailed prior to game start and posted to RFTW Facebook.  

Those receiving gift cards will be contacted the day after the game to ensure we have the correct contact information for mailing the gift card to you.

Thank you all for your continued generosity in this fundraising effort and GOOD LUCK. We appreciate and need your support for the Midway Route. If you want to help but do not want to participate in these drawings then please send a check to Run for the Wall-Midway Route to Gina Cutrer at her address listed above. Please do note “Midway Route” on your check.

The Homes For Our Troops Key Presentation Ceremony happened in Queen Creek, AZ on September 24,2022. RFTW was well represented at the event and I want to personally thank all of you who made the extra effort to attend this heartwarming event. Many of you traveled great distances and took time off work to be there. This home was presented to a well deserving combat wounded Marine and his family. Their daily lives will be made easier by having this fully adapted home. Thank you Yev Shenker and family for you sacrifices for our country.

The Cookeville, TN Slow Down/Outreach Day is planned with details forthcoming. There will be three Outreach opportunities that day with full law enforcement support and escort. Staging and Fuel Teams will have the day off. Remember, this is your day off to stay in town and relax or go on an Outreach and relax. It is your day, you decide. Eventually, we will need to know how many riders will choose to go on each Outreach so we can plan LEO support and Road Guard support. I want to thank everyone who participated in the creative nature and planning of this new experience and opportunity for our Midway Route riders.

“NEVER GIVE UP”

Jim “BRUZER” Bruzewski
Midway Route Coordinator 2023

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Midway Route RC Newsletter — September 2022

POW MIA

Why We Ride
POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY is SEPTEMBER 16, 2022.

Part of the RFTW Mission Statement is “To Call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.” Because of multiple factors, there has never been an accurate accounting of all POW/MIAs. More than 81,000 Americans are still unaccounted for or remain missing. On this day, please remember our mission.

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the remains of Americans still missing include:

73,515 WWII (approximate)
7,841 Korean War
1,626 Vietnam
126 Cold War
6 from other conflicts since 1991

“YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN”

I am excited to announce Midway Route will be the Test/Recon route to implement the “Slow-Down-Day” for an extra day of community outreach along the Route. There are other exciting activities and changes for Midway that may be included in this year’s ride. We are exploring the possibility of visits to several active duty installations: Fort Sill, OK, Fort Campbell, KY and Seymour Johnson AFB, NC. The objective is to develop an ongoing Route that visits new stops, as well as our original stops every other year, thereby providing a broader mission awareness and impact. Just to let you know we will be visiting Ft. Sill, OK in 2023 rather than Weatherford, OK. We are not abandoning Weatherford but will alternate every other year. This will lighten some of the community support burden while not abandoning this stop in future years. This year will also be the first planned visit to the new Army Museum just prior to our arrival into DC. Again, not abandoning the Marine Museum, but we intend to begin a year to year rotation between the two museums. This will offer some variety as well as support for both organizations. These are some of the planned and proposed changes, as well as those still in the planning stages, that both expands our mission and adds variety for the riders year to year. Hopefully, this eases some of the financial burdens on a number of the small communities that struggle to support us.

Let’s talk about the “Slow-Down-Day.” After many discussions with Midway leadership, talking to riders and looking at the recent RFTW Survey results, we have concluded that riders would like to have another day in Cookeville, Tennessee. Cookeville is very excited for us to add a day in their community and will be providing dinner for the riders that evening. The day can be used for rest and recovery, as an Outreach Day, or just ride the area on your own. Thus, the name “Slow-Down-Day.” You will not be required to do anything. However, we hope to have a positive impact on support and expansion of our mission opportunities. To that end, your TN State coordinators (Ed Butler & Phil Friedli) along with the leadership team have developed 3 to 4 Outreach opportunities for that day. Those Outreaches would start about 9-10 AM and end by 2-3 PM. You can have breakfast at the hotel, and it looks as if each outreach will have lunch provided
(more details next month). These outreaches are for 100% of the riders, to include: the Staging, Fueling, Advanced Teams, and Trikes and Bikes with trailers who may unhook for the day and have the opportunity to participate in an outreach they otherwise may not be able to do, thereby experience its healing value. This is something you don’t ordinarily get to do. Rest is one of the main reasons for this day. We can also call this a Safety Day, so you can catch up on hydration and rest. The reality is that a few extra hours sleep and slight slowdown in the
intensity/demands of the daily riding will refresh and invigorate everyone. After you get up that morning, you will have time to drink your quart of water that helps get your brain hydrated. Proper hydration certainly should help prevent accidents/incidents caused due to dehydration. One last note. We will be adopting a school in the Cookeville, TN area. Adopting a school is always as exciting for us as it is for the students. We are trying to preserve the Midway Route RFTW Legacy and add new experiences.

This means, the Midway Route will leave California on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. Yes, it can be done, and we are working on the details. We will have shorter leadership meetings in California on Monday. Most leadership/rider details will be organized in ZOOM calls prior to arrival in California. Once again, this is your chance to have a positive impact on support and expansion of our mission opportunities. It will be a great eleven days, as we continue to explore some new experiences along the route. In all, my goal is still to shorten your riding days
where possible and not to lengthen them.

Homes for our Troops is having a Volunteer Day on September 10, 2022 in Queen Creek, Arizona. They will be doing landscaping activities around the new house for Yev Shenker and his family. Free lunch and a T-shirt will be provided to volunteers and the weather in Arizona should be nicer by then. RSVP to the website announcement.
Then on September 24, 2022, there will be a Key Ceremony for Yev Shenker and his family. We will escort Yev and his family to the new house. Details for both events are on the RFTW website.

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2023 RUN FOR THE WALL EVENT OPENS 9-11-2022

“NEVER GIVE UP”

Jim “BRUZER” Bruzewski
Midway Route Coordinator 2023

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Midway Route RC Newsletter – August 2022

Hello to the Midway Route Family and everyone else interested in our route.

The Midway Route Welcome VIDEO got posted this week and it is ready for viewing. I hope it is welcoming and informative. Special thanks to Denise “Zoom” Murray for production and to Mike “Bonehead” Kyzer, Jim “Hoofer” Mcrain and “Pawkee” for letting us use their video and photos. We would have been lost without their help.

We have had two very productive Board of Directors meetings since the last newsletter. They have approved three new State Coordinators. They are Ed Butler for Tennessee, Gary Whaley for North Carolina and George Doyle for New Mexico. We congratulate and welcome them to their new positions and thank them for volunteering. They have done much planning and hard work already. We are planning some new experiences for the route this year to possibly include visiting some active military bases. We will continue to visit our other amazing places along the way every other year perhaps. This will take the fundraising load off those communities and organizations that provide us with food and fuel along the way. Those things are always very much appreciated every year and we would not function without them.

The Board of Directors has also approved Don “Tennessee” King as our Road Guard Captain. 10-A-SEE has been the Midway Route Asst. Road Guard Captain since 2019 and the Sandbox Road Guard Captain since 2019. He has helped get us across country all that time without accidents or incidents. It is a remarkable safety record. He has been planning the details of moving our Midway pack through the new experience mentioned earlier. Congratulations 10-A-SEE and thank you for volunteering. He has a hard job ahead but he has been known to create miracles or something close.

We are thinking about having a day off in Cookeville, Tennessee for rest, laundry, and several outreach visits. We all know we are getting tired about that day on the run. This often adds up to safety issues the next few days. We have been talking to a lot of people about the idea and are getting some very positive feedback from our riders and leadership. We would spend two nights in Cookeville, our adopted town, or rather they adopted us. The hotel rate there is the cheapest on the route and they would feed us if we stayed. We already have three or four outreach opportunities available and the riding in the area is beautiful. You would not be obligated to participate in anything that day. You could just rest. We would leave California on Tuesday instead of Wednesday and have our meetings on Monday. It is one less day in California at the most expensive hotel on the route. We would also relieve pressure on the Central Route who usually bumps up against us all the way to Williams, AZ that day. We have most of the details worked out already and it could be done. There are lots of things to consider, so think about it. This should make our lives easier and not more difficult. We will still attempt to shorten our run days where possible. We will make a decision soon.

The President and Board of Directors have posted a rider SURVEY on the RFTW website. If you automatically receive RFTW emails you should have already gotten it. Please complete the survey as soon as possible. Please only do it once as it messes with the system if you try to take the survey twice. The SURVEY closes on August 31, 2022. This survey will be used to make some important Board of Director decisions, so please participate. This is your opportunity to have input into the decision making.

Well, this newsletter is chock full of stuff. Everything discussed is intended to make the run easier and more enjoyable but still keeping in mind that you continue to have a meaningful experience within the context of the four goals of the Run for the Wall.

REGISTRATION OPENS   9-11-2022

 

“NEVER GIVE UP”

 

Jim “Bruzer” Bruzewski

Midway Route Coordinator 2023

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Midway Route RC Newsletter – July 2022

Jim Bruzewski

I want to welcome everyone to the Midway Route Family.

I am Jim Bruzewski also known as “BRUZER”. I have the honor of being selected as the Route Coordinator for the 2023 Midway Route. I have served as a Tailgunner and Asst. Platoon Leader and have been a Road Guard, Push Team Leader and Asst. Road Guard Captain. I have been on the Midway Route since the Inaugural Run. Jerry “Corp” Wilkins joins us as the Asst. Route Coordinator. He will be the ARC as well as my mentor. His experience is invaluable.

We have been in the planning stages for a month now and have most team leads in place. We are always looking for more volunteers to step up and fill a variety of positions. If you have an interest in a particular position or job, send me an email and let me know. Include some of you experience with RFTW. I will get you in touch with the team lead for that position. I definitely appreciate everyone who volunteers as we would not be able to fulfill our mission without you. You are the reason we succeed every year.

The Midway Route is not just a route but is a FAMILY. We have developed a family culture over the years and I intend to carry on in that tradition. We don’t just say the words, it is part of our culture. We have a “servant leadership” that is there to help you get safely across country. Everyone, whether in a leadership position or not is here to answer your questions. The route is about you and the mission and not about leadership. Safety of everyone is of utmost importance.

We will continue to review the After Action Reports from 2022 and consider those experiences and recommendations going forward. We will continue to tweek the route to perhaps add some more varied experiences as we did this year. We understand that there are more veterans on the run who are not Vietnam Veterans like myself and we hope to add some experiences that are more relevant to you. I cannot make any promises but I would like to shorten your days where possible.

I want to thank everyone who participates in fundraising activities throughout the year and encourage you to continue fundraising efforts. The reality is that without fundraising we would not be able to complete our mission and travel accross this country. This year we even had a young lady in grade school who helped in fundraising for the Midway Family. I imagine we could all help.

Hope to see you join the Midway Route “FAMILY”.

The RFTW run dates from CA to DC are May 17-27, 2023
REGISTRATION opens 9-11-2022

“NEVER GIVE UP”

Jim “Bruzer” Bruzewski
Midway Route Coordinator 2023

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Midway Route Coordinator Newsletter – July 4, 2022

Greetings RFTW Midway Family.

Happy Independence Day! I want to begin by thanking all of our military, past and present, for their sacrifice and service for our country. You have fought to maintain the freedom given to us by our founding fathers. I will never forget! I hope you all will have a great day.

As I write this, my final RC Newsletter, I want to thank everyone who has supported me, our Midway route and RFTW mission. I am so proud of the team and family we have built on Midway. Our 2022 route was a huge success, and we had another accident-free Run! This could not have been done without the excellent teamwork on our route. Our riders and all the FNGs were amazing! Thank you for making this year so special.

I am still working on closing our 2022 route. I have additional plaques on order and they should be shipping soon. I also have some rockers that were missing on order as well. However, those may take a little longer to get because “Stitch-N-Bitch” is on the road right now and will not be able to get them made until she makes it back home. There are also a couple of caps that I am working on getting for a few people. I will be mailing some missing certificates once I receive the rockers. Just know that the Run may be over, but I am still on the job making sure I get everyone on our team what they deserve. I also want to give you all my private (non-RFTW) email. it is kdugas@pharmasafe.com. I hope to stay in touch with as many of you as possible.

As you all know, we faced and overcame many challenges this year. One of those being the loss of my right-hand man, our ARC Jerry “Corp” Wilkins, who had to leave the run and return home to California. Jim “Bruzer” Bruzewski, stepped up to finish our route as ARC. I want to publicly thank Jerry for all his hard work and dedication to our route and our mission. He worked side by side with me for 3 years and was such an important part of the success we had on Midway. Thank you Jerry, you were missed.

During and after the route, Jerry, Bruzer and I had several meetings discussing the future of Midway and the path moving forward. Considering the safety of the pack, putting mission before self, and Jerry having to leave the route, Jerry and Bruzer agreed and requested that I should nominate Bruzer as RC and Jerry as his ARC to the BOD. The BOD has approved this.

It is my honor to officially announce Jim “Bruzer” Bruzewski as the 2023 Midway RC! Bruzer is a Vietnam Veteran and was a POW in Vietnam. He is my RFTW hero and what RFTW is all about. He is also very knowledgeable in what it takes to lead this pack across the country. He has been a Road Guard and our Push Team leader for many years. Bruzer has made me a better man and I could not be more honored to be able to call him my friend. Jerry unselfishly will be Bruzer’s ARC making him the longest running ARC in RFTW history! I am confident that the future of the Midway Route is in good hands with these guys.

I cannot leave without also giving a special thanks to our Road Guard Captain, Rick “Taildragger” Schultz. We were FNGs then RIGITS together, and now, we leave together. It has been quite a ride my friend! Thank you for all of your support throughout the years. I am the rider I am today because of your teachings and time working with me. (So, whether you think I am a good or bad rider, it is on you! lol!)

I cannot list all our leadership and support positions individually, but I hope you know how much I appreciate the great jobs you all do, and I thank you very much.

Being a part of building our Midway route from the beginning has been such a labor of love and pride for me. I am so proud of the culture of servant leadership, mission before self, safety and family that has been built. The RFTW mission, and especially our Midway family will always have a special place in my heart. I will continue to support Bruzer and Jerry as needed to the best of my abilities. Thank you for giving me the privilege of leading this route. It is a memory that I will always cherish.

Have I told you lately?……………………… I love my RFTW Midway family! I will miss all of you.

Honor, Hope and Healing,

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway RC 2020-2022

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter- June 2022

Greetings RFTW Midway family!

After 7033 miles, “High Maintenance” and I made it back home to south Louisiana.  Stayed dry the entire trip until rain finally got us about 5 minutes from home.  God has a great sense of humor!

What can I say about RFTW XXXII Midway route?  Well, after two years of cancellations and countless obstacles to overcome, WE pulled off an amazing run.  I am so proud of our leadership team and our riders.  So many changes with new stops and so many people new to leadership and support positions, not to mention a lot of FNGs!   We lost our ARC, Jerry “Corp” Wilkins, to illness and our Mentor, Glenn “Wombat” Waggoner, who was taking care of Jerry.  I want to thank Glenn and his wife Laurie for driving Jerry back to his home in California.  We missed you all very much.  I am happy to say that Jerry is doing well and back at work.   What we lacked in experience, we made up in teamwork. 

I am so happy to say that we completed our mission without any accidents!  Although it was not perfect, the emphasis we made on riding techniques and doing our best to minimize the “rubber banding” was a contributing factor for our safety.  Each day got better, and I feel confident that the future leaders of Midway will continue to focus on this to make sure our route is run as safely as possible. 

Our RFTW mission was always our focus and the new additions of the patriotic music to announce the time for our morning meetings was received well and set the tone from them beginning.  The “Missing Man Honor Mat” gave new emphasis to the missing man formation and made it personal by the pictures and stories that everyone could see and know who was being ridden for each leg of the run. The flag carried across the country by FNGs made the FNGs feel a part of the family from the start and was ceremonially transferred at the missing man formation at each stop. 

The morning recognition of all the families and individuals that have served and sacrificed for our country is always a humbling moment.  We had so much talent this year on Midway that we just had to show off this talent by singing the National Anthem.  Siren, Quiet-1 and Snax, you all did a great job.  We had a FNG flautist play amazing grace and all the military branch songs.  We had “Curly” sign songs for us. And let us not forget, the morning readings of the BIOs.  This is why we ride, and we will never forget!

The culture established on Midway is something special.  It all starts with a philosophy of “servant leadership’.  Thank you to all the team leaders and support positions.  You all put mission before self and served our mission and riders well.  Our mission is to help those individuals and family members who need healing and support.   You did that!  I, once again, witnessed what I call “Run for the Wall Miracles.” This mission can have life changing, positive, effects on people’s lives.  I personally know a couple of people whose life was changed for the good because of our RFTW run this year.  It happens every year!  The family culture was alive and well.  We welcomed the FNGs with hugs every day.  I want to thank all the FNGs for joining us and being such an important part of our run.  Welcome to the family! FNGs are the life of RFTW.  Without FNGs, the mission cannot continue.  You all did a great job and I hope you all will return next year.  Our Canadian FNG friends told me that they could not get over how well they were received and welcomed into the RFTW family.  They had never experienced anything like it.  They are planning on coming back and bringing more with them!  I am looking forward to that.

I want to thank everyone for being such good ambassadors for RFTW.  You were all very kind, respectful, courteous and polite.  We had to start to rebuild Midway this year and you made a great impression on the people who supported and hosted us.  Even when we had the disaster at the hotel and they did not have rooms ready, you all represented RFTW well.  The hotel manager even commented on what a good group we had.  This is what it means to be a good ambassador for RFTW and putting mission before self.  I could not have been prouder of this group.

I also want to thank all the State Coordinators.  These people and their assistants have been working for years to make this 10 day experience happen for us.  Great job of adapting and overcoming!  Thank you so much!

I want to give a special thank you to our ARC, Jerry “Corp” Wilkins and our RGC, Rick “Taildragger” Schultz.  These guys stuck with me for years to make RFTW XXXII Midway happen.  We couldn’t have done it without y’all!

Well, my time is almost up as RC for Midway.  It has been such an honor for me to lead such a great group of people.  It will be a memory that I will never forget.  The RFTW mission and friendships made will always be special to me.  I hope I represented all of you and our mission well.  It has been an honor and privilege to serve you.  Thank you for all the love and support.

Have I told you lately?……………………I love my RFTW Midway Family!

Honor, Hope & Healing,

Ken ‘Six String” Dugas
RFTW Midway Route Coordinator, 2020-2022