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
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