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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

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter- April #3

Greetings Midway Family!

I am sending this newsletter to reschedule the Midway open forum Zoom meeting that I had scheduled for next Tuesday May 3rd. I apologize because I accidently scheduled this meeting over the Sandbox route’s meeting.

I have rescheduled the meeting for the next day, Wednesday May 4th at 19:00 central time. I hope this time works for you. I am looking forward to seeing all of you. The link for the meeting is:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81907143838?pwd=bGZTRVFYcGNoQ216NnJnN0VWZ2s4dz09

Meeting ID: 819 0714 3838
Passcode: 176119


Is it May yet? …….. Almost!!!

Honor, Hope & Healing

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator


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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter- April #2

Greetings Midway Family!

I am so excited that we will finally be back together in Ontario soon and will once again be riding for our RFTW mission.  We have adapted and overcome so many challenges and had to make several changes on our route.  To this day, we continue to face challenges that we must overcome.  I am confident that our Midway team will be ready, and we will have a great 2022 mission.  Much to cover in this newsletter so please bear with me.

We have had several, unexpected, last-minute cancellations from several leadership and support people.  Positions that have opened up include Platoon leadership positions (particularly tail gunners), staging team, road guards, outreach, ambassadors and promotion team members.  If you are interested in stepping up to volunteer for a leadership or support position, please email me at ken.dugas@rftw.us and we can discuss the position of interest and need.  I will then direct you to the right point of contact. Our team leaders would appreciate the help!

I have scheduled an open forum Midway Zoom meeting for Tuesday May 3rd at 19:00 central time.  The main purpose of this meeting is to discuss riding expectations, procedures, concerns, morning meetings, welcome FNGs and do our best to answer any questions.  The link to join the Zoom meeting is below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84148438127?pwd=TGNNR0dMREN0ellSTG1COEQ0aVhzUT09
Meeting ID: 841 4843 8127
Passcode: 918155
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,84148438127#,,,,*918155# US (Chicago)

A couple of new things for Midway this year:
We will have a “Missing Man Honor Mat”.  This mat will have a clear pouch for you to place a bio and/or picture of the person you are riding for.  It will be placed on the ground in the position of the “Missing Man” at every stop we make.  The intent is to help people have a better understanding of the “Missing Man” formation of the “Lead Element” and emphasize its meaning and importance of our mission.
If you are interested in riding a leg in the “Missing Man” formation for someone, please contact our Missing Man Coordinator, Sue “Odds” Chapin at sjandrew1992@gmail.com.

Midway will have a flag presented to us in Ontario to take to the “Wall”.  I would like for FNGs to participate with this by having a different FNG carry the flag every leg of our route.  I want FNGs to feel welcomed and a part of our family and mission.  This “flag to the wall” will be coordinated by our Honor Guard Coordinator, Ray “Cornman” Cornmesser.  If you would like to participate, please contact “Cornman” at cornman88@hotmail.com.  Anyone can participate but FNGs will be given priority.

Some good news to share, with our continued efforts to fund raise and some generous donors, Midway fuel cost should not be a factor for you not coming.  I cannot say that all fuel will be paid for like in the past, however, the high cost of fuel will not be a factor for our route.   You will have help with the fuel cost.  However, please make sure you bring extra money if you can so that you can support our raffles, 50/50 and auctions.  Every day you have chances to win something!  These fundraisers during the route help to support our riders, hosts, children in Milan and Falcon and our mission.  Your participation is always appreciated.   

Finally, please go to rftw.us website.   Under “run details” tab, you will find the emergency information form.  I would encourage you to download the form, complete it, and make two copies of it.  One will be for wearing around your neck and the other is good to have in your bike.  This is something you can do before you get to Ontario.  It is good information for you to have with you during your ride out to Ontario and will be one less thing you need to do in Ontario.  Also, many of you have registered but did not complete the on-line waiver form.  This form is also on the website under “run details” then “RFTW Registration”.  If you have not completed the waiver, please do so ASAP.  If you are not sure, it will not hurt to do so again.

I look forward to seeing all of you soon!  Safe travels.

Have I told you lately?………I love my Midway family!

Honor, Hope & Healing
Ken ” Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator

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Midway Route Coordinator- Newsletter-April

Greetings RFTW family,

Great news, I am sure you have heard by now, but RFTW 2022 is officially on!  We ride again!
Itineraries are in review and will be published soon.  We are still working on last-minute changes!

Please register now.  Getting an early count of how many will be on our routes helps with the planning and lets our hosts know how many to prepare for.  ALL Registration will be online and paperless.  As part of the online registration process, you will “digitally” sign the Waiver Form and make payment before your Registration is complete.  You can pay by credit card; you do not need a PayPal account to pay by card.  Registration fee is $30, starting May 1, 2022, it goes up to $50.   In Ontario (Or wherever you start), since you are pre-registered, all you need to do is “Check In”.  At check in you will need: Your Driver’s License with the proper endorsement for the vehicle you are riding if required in your state of residency.  Also, Your Current Registration and Proof of Insurance, these last two items are acceptable in digital form.   All of the above cannot expire before the end of the Run.
All participants going to Riverside in Ontario must be registered.

Please allow me to discuss an uncomfortable topic.  Unfortunately, we are dealing with high inflation numbers and skyrocketing fuel costs.  Sadly, several riders have had to cancel their plans for RFTW due to fuel costs and other financial concerns.  Participants in RFTW have always been responsible for covering the cost of their fuel.  However, Midway participants have been very blessed by having most, if not all, of their fuel stops donated.  Keep in mind, donated is not the same as free.  Someone paid for this fuel, and it is much more costly these days. 

With that said, many are working on their budgets for our mission.  I wanted to come up with a plan to address fuel costs to help individuals with their planning.  Due to our fundraising efforts, the Midway route will be contributing to the costs of our rider’s fuel.  All money that we raised for fuel will be used for fuel!  We have 21 fuel stops on Midway.  For the 21 fuel stops, you will be charged a flat fee of $15.00 per stop.  This will allow you to have money prepared and ready to give to the fuel team. (No change will be given for fuel). This will help our fuel stops be more efficient and give platoons more time for rest and hydration.   Any amount due over this will be paid by the Midway route.  Rest assured that participants will come out on the good end of this deal!  As we move towards the end of our route, money raised that was not used, will go towards donated fuel stops.  I want to help our participants as much as possible with fuel costs.  You will not have 21 fuel stops to pay but I hope this helps you to budget your fuel costs.  Keep in mind that you will need to fuel every night on your own, plus your cost to get to the Run and back home.  (Plan subject to change if needed)

It is not too early to make sure your bikes are serviced and in good condition for a cross country trip. Keep in mind that this ride is demanding. It is a good idea to get some saddle time in and get yourself in riding shape as well!   More RC Newsletters to come.  Keep checking the RFTW.US website for updates.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you again and meeting the FNGs.

I love my Midway family!
Is it May yet?

Ken “Six String” Dugas
RFTW Midway Route Coordinator

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Midway- Route Coordinator Newsletter – Feb 2022

Greetings from hot, cold, rainy, sunshiny, South Louisiana.  If you don’t like the weather here, just wait a minute, it will change.  We can have all four seasons in a week!

Excitement is building as we get closer to our May mission.  Last week, we had a Zoom meeting with our Midway Leadership team.  Everyone is working hard getting our Midway route ready.  Our teams are looking good.  However, we do have a few needs.  We may have some positions available on our Ambassador team.  These are very special positions and require a lot of leadership experience on our route. If you are interested in being considered for one of these positions, please send an email with your RFTW experience and contact information to Dan ‘Papa Hawg” Underhill at aspendan@yahoo.com.

We are short a platoon leadership team.  Our Platoon Coordinator looks for people with leadership skills and great riding skills.  This position also needs people who have gone “All the Way” before.  If interested in being considered for one of these positions, please send an email with your RFTW and riding experience to Dan “TapOut:” Sifford at j.d.sifford@att.net

Our Promotion team leader, Lane Flynn could also use some help.  If you have interest in helping with our raffles, promotions, and fundraising, please contact her at leflynn@aol.com

Speaking of fundraising, let me remind everyone that our hotel raffle is going on right now.  The prize for this raffle is $1000.00, which is approximately the amount it will take to pay for your hotels excluding your stays in Ontario and Arlington.  The money raised from this raffle will go to support the children from Milan Elementary and the Falcon Children’s home which host us.   I think our route would agree that these children are a great place for us to invest. 

The cost per ticket is $10.00 or you can purchase 10 tickets for $50.00!  If you purchase $100.00 worth, you will get 25 tickets.    If you purchase 10 tickets or more before the end of February, you will receive 2 extra tickets (per 10) for free.  The tickets will be capped at 30 per person to make it as fair as possible.  If you would like to purchase Hotel raffle tickets, please make check out to RFTW and send to:
Ken Dugas
9849 Loblolly Pines Lane
Denham Springs, La. 70726

You may also electronically send the money through Zelle by using my email:  kdugas@pharmasafe.com.  Please send me an email at ken.dugas@rftw.us to let me know if you are sending money.
Thank you in advance for your support of this great fundraising cause.

We will be scheduling more virtual team meetings as well as a rider’s meeting prior to everyone heading to Ontario.  Please keep checking my newsletters and emails for meeting schedules when published.

Our next face to face Board of Directors meeting will be on March 12th.   I am looking forward to discussing and finalizing our plans for our 2022 mission.  I will update you after that meeting with any news.  Everyone is excited about finally riding again in May!

Honor, Hope and Healing

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator

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Midway Route Coordinator Newsletter – Dec 2021

Season’s Greetings RFTW family!

Is it May yet?  So much to talk about.  First, your leadership teams and state coordinators are hard at work planning our 2022 route.  It has been too long since our last Run. We are so excited to get back on the road and support our RFTW mission with our Midway route.  I thank our team and supporters for everything they are doing for us.  Are you registered yet?  Registration is open and you can find all the details on our rftw.us website.  I encourage you to register asap.  Knowing our numbers helps our supporters with their plans for us.

Our hotel and camping list has been submitted to the BOD for publishing on January 1, 2022.  It is important that you make your reservations as soon as you can after the list is published. Rooms book quickly.  Let me stress the importance of understanding that everyone is an Ambassador for RFTW when contacting the hotels.  The hotels can get overwhelmed with calls from our group and not all people who answer the phone are familiar with our group or the arrangements we have in place.  We have cancelled our rooms with them for the last two years in a row.  This has been hard on the hotels and much work has been done to maintain our relationships with them.  Please be patient and polite when dealing with them, especially if things are not going as smoothly as you would like.  Our mission is bigger than us individually, please represent RFTW well.  We are all appreciative of your professional representation of RFTW.  If you have any hotel issues you cannot resolve, please contact our Hotel Coordinator.  Contact information can be found on the rftw.us website under the Midway hub for the Hotel Coordinator.

Speaking of hotels, I am once again holding the hotel raffle.  The prize for this raffle is $1000.00, which is approximately the amount it will take to pay for your hotels excluding your stays in Ontario and Arlington.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have this expense covered for you!  There will be one change to this raffle this year. In the past, the money raised from this would go towards paying for a fuel stop.  This year, for 2022, the money raised from this raffle will go to support the children from Milan Elementary and the Falcon Children’s home which host us.   Midway has always donated to these two schools even during the last two years that our route was cancelled.  I think our route would agree that these children are a great place for us to invest. 

The cost per ticket is $10.00 or you can purchase 10 tickets for $50.00!  If you purchase $100.00 worth, you will get 25 tickets.    If you purchase 10 tickets or more before the end of February, you will receive 2 extra tickets (per 10) for free.  The tickets will be capped at 30 per person to make it as fair as possible.  The drawing will be in Hopewell, VA.  If you would like to purchase the Hotel raffle tickets, please make check out to RFTW and send to:
Ken Dugas
9849 Loblolly Pines Lane
Denham Springs, La. 70726

You may also electronically send the money through Zelle by using my email:  kdugas@pharmasafe.com.  Please send me an email at ken.dugas@rftw.us to let me know if you are sending money.
Thank you in advance for your support of this great fundraising cause.

This week, I updated the leadership and support positions on the contacts page of the Midway Hub on rftw.us.  If you are a team leader, please check it and let me know if you have any changes that need to be made.

Midway is still currently looking for Assistant State Coordinators for New Mexico and Arizona.  These are extremely important positions for our mission.  If you are interested and would like more information about these positions, please contact me.

Wow! So much information at one time.  I will stop here and wish all my RFTW family a very Blessed and Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays and good health to you all, from the Dugas family.

Have I told you lately?…….. I love my RFTW family!

Sincerely,

Ken Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter- Nov 2021 #2

Greetings RFTW family,

I just wanted to take this time to wish all my RFTW family a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!
Denise (High Maintenance) and I are so thankful to have you all in our lives. We realize that it is such a blessing to be a part of this mission. I am so proud of the family culture that we have developed on our Midway route and we love all of you.

Our leadership and support positions should have received emails from me as we try to confirm all of the positions for 2022. Please respond as soon as possible.

A couple of positive updates for you. Due to the great efforts of our State Coordinators, it looks like we will be returning to Mother Roads Harley Davison in Kingman and our overnight stop in Forrest City. Our State Coordinators and your leadership team are working hard behind the scenes. Thank you all very much!

This is a short and sweet newsletter. I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

I have I told you lately?…………………. I love my RFTW family!
is it May yet?

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Route Coordinator – Midway Route

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ALL Routes FNG Town Hall Announcement

RFTW XXXII 2021 RC Newsletter

November, 2021 FNG Special

 

Calling ALL FNGs from ALL Routes.  Save the Date, Thursday December 16, 2021Starting at 4:30 PM Pacific Time, the 2022 Run For The Wall Route Coordinators and Assistants from ALL 4 Routes will host an FNG Town Hall on Zoom.  This is a great opportunity to find out more about RFTW and get your questions answered.  Please send your questions in advance to help us give you the best answer. You can ask your questions anonymously, so feel free to ask what’s on your mind.

 An invitation link will be emailed this weekend to all registered FNGs.  If you have not yet registered, no problem.  Just send me an email and I will be happy to send you the link.  If you have questions but cannot attend, please send them along anyway, others may be looking for the same information.

Check your Spam / Junk email Folder sometimes the good stuff ends up there too.

Depending on the number of participants, it may be a bit chaotic.  Sometimes unintentional background noise wreaks havoc on the system.  I will ask you in advance to mute your microphone unless you are speaking.

We plan to have another FNG Town Hall in late January – early February timeframe.

Breaking news
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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter- Nov 2021

Greetings RFTW family!

It is now November and excitement is growing as we focus on our Midway plans for our 2022 mission. I recently held a zoom meeting with our State Coordinators and their Assistant SCs. It was great to see them again and discuss our route plans. After our 2 years of cancellations, as expected, we will be having to make a few changes to our route. Plans are progressing well. I want to thank the State and Assistant Coordinators for all that they do. Our route and mission could not happen without them!

The State and Assistant Coordinators are some of the most critical, vital, important, hardworking, dedicated…. (did I leave any adjective out?) positions that RFTW has. They are so underappreciated by most, because so much of their work is done “behind the scenes”. I wanted to feature them in this newsletter, because I have so much appreciation for what they do, and want to let everyone know how valuable and important they are for our mission.

Midway has a need for an Assistant State Coordinator for Arizona. In addition to that, we need someone to step up to take over as State Coordinator for New Mexico. Tina Reeves has done an amazing job for us as our New Mexico State Coordinator. However, this will be her last year. She is looking for an assistant to work with to take over for her next year. She has great contacts and will do a great job in preparing the next person to take over. If you are willing to step up and take on one of these essential positions, please contact me and I will put you in touch with the right person. If you live in these states and are all in for RFTW, please consider volunteering to take on this great responsibility.

Midway is determined to make 2022 happen. No one knows what the Covid situation will be. We have submitted an alternative route plan to the BOD at our last meeting should restrictions prevent us from going to some states. The BOD was very supportive of us continuing our efforts. I feel everyone is committed to making 2022 happen, even if it might be different from previous years. All routes are working on alternative plans. ………..IS IT MAY YET!

All team leaders should be confirming that their teams are in place and ready to go. Please let me know if you have any positions that need to be filled.

As we are approaching Veteran’s Day, I want to say thank you to our veterans for their service to our country. WELCOME HOME!

I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and meeting all of our new FNGs!

Have I told you lately?……………………….I love my RFTW family!

Honor, Hope & Healing.
Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator

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Midway Route Coordinator Newsletter – September 2021

Greetings RFTW family from hurricane battered Louisiana!

Hurricane Ida hit Southern Louisiana hard. I am happy to say that High Maintenance and I are okay and feel very blessed that our home survived with only minor damage. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for many of our other Louisianians, including some of our very own RFTW friends. Some got hit very hard and still do not have electricity! Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. It is a very tough time for many dealing with the results of this disaster.

On a positive note, registration for RFTW 2022 is now open and has been brought up to the twenty first century. We now have registration 100% online. I just completed my registration and the process is easy and worked well. Just go to the RFTW.us website under registration. You will need your license plate number and will have to pay to complete the registration. After you pay, you will need to complete the online waiver.
I want to thank our new BOD members, Ron King and Ted Kapner for getting this done. Great job guys!

For those of you interested in the Sandbox route, please read Bug’s Sandbox RC newsletter for the details of how that will work. He explains the process very well.

I am determined to ride our mission for 2022. We will be working hard to make that happen. Is it May yet?!!!

Honor, Hope, and Healing
Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator