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President’s Message – Remember The Mission!

Remember the Mission

I received a phone call the other day that really set me back in my chair a bit and again made me think about Mission.  The caller was concerned, and voiced the concerns of others he knows, that RFTW has strayed from the Mission.  This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that we have strayed, but this time it really resonated with me.  I wanted to share some thoughts with you and reinforce the hope we Continue the Mission not only in words, but that we truly remember why we ride.

The first three words of our Mission Statement are “To promote healing…”.  The Run for the Wall philosophy (click here to see both the mission and philosophy) expresses that through participation in the Run, our riders can “reflect and heal on their journey…” “in the hope they can return home to a new beginning”.  Healing. Hope. New Beginning. Powerful words.

Run for the Wall Mission Statement

To promote healing among 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, and to support our military personnel all over the world.

During the call, we spoke of the “22”. How every day we continue to lose veterans to suicide. I thought about how, long ago, a group of Vietnam Vets recognized issues our government was not willing to address, and like veterans do, took it upon themselves to make it happen.  How, in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, they started our Mission.  How some of our current vets are suffering from the same traumatic impacts associated with serving that many of our Vietnam Vets suffer through.  How wars and conflicts, generations apart, are still impacting those who carry out our national policies. How maybe we have lost some of our focus on the Run.  And it doesn’t have to be PTSD related.  Our society is recognizing moral injury as a serious issue as well.  Are we still truly dedicated to helping reduce the number suffering?

The call made me reflect on my FNG year and how my platoon leader, every morning, spoke with each member of the platoon to see how they were doing, to see if they needed anything.  To ensure that our experience on the Run was living up to our needs and expectations.  To make sure the members of their platoon were taken care of.  Leadership at its best.  He went the extra mile to ensure each and every one of us was taken care of based on our individual needs.

I thought about our Chaplain Corp. How so very well prepared they are to help us heal, about how their Mission is solely dedicated to helping others.  How they go out of their way to look for signs of stress and other indicators that might require their special skills.  How they are always available.  I remember hearing about an individual on the Run that came home from Vietnam in 1969 and had not been east of the Mississippi since.  How, for three straight years, our chaplains and others worked with this person to get him across the Mississippi.  In the fourth year, this person was finally able to go to the Wall.  No One Left Behind!!

I thought about the man wearing a Vietnam Veteran hat that approached me one year at the Village Inn restaurant in Colby, KS.  We were on our way to California for the Run and, of course, had our RFTW vests on.  He came up to our table and asked if we were part of RFTW.  I stood to greet him, and when I answered in the affirmative, he shook my hand and thanked us for doing what we do.  He was a Vietnam vet, a motorcycle rider, and explained that while he wanted to go to the Wall, he just could not, it was too painful.  He spoke of when RFTW stopped in Colby and how proud he was as he relived his past with others that understood.  I gave him a hearty Welcome Home and invited him to sit with us and talk.  He had to get to an appointment but wanted to reach out and let us know that what we do makes a difference.  Maybe, just maybe, him seeing us again and speaking with us made a difference in his life.  We Ride for Those Who Can’t.

I thought about our Outreach teams.  How very important their job is – reaching out and touching families that suffered through the ultimate sacrifice or those that may still have MIA family members or friends.  Reminding those families and friends that they and theirs are not forgotten.  That we will continue to call for an accounting of those missing in action.  That we Ride For Those Who Can’t.

I thought about our Ambassadors and how they stop and reach out to people across the country, whether at an overpass on an Interstate or gathered to meet us at one of our stops.  How many veterans and veteran supporters have our Ambassadors touched?  How many Welcome Home hugs or handshakes have they given?  How many thousands of supporters have our Ambassadors encountered and carried the message that we Ride For Those Who Can’t and that we sincerely appreciate them coming out to support our efforts.

I’m sure each of you have had similar thoughts and experiences.  As we prepare for Run XXXIII, let’s not lose sight of the healing aspect of our Mission.  If we dedicate ourselves to Continue the Mission, if, in the spirit of true Brotherhood, we look out for one another, if we think about the special skills our Chaplains and others bring to our Mission, we can help ensure that no one is left behind.  No One Left Behind!!

With those thoughts in mind, I would like to challenge everyone, especially those in leadership positions, especially at the platoon level, to take an extra moment each and every day to ensure your people are okay.  Make sure your people know you care and that you have their best interests at heart.  I know you have their best interest at heart, else you would not volunteer for a leadership position.  Make sure you are familiar with the resources we have immediately available so we can continue to promote healing.  Don’t be ashamed to ask for the help of others if you do not have the answer or expertise to help a fellow rider.

It is not about the “ride”.  It is not about what color hat you might wear.  It is not about paid gas stops or free food.  If you are here for those things, perhaps you might want to take some time to reflect on what RFTW is really about.  Rededicate yourself to reflecting and living our core values and to Continue the Mission.

I know there are times when we get caught up in the logistics and the planning of the Run.  I know that there are so many things that demand our attention that sometimes it seems like we can’t see the forest for the trees.  But I assure you, the Board of Directors, our RCs, our Platoon Leaders, our Stagers, our Fuel teams, our Road Guards, everyone in a leadership position, is truly focused on ensuring that we live up to our Mission statement and Philosophy.

Let’s take the time to refocus on the Mission.  Maybe, just maybe, we will make a difference in someone’s life.

Let’s continue to promote healing in the hope that our riders will return home to a new beginning.

 John “Turkey” Staub
Acting President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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President’s Message – January 2023

Happy New Year!!!

2022 is finally behind us, and as I write this, we are 133 days from KSU, and the preparations for Run XXXIII are moving along.  The hotel lists were published on 1 January, and reports are that room reservations are moving along at a rapid pace.  Hats off to our State Coordinators, whose countless hours establishing the critical support for each route make this process so easy for us!!

Speaking of 2023, if you haven’t yet registered, I encourage you to do so before 1 February when the registration fee goes up.  Currently, our registration numbers are ahead of last year. Since the accuracy of our registration numbers drive the State Coordinators planning, if you haven’t yet registered, please CLICK HERE to register today!

One thing I ask all of you to help us with is the recruitment of new riders.  Our age demographics continue to show older riders as the majority.  Our concern is that without an influx of younger veterans and riders, we may eventually get to a point where it is difficult to host four routes.  We need to CONTINUE THE MISSION!!!  In order to CTM, we need younger participants, we need to mentor those younger participants for leadership positions.  We need to expand our outreach to veteran organizations, to military organizations, to those who care and support our Mission.  We have presentation templates so that the message we carry to outside organizations is consistent and meet the intent of RFTW.  I encourage you all to reach out to your local VFW, American Legion, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, and others to recruit new riders.  Remember, it isn’t simply about going All the Way; it is about making a statement through participation!!  Whether you ride one leg, three days, or ATW, we need our voices and the voices of those who cannot ride, to be raised and heard at the highest level.  We Ride for Those Who Can’t!!!

Finally, now is the perfect time to not only get your bike prepared for the Run, but to prepare yourself.  I’m not big into new year resolutions, but I firmly believe that physical fitness plays a huge role in a successful and fulfilling Run.  With 133 days to KSU, now is a perfect time to get a health checkup, to begin a fitness regimen so that you are prepared for the Ride.  Those on CR last year well remember leaving Barstow with temps at 68° and arriving in Needles for lunch with temps hovering around 106°.  It was a demanding ride, requiring hydration, focus and preparation.  A fit body can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing, and riding through these types of conditions are certainly challenging.  Let’s all be prepared for what lies ahead.

I sincerely hope 2023 brings you and your family joy, happiness, peace and fulfillment.

IS IT MAY YET!!

John “Turkey” Staub
Acting President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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President’s Message December 2022

Winter has arrived in south central Pennsylvania.  The earth is resting and relaxing in anticipation of the upcoming spring.  We too take this time of year to relax a bit; to reconnect with family and friends; to begin building our stores of energy for the upcoming spring.  As you know so well, spring is a very important season for RFTW.  Your Board of Directors is ready, willing, and able to move forward.  Is it May yet?

When I relax, I often like to do a bit of reflective thinking.  My thoughts often come around to RFTW and the Mission; to those who contribute so much and those who have given so much.  I think of resilience, dedication, commitment.  I think of how those words describe the volunteers who make RFTW what it is.

Resilience – I remember being out staging the pack one cold morning in Angel Fire, NM.  It was dark, around 20 something degrees, and we were getting ready to ride through a mountain pass above 8000 feet in elevation.  I was cold and feeling a bit of self-pity.  Then I caught myself thinking of those who are still unaccounted for, who may still be a prisoner of a foreign government.  Those who would probably give anything to trade places with me.  Suddenly, I realized I didn’t have it so bad.  I looked around and saw the Road Guards working, the Staging Team working, leadership meeting, all so we could carry our message across this wonderful nation of ours.  Resilience – determined to carry-on despite conditions or circumstances that mere mortals would shirk from.  We are resilient!!

Dedication – I often say a silent thank-you for the dedication of the many, many people who really make the Run happen.  Our state coordinators work so many hours, drive so many miles, meet with so many people to ensure the riders have food, fuel, and a warm place to sleep.  Our route leadership teams meet countless times, pour over a myriad of details to ensure Mission success.  All this so that our riders can carry the message across the nation.  Dedicated to the Mission, our philosophy, and to achieving our goals.  I am thankful for their dedication and feel a sense of comfort knowing we will succeed because of their efforts.  We are dedicated!!

Commitment – I think of our riders, the people who truly execute our Mission.  I think of the countless acts of silent heroism many have made so that we could be where we are today.  The danger so many have faced so bravely.  The continued determination to ensure our message is heard, despite age issues, health issues, perhaps even family and job issues.  Many of our riders and volunteers spend vacation time away from family and jobs to ensure the success of our Mission.  Many of us may not be as young as we once were, but WE ARE COMMITTED!!

We came off two years of COVID restrictions and pulled off RFTW 2022 because of the resilience, dedication, and commitment of all involved.  I ask that in this holiday season, regardless of whatever your beliefs are, that you too take a moment and reflect on the Mission, on healing, on our philosophy.  Let us be determined to make RFTW XXXIII even better than previous Runs.

WE RIDE FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T

If you haven’t yet registered, I encourage you to click here do so!!

If you haven’t yet finished your holiday shopping, I encourage you to click here and help yourself and RFTW.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all.  I hope you and yours have a peaceful, fulfilling, and gentle holiday season.

IS IT MAY YET?

John “Turkey” Staub
Acting President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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Veteran’s Day President’s Message

Good Morning to All the RFTW Family from Tennessee!

Time is flying November is here and the XXXIII ride for 2023 is fast approaching. I look forward to seeing each of you in May! Before I continue, Register! I encourage each of you to register as as soon as possible since this helps all RC’s in their Route planning processes from staging, fueling, feeding, platoon count, and hotels. If ready click here to register Now! (All you need is your motorcycle or car tag number.)

Take advantage of Early Bird Registration today through Jan. 31,2023 for: $45 per person

Happy Veteran’s Day

I want you to know what a privilege and honor it is to be serving you especially on this Veterans Day, 2022. On behalf of myself and the BoD and the many veterans, their families and the patriots, that are part of the RFTW family, may we share a big Welcome Home and for those serving say a prayer!

While you hear the words often “Freedom is not Free” only through you the veteran, current service men and women’s sacrifices, along with their families’ support, can this gift of Freedom exist. To each of you there is no greater strength that you can feel nor glory than knowing what each of you did for your country. There can be no ‘Metal’ for your own feeling of self. That is a veteran. Duty, Honor, Country be proud and wear it honorably because you have earned it. A privilege shared by us all.

Additionally, General Tommy Franks (USA, Retired) has asked that his Veterans Day Message be conveyed to the RFTW Family. General Franks and RFTW will be working together to help develop future leaders, as we participant in his Four Star Leadership Program beginning in 2023.

General Tommy Franks Veterans Day Message

Hello, It is a privilege for me to highlight a very important topic about some extraordinary men and women who are the best America has to offer: our veterans and their families.

I’m General Tommy Franks; retired Commander-in-Chief of US Central Command. I was the Commander of the Coalition Forces in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. In my almost 40 years of service as a soldier in the US Army, from the lowest ranks to the highest, I’ve seen the extraordinary way great men and women unfailingly serve our country so that you and I can enjoy freedom and opportunity. Opportunities for you to pursue the dreams you have, enjoy the benefits of living in America and, if you work hard and have a clear focus, the ability to do something truly great with your life; opportunities that many in the world do not have.

You know, the opportunities that you and I enjoy were not cheap. We can experience them only because brave men and women won them for us through their service and sacrifice. From the first patriots who fought against the British to create this nation to those who are fighting against terror today, the cost of freedom and opportunity has been paid in full. It was earned by men and women who did their duty and fought for love of home and country.

In 1918, when fighting stopped at the conclusion of World War I in the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, the world celebrated. Peace was restored and the freedoms and opportunities we value were still in place. The world celebrated peace and freedom. But mostly they celebrated those who earned us that peace and had given so much through their service and sacrifice; they celebrated our veterans. We continue that tradition today in America. On the 11th day of the 11th month each year, November 11th, we honor our veterans. We take that day to say thank you for a job well done. Thank you for making our nation the greatest on earth and defending us from those who would do us harm. Thank you to those who served and sacrificed. They did it for all of us.

The military taught me to appreciate all these incredible men and women who are our veterans. It also taught me the best way to honor them. Beyond saying thank you (which we should all do every chance we get), we can also honor the gifts of freedom and opportunity that they have given us. In the military, I learned the value of leadership, patriotism and service. Those values became the foundation upon which I built my career. They are not just values I hold as a person; they are values we hold as a nation. When I retired from serving in the US Army, I founded the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum for the purpose of communicating and investing these values in the next generation of leaders.

In addition to saying thank you to our veterans, we all can honor them by carrying forward their values.

Leadership.  You can take a leadership role in your schools through making positive choices. Never underestimate your ability to impact the lives of others. Start now! Leadership is not something you are born with; it is developed through experience. When you learn how to be a leader it honors veterans who fought for you to have that opportunity.

Patriotism. Love of country. Learn about your country. Learn about its history, peoples, challenges and accomplishments and you will learn that there is no greater country on earth. Every veteran has played a direct role in shaping this nation. When you learn about our country it honors our veterans and develops patriotism.

Service. Veterans did not wait. Every single man and woman heard the call and willingly answered.  It is so easy for us to lose sight of opportunities we have today as we dream about what we want to do tomorrow. Our veterans didn’t wait, and neither should you. You can serve today in your home, school, community and your country. Those who serve make significant contributions to our society. They are the people who change the world. What better way could there be to honor those who served than through service!

Veterans epitomize leadership, patriotism and service. They are deserving of our gratitude. They should be honored and thanked. Veterans have made this country the greatest in the world, but it’s up to all of us to exercise these values to insure that America remains the greatest! Always!

Remember to thank the veterans in your community. And honor them. Honor them with your leadership, patriotism, and service; and together we will make sure America remains the greatest country on earth. Thank you.

Tommy Franks
General (ret)

Have a Great & Safe Veterans Day. God Bless you and your family. Always ride safe till then!

Is it May yet?

Sincerely,
SkyRon ‘Sky’ King
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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President’s Message October 2022

President's Message

Hello to All the RFTW Family from Tennessee!

Time is flying October is here and the date for the XXXIII ride is fast approaching, 211 Days, 23 Hours, 08 Minutes counting. I look forward to seeing each of you in May!

First

RFTW had a good representation at the Key Ceremony for Marine Cpl Yevgeniy “Yev” Shenker when ‘Homes For Our Troops’ presented him with the keys to his new home. A big thanks goes out to our POC Michael “Chatters” Giannetta for the great job he did organizing the ride and to Jim “Bruzer” Bruzewski our Midway Route Coordinator who represented RFTW as a speaker for the event.

Second

Registration is going well as of today our totals are: CR 117; MR 84; SR 101; and SB 107 for a total of 308. I encourage each of you to register as as soon as possible since this helps all RC’s in their Route planning processes from staging, fueling, feeding, platoon count, and hotels. If you’re ready, click here to register Now! (All you need is your motorcycle or car tag number.)

https://rftw.us/rftw-registration

Take advantage of Early Bird Registration today through Jan. 31,2023 for: $45 per person

Don’t forget to complete your Emergency Information Form while there. This a fillable PDF linked to the RFTW website. None of the information is retained by RFTW or the data base. Once you download, fill-out & print the form, all information is lost once the page is closed. Please, give complete information as you fill out this form since it may be invaluable to medical personnel if you are need assistance. Don’t have one done for 2023? Get ready, click here and complete one. Print two, one for your bike and one for your lanyard.

https://rftw.us/emergency-information-form/

Third

As previously mentioned, RFTW must continue to move further into the 21st century by more efficiently and effectively using its website tools. Our first goal is to minimize RFTW printing by publishing information on the website that has normally been printed in the past. Therefore, riders should review the published RFTW Guidelines: Safety, Standard of Conduct, Fueling, and Statement of Responsibility found under the website TAB, ‘RUN DETAILS’ then ‘Rider Guidelines’. These guidelines apply to all 4 routes. If you haven’t reviewed them click here:

https://rftw.us/rider-guidelines/

Additionally, our goal is to have a draft version of each Route’s Itinerary Book available for you to review on the website shortly after the 1st of the year, 2023. The final version of each Route’s Itinerary Booklet should be published on the website NLT, 15 APR 2023 and will be available for you to print before coming to CA! Only a limited number of the printed Route Itinerary Books will be available for purchase in each Route’s Merchandise Trailer. Cost is still TBD.

Fourth

As we continue to experience increased costs i.e., insurance, printing, room cost, contracting and local support, and many others, one of the ways we meet these expenses is through our Merchandise sales. The goal is to have newly designed 2023 Run shirts and other items available before Christmas and on the website under the “SHOP” Tab. We will make a special announcement once this happens. Also, we plan to offer a special design “Black Friday” – Red Shirt Friday special this year. Look for the sale to start soon. More to come! Equally important is your continued support of your routes fundraising initiatives!

Fifth

I would like to encourage each of you to consider becoming more involved as a volunteer for a position on your selected route. There are many opportunities to become more involved. The life blood of the run is its volunteers since we are all volunteers. By volunteering, you can fulfill a support need for your route and the other riders. We need your skills and effort to make 2023 a success. Please consider volunteering to help no matter how small! Sign-up Here

https://rftw.us/volunteer-sign-up/

Sixth

The BoD and Route RCs are working hard to make 2023 ride a success! I would encourage each of you as you prepare, to focus on your skills to arrive in CA, ride the Ride, and return home safely. It is up to you! Let’s make 2023 our safest year, no accidents or incidents should be our ‘Motto’.

In closing, there is a lot of information yet to be disseminated along with expected changes for 2023. I am hopeful that as we adapt to these changes and move forward into the future together, RFTW will continue to evolve and improve. I especially look forward to meeting and talking with as many of you as possible. Have a Great Day. God Bless you and your family. Always ride safe till then!

Is it May yet?

Sincerely,
SkyRon ‘Sky’ King
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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President’s Message Important Update!

President's Message

Good Morning to All the RFTW Family from Tennessee!

There was BoD meeting last night a quick update from that meeting is in order. I would like to highlight a few of the results of the meeting for everyone!

First

RFTW will participate in the Key Ceremony for Marine Cpl Yevgeniy “Yev” Shenker when ‘Homes For Our Troops’ presents him with the keys to his new home.  The event date is Saturday, September 24.  Mark your Calendar! Our POC is Michael “Chatters” Giannetta (phone # 520-254-2322 and email Chatters.rftw.az@gmail.com).    RFTW is providing the escort of Marine Cpl Yevgeniy “Yev” Shenker to his new home for the “Key Ceremony”.  For those in Phoenix area nothing is required just Show-up for staging at 9AM.  The location is Heart Cry Church, 9339 W Hunt HWY, Queen Creek, AZ 85142.  Plan to come-out and join the RFTW Family as part of this great event!

Second

Registration on the RFTW website (WWW.RFTW.US) will open 11 SEP 2022, 08:45AM EDT for the XXXIII, 2023 Run. Register early!

Third

A tiered registration fee structure was approved.  This provides a cost benefit for riders who early-register.  The cost for registration for the 2023 ride will be:

RFTW Route Fees 2023

*Note: There is not a separate process for Sandbox or Combined Route registration (one stop registration for any option!  Thanks to Ted Kapner and Billie Dunlap)

Fourth

Planning is progressing well for all the Routes.  All the Route Leadership teams are in-place.  If you wish to join one of the teams on your selected Route(s), go to the website (www.rftw.us) to determine which team lead you need to contact directly or complete one of the volunteer forms for your route selection (Staging, Fueling, Advance, or Platoon Leadership).  Becoming part of one of the various teams helps all your fellow riders and the overall success of the run.  We are all volunteers.  That is what makes it all possible!

Fifth

Ontario, CA is still undecided. While hotel and other support element planning is going well, the insurance requirements have yet to be locked in.  Again, just to reassure everyone, we will definitely not be using the same host hotel in Ontario.

I encourage each of you to practice your riding and packing in preparation for 2023 now! Let’s arrive in CA, ride the Ride, and return home safely.  It is up to you to ride within your capabilities and competency.  Let’s make 2023 our safest year, no accidents or incidents should be our ‘Motto’.

I especially look forward to meeting and talking with as many of you as possible, hopefully, in Queen Creek for the Key Ceremony.  Have a Great Day.  God Bless you and your family.  Always ride safe till then!

Is it May yet?

Sincerely,

SkyRon ‘Sky’ King
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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President’s Message September 2022

President's Message

Good Morning to All the RFTW Family from Tennessee!

There is a lot of news, and I would like to highlight upcoming changes for everyone!  Time is flying September is here and the XXXIII ride for 2023 is fast approaching.  I look forward to seeing each of you in 2023.

First

RFTW will participate in the Key Ceremony for Marine Cpl Yevgeniy “Yev” Shenker when ‘Homes For Our Troops’ presents him with the keys to his new home.  The event date is Saturday, September 24.  Our POC is Michael “Chatters” Giannetta (phone # 520-254-2322 and email Chatters.rftw.az@gmail.com).  Contact Chatters if you plan to come-out and join the RFTW Family as part of this great event.  RFTW is responsible to provide the escort of Marine Cpl Yevgeniy “Yev” Shenker to his new home for the “Key Ceremony”.

Second

I would like to thank each of you that took your valuable time to provide a response to the recent Rider Survey.  As you can see, we had a great distribution of responses from riders across all the routes.  You are overwhelming!!!   Your answers are summarized below.

Survey Results:

  1. Start early (Tuesday) allowing an 11th Day as a slowdown day for outreaches, laundry and safety, at a mid-route location (TBD)?
    Yes 429               No 227
  2. Prefer an on-line (Free) or printed version (Cost) of the route itinerary booklet?
    Online  418         Printed   238
  3. Would you like to have one available for PURCHASE at your route’s merchandise trailer?
    Yes  478               No  178
  4. Question 4 through 8 and 11 provides demographic info and communication methods and merchandise for us at the BoD.
  5. What Route do you intend to ride in 2023?
Central Route Only 182
Midway Route Only 136
Southern Route Only 136
Sandbox Route Only 27
Central + Sandbox Route 58
Midway + Sandbox Route 49
Southern + Sandbox Route 68
Sand Box Route Combined 202

The three winners of the $50 digital coupon to use on the RFTW Online Merchandise Shop are:

  • Dave Perry
  • Blaze Medcraft
  • Joffrey Mason

The winners will be emailed their digital coupon code by the Director of Public Relations & Communication.

Thank you again to everyone who participated.

So what does all this mean?  Midway Route wants to be and will be the Test/Recon route for the ‘Slow-Down-Day’ concept by leaving on Tuesday morning this year rather than at the usual all routes departure on Wednesday morning.  Most likely, the “ALL HANDS MEETING” will be Tuesday morning and also function as the send-off for Midway Route (See your Route Itinerary for schedule).  Additionally, this Slow-Down-Day concept will allow the Route to offer two things; mission expansion in the community of their choosing and the riders several new opportunities.  These opportunities include the capability to leisurely ride and visit during organized outreach missions within the selected Slow-Down-Day community to visit local Veterans Memorials, Veteran Cemeteries, or VA Facilities.  This allows 100% of riders, to include; the Staging, Fueling, Advanced Teams, Trikes and bikes with trailers that may unhook for the day, to have the opportunity to participate in an outreach and experience it’s healing value.  It is a planned day focused on the “mission through the use of an expanded community outreach program” while allowing the intensity of the daily route ride to ease up slightly.  More details will follow as they develop, through Midway Route SITREPs and RC news letters.  If you choose to ride Midway Route as the test route, you can expect to be sent a survey after the 2023 ride to gather your opinion regarding the Slow-Down-Day concept and its execution this year.  A few of the sample questions you might see are: Was it interruptive for your intensity and focus of the ride?  Was this an effective tool for ‘Mission Expansion’?  Did it add value to the total ride?  Would you ride a route with a planned Slow-Down-Day again?  Would you like this Slow-Down-Day available again in 2024?  Remember, planning for the next year’s ride begins the day after a year’s ride is over and all AARs are important. We will be listening and your feedback is important!

Third

We must move further into the 21st century by more efficiently and effectively using the RFTW website tools. All riders should review the newly published RFTW Rider Guidelines:  Safety, Standard of Conduct, Fueling, and Statement of Responsibility found under the website TAB, RUN DETAILS > Rider Guidelines, these guidelines apply to all 4 routes.  The Host Hotel List, will be published on the website on 1 January, 2023.  A draft version of each Route’s Itinerary Book will be available for you to review on the website shortly after the 1st of the year, 2023.  The final version of each Route’s Itinerary Booklet will be published on the website NLT, 15 APR 2023 and will be available for you to print before coming to CA.  A limited number of the printed Route Itinerary Books will be available for purchase in each Route’s Merchandise Trailer for the actual cost of the printing as published on the website.

Fourth

We continue to experience increased costs to meet the expectations of the RFTW Family.  Insurance, printing, room cost, contracting and local support difficulties continue to rear their ugly heads as daily challenges for your Leadership Teams and BoD.  Additionally, a significant contributing factor, is that the registration fee has not been raised to keep pace with these cost increases over the past number of years.  Understanding, these are the same cost challenges you individually experience to participate.  Therefore, in an effort to help better predict and plan for these cost challenges, we are developing a tiered registration fee structure (more to come) to provide a cost benefit for riders who early-register.

Fifth

‘Registration’ on the RFTW website (RFTW.US) will open 11 SEP 2022 for the XXXIII, 2023 Run.  Check out the new ‘How to Register’ section added to RFTW website if you have any difficulties or questions.  Register early!

Sixth

Finally, as to Ontario, CA as the departure point for the 2023 ride, that is still undecided.  Insurance increased coverage demands, are continuing to drive this discussion and decision. This is the same issue we faced last year and it was resolved.  However, we are preparing to relocate within the general area of Ontario if necessary.  A decision will be reached as to the exact departure and assembly location, by October BoD meeting.  So the rumors can be eliminated, we will definitely not be using the same host hotel in Ontario.

I would hope that each of you are practicing and preparing for 2023 now!  As you can tell, the BoD and Route RCs are working closely together to make 2023 ride a success!  I would encourage each of you as you prepare, to focus on your skills to arrive in CA, ride the Ride, and return home safely.  It is up to you to ride within your capabilities and competency.  Let’s make 2023 our safest year, no accidents or incidents should be our ‘Motto’.

In closing, this letter I have provided a lot of information and expected changes for 2023.  I am hopeful, that as we adapt to these changes and move forward into the future together, RFTW will continue to evolve and improve.  I especially look forward to meeting and talking with as many of you as possible.  Have a Great Day.  God Bless you and your family.  Always ride safe till then!

Is it May yet?

Sincerely,

Ron ‘Sky’ King
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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President’s Message August 2022

President's Message

Good Morning to All the RFTW Family from Tennessee!

The RFTW mission continues everyday, as each of us, are given the opportunity to bring awareness and a helping hand to our veterans and their families to include Gold and Blue Stars.  On July 9, 2022, ‘Homes For Our Troops’ presented Lance Corporal (L/Cpl.) Kevin Honaker, USMC (Ret.) with the keys to his brand new home in Sparta, Tennessee. We had a large RFTW presence at this event, where we met L/Cpl. Honaker and escorted him to his new home for a “Key Ceremony”.   A big thanks goes out to all those that participated!

August is here and ride XXXIII, 2023 is approaching.

I look forward to seeing you in 2023.  I would like to thank each of you that took your valuable time to provide an After Action Review (AAR) for 2022.  Your comments and recommendations on how to improve and make the run better have been heard. Your leadership team is busy planning and coordinating 2023’s routes; fuel stops, host hotels, meals and events along the way.

There will be a new ‘How to Register’ and ‘How to Check-In’ section added to (RFTW.us) website.   Registration will open 11 SEP 2022 for the 2023 Run.  Register early!  The BoD continues to look for ways to streamline and improve cost effective ways of operating that will allow improved mission support.  Better and more timely communication is being accomplished through use of our website and through other methods.  Please, look often for new news as well as helpful tips regarding the 2023 RIDE. Sign-up for the automatic receipt of newsletters.

I would hope that each of you are practicing and preparing for 2023 now. I miss-stated in my last news letter, “CORRECTIONyou do not need your title at Check-in however you do need a current registration, Driver License w/motorcycle endorsement if state required and current insurance.

As you can tell the 2023 BOD and Route RCs are working closely together to make 2023 a success.  I would ask each of you as you prepare, to focus on your riding skills and safety.  It is up to you to ride within your capabilities and competency to make 2023 our safest year yet, “no Accidents or Incidents” should be our ‘Riding Goal’.

On a personal note, it is my distinct honor and privilege to serve as President of the Board of Directors for 2023, and the Run, and I especially look forward to meeting and talk with as many of you as possible.  Have Great Day.  God Bless you and your family.  Always ride safe till then!

Is it May yet?

Sincerely,

Ron ‘Sky’ King
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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President’s Message – July 4, 2022

President's Message

Good Morning to All the RFTW Family from Tennessee where the BBQ is going and the watermelon is already cold ready to be cut for a great 4th of July celebration!

As we celebrate our Nations birth there is no better time to reflect on the RFTW mission and our collective goal. As you all know RFTW’s mission is:

“To promote healing among 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, and to support our military personnel all over the world”.

The mission of RFTW continues everyday, as each of us, are given the opportunity to bring awareness and a helping hand to our veterans and their families to include Gold and Blue Stars. On July 9, 2022, Homes For Our Troops will present Lance Corporal (L/Cpl.) Kevin Honaker, USMC (Ret.) with the keys to his brand new home in Sparta, Tennessee. We hope to have a large RFTW presence at this event. The plan is to have riders assemble in nearby Cookeville, TN (one of our regular Midway Route stops) the morning of the 9th at 8:00AM and ride to Sparta in typical RFTW formation, where we will meet L/Cpl. Honaker and escort him to his new home for a “Key Ceremony”. For those who wish to gather in Cookeville the evening before, a special RFTW rate at the Country Inn & Suites is available for the night of 8 July. I encourage any of you that can make it, join your fellow RFTW riders on 8 July in Cookeville and participate. I would hope, we all look for these opportunities through out the year to carry on our quest to frost the “Mission “.

A big thanks goes out to all those that participated in XXXII ride in 2022. I look forward to seeing each of you in 2023. To those that rode in 2022, I would encourage each of you to complete an After Action Review (AAR). We want to hear you comments and recommendations on how to improve and make the run better. All the Leadership Team, BOD and RC’s, review each and every AAR, so your comments and recommendations are heard. Comment can affect the need for additional hydration stops, extending a particular fuel stop, or having a bullhorn available at times when PA systems are not available for better pack communication.

It is also important that you as a rider begin your preparation for 2023 now, too.

The 10-­‐day ride across the US is one of the most Challenging rides. It is both physically and mentally challenging. We have changing weather conditions: hot, cold, snow, and rain that will be experienced. One of our many challenges in Route Leadership is to help each of you regardless of experience make this journey as safely as possibly and accomplish our mission however you must do your part! Learn how to pack your bike, take some long day trips build your endurance and last but not least be sure your bike is mechanically ready for ten days of hard riding (Oil, Brakes, Tires). The four items you need for registration Check-­‐in, make sure they are available and current now and throughout the year so when you head to the Run nothing to do but show up. (Drivers License w/ motorcycle endorsement, title and registration, insurance, and Emergency Information Form)

Already, there are some changes on the horizon for 2023. Registration will be completely online and our goal is to begin 2023 registration on 11 SEPT 2022 (Put It On Your Calendar). It will be streamlined without the need to go to another site to complete your wavier unless it is a minor wavier. Your Route itinerary booklets will be readily available online prior to Ontario. As you can tell, we are attempting to make our online communication and operations more functional.

On a personal note, it is my distinct honor and privilege to serve as President of the Board of Directors for 2023, and the Run, and I especially look forward to meeting and talk with as many of you as possible. Have Great Day. God Bless you and your family. Ride safe till then!

Is it May yet?

Sincerely,
Ron ‘Sky’ King
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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Homes For Our Troops Presentation – July 9th!

President's Message

ATTENTION RIDERS!

As most of you are aware, Run For The Wall, in partnership with Operation Family Fund, recently donated $100,000 to Homes For Our Troops. HFOT provides custom built homes to severely wounded service members. These homes are constructed and specially adapted to these heroes’ specific individual needs.

On July 9, 2022, Homes For Our Troops will present Lance Corporal (L/Cpl.) Kevin Honaker, USMC (Ret.) with the keys to his brand new home in Sparta, Tennessee. We hope to have a large RFTW presence at this event. The plan is to have riders assemble in nearby Cookeville, TN (one of our regular Midway Route stops) the morning of the 9th and ride to Sparta in typical RFTW formation, where we will meet L/Cpl. Honaker and escort him to the site of his new home for the “Key Ceremony.”

For those who wish to gather in Cookeville the evening before, Ron King will arrange a special RFTW rate at the Country Inn & Suites there.

Reservation information is as follows:
Country Inn & Suites
1151 S. Jefferson
Cookeville, TN 38506
Phone: 931-525-6668
*Ask for the “Run For The Wall Rate” when making reservations.

I realize that this is short notice, but we’d like to get as many riders as we can to participate in this worthy event. Come witness RFTW’s Benevolence Program in action and meet L/Cpl. Honaker.

Respectfully,
Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

NOTE: A detailed itinerary/schedule of events will be published on the RFTW website shortly.