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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.

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RFTW Board of Directors Announcement

President's Message

Dear Friends and Fellow Riders,

Three members of the Run For The Wall Board of Directors will be leaving at the end of this term on June 30th. In addition to me, Jim “Ancient 6” Marshall and Nick “Rich Boy” Hentges are leaving. I want to personally thank Jim and Nick for their outstanding service to the Run and to our ridership.

I’m pleased to announce the following changes and additions to the BoD, effective July 1, 2022:

Ron “Sky” King, our current Director of Risk Management/Registration, will assume his duties as Board President.

John “Turkey” Staub, currently Director of Operations, will become the Vice President & Chairman.

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap, Bob “Captain America” Nelson, and Don “Bullet” Pierce have been elected to fill the three vacancies. Their specific Board assignments will be determined at a later date.

On a personal note, it has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve the Board, and the Run, these past six years, especially my four years as Chairman and this final year as President. I will miss the Board, but I leave with absolute confidence that YOUR Run For The Wall is in the best possible hands.

Semper Fi! Is it May, yet?

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
2016 RFTW Central Route Coordinator
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

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The End of an ERA – When One Door Closes, Another Opens

President's Message

My friends and fellow RFTW riders:

I have some sad news that will alter one of our most cherished RFTW activities in the D.C. Metro area. Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) cancelled all wreath laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier over the 2022 Memorial Day weekend. In February, ANC leadership decided instead to host an annual Public Flower Ceremony over the Memorial Day weekend. As of this message, ANC has not published the dates and times for the ceremony.

RFTW Wreath Laying

Last November during a Centennial Commemoration event, and for the first time in nearly 100 years, the public was able to walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier plaza to lay single-stemmed flowers in front of the Tomb and personally pay their respects to the Unknown Soldiers. More than 13,000 individuals registered to attend the two-day event. Our own D.C. Coordinator, Gail Dippel, participated on behalf of Run For The Wall and was moved by the attendance and support for the commemoration. The public response was so overwhelmingly positive that ANC decided to make it an annual event for Memorial Day weekend.

We will keep you updated about the Memorial Day Public Flower Ceremony and provide details for riders to individually schedule a block of time to participate in this honored event. Please be patient.

The closing of this door represents the end of a proud and honored tradition for RFTW, but opens another door for riders to individually honor and remember our fallen brothers and sisters by laying their own flowers at the Tomb. Hopefully, this will give everyone a greater sense of personal involvement in our remembrance.

We Ride For Those Who Can’t.

Respectfully,

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

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We’re Going to D.C. in May!

President's Message

Greetings from the Lone Star State. We just concluded our Face-To-Face Board of Directors meeting in Dallas and I am delighted to announce that we are in unanimous agreement:

We’re Going to D.C. in May!

With the lessening of COVID-19 restrictions across the country we see no reason why the 2022 Run For The Wall should not proceed as planned. Our State Coordinators have been busy making preparations and arranging for support all along our routes and We. Are. Ready!

I know many of you have held off registering for this year’s Run because of your disappointments from the past two years. Now is the time to get registered. Just go to our website, rftw.us , and follow the simple procedures. This is critical… we need to get accurate numbers as early as possible so our supporters across this great land know how many riders to expect, how much food to prepare, etc.  We also encourage you to visit the store on our website and get your RFTW XXXII gear now and beat the rush in Ontario.

It’s been a tough two years, with all of us suffering badly from ride deprivation, but we can once again ask…

How far are we going?
ALL THE WAY!!

Respectfully,

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors
2016 Central Route Coordinator
“Freedom Isn’t Free”

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The Board of Directors is Looking For A Few Good Patriots

President's Message

The RFTW Board of Directors consists of nine members, each of whom serves a three-year term. We try very hard to keep the year-groups balanced, which means that every year we must fill three seats, and 2022 is no exception.

Our ridership has a great many talented people who actively look for ways to serve Run For The Wall. The Board of Directors is the pinnacle of the service pyramid, as our members directly affect all aspects of the Run and its mission.

There are no formal prerequisites to join the BoD. Anyone may apply, but as is the case with any selection process, knowledge and experience are key to being successful. We look for candidates who have several years of experience riding with RFTW and who have held leadership and/or service positions on their respective routes.

The application process is very straightforward. Simply prepare a “resume” in two parts. First, briefly tell us about yourself and your work history. We are particularly interested in your military service, if any, and an overview of your career, with particular emphasis on positions where you exercised leadership and/or management level responsibilities. The second part should detail your RFTW experiences. This would include the number of years you’ve ridden with RFTW, which route(s) you’ve ridden with, the number of times you’ve gone “All The Way,” and most importantly, what jobs you’ve held on the Run. Since the reputation you’ve built on the Run is often a determining factor in selection to the Board, feel free to ask Team Leaders, former Route Coordinators, and others to forward letters of recommendation on your behalf if you wish. Send your resume to our Chairman, Jim Marshall, at jim.marshall@rftw.us by April 30th.

All of us have thought, at one time or another, “If only I was in charge, I’d sure do things differently!” Well, here’s your chance. Decisions are made by those who step up. Will YOU be one of them? I hope so.

Respectfully,

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

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Holiday Greetings from Run for the Wall + Update on RFTW 2022

Happy Holidays

December 12, 2021

Dear Fellow Riders and Friends,

Greetings from beautiful Colorado. I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everybody in our RFTW family joyous holidays, good health, and a blessed New Year.

Many of us on the Board of Directors have received inquiries from anxious riders about the status of Run for the Wall XXXII in 2022. Apparently, rumors are running rampant, so please let me set the record straight.

We are proceeding on the assumption that we will conduct our Run in May as we always have… from Southern California to Washington, D.C. by three routes, and from D.C. to Marseilles, IL via the Sandbox Route. The Route Coordinators of all four routes, along with their respective State Coordinators, are hard at work getting their plans and logistical support in place as usual. As in previous years, we plan to publish the hotel list on January 1st, and registration for RFTW XXXII is up and running now.

The “rumor mill” always seems to take on a life of its own, but factual information is literally at your fingertips. Our website ( rftw.us ) has all the current information. If there are any changes to our planned Run, you will find it there first. Also, your individual Route Coordinators are putting out their newsletters on a frequent basis. I urge you to rely on these sources for your information… it isn’t “official” unless you read it there.

Take care and be well. Is it May yet?

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

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Homes For Our Troops Community Kickoff Ceremony

HFOT Logo

Friends and Fellow Riders…

On behalf of Run For The Wall, in partnership with Operation Family Fund, I wanted to provide an update to everyone regarding the first of several ceremonies through which our recent contribution to Homes For Our Troops will be made. The first recipient will be Marine LCpl Ret. Kevin Honaker. The “Community Kickoff” ceremony for his new home will be in Sparta, Tennessee, on October 23rd.

I encourage each of you, as part of the RFTW Family, to consider participating in this event. We will be welcoming our fellow veteran motorcycle groups… American Legion Riders, Combat Veterans MA, Christian Riders and Patriot Guard Riders… to join us for this very special event.

Hotel accommodations are available in Cookeville, TN, for both the 22nd and 23rd. You must make your own reservations. Be sure to ask for the “Run For The Wall Block.” The hotel information is listed below.

REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT

We ask that all participants fill out this form so that we will have an accurate head count for meals, and to determine the number of bikes that will ride into Sparta on the 23rd.

Hotel block is open and available for Friday and Saturday.
Cookeville, TN (22 & 23 October 2021)
Country Inn & Suites
1151 S. Jefferson Ave., Cookeville, TN 38506
Reservation Number: 1-931-525-6668
Group Rate $85.00
Group Name: “Run-For-The-Wall Block”

Itinerary

Friday, 22 October

  • 1500 – 1700 Lobby Sign-In (Country Inn & Suites, 1151 S Jefferson Ave, Cookeville, TN)
  • 1740 – 1755 Rider Meeting Hotel Parking Lot
  • 1755 – 1805 Move to Dinner Logan Roadhouse
  • 1805 – Dinner (Pay As You Go) On Your Own back to Hotel!

Saturday, 23 October

  • 0630 – 0815 Hot Breakfast @ Hotel (Check-out)
  • 0815 – 0845 Theater Parking Lot next to the host hotel (1181 S Jefferson Ave, Cookeville, TN)
  • 0835 – 0845 Rider Meeting
  • 0850 – 0915 Staging to Sparta (15 S. Church St, Sparta, TN 38583)
  • 0930 – 1200 Kick-Off (Christpoint Church,13 Liberty Square)
  • 1200 – 1300 Lunch on the Grounds (End Of Mission)
  • 1315 – 1335 On Your Own Anytime After Ceremony!
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Save The Date

Homes for our Troops

Greetings from Colorful Colorado.

On October 23rd, Run For The Wall in partnership with Operation Family Fund, will participate in the first of several ceremonies through which our recent contribution to Homes For Our Troops will come to fruition.

Our first recipient will be Marine L/Cpl Kevin Honaker. His home will be built in Sparta, Tennessee. The first event in this process will be the Community Kickoff.  Since Run For The Wall and Operation Family Fund will have significant roles in this event, we would like to have a strong RFTW presence.  To that end, Ron “Sky” King, our Director of Risk Management, is taking the lead in coordinating our participation.  Here is a tentative schedule of events… we will have more information as it becomes available:

  • We will gather on Friday, Oct. 22nd, in Cookeville, TN for a meal to be paid by the attendee(s), and fellowship. Cost to be determined, but should be in the +/- $15.00 range.
  • Hotels will be in Cookeville. Information for making reservations will be posted separately.
  • We will need a headcount for the meal and money to be paid NLT Friday, 10/15/21. Once we determine the final cost of the meal, payment will be made to our Treasurer, Jenny “Lady Jen” Ward. She will provide information on the process.
  • We will ride as a group from Cookeville to Sparta on Saturday, Oct. 23rd, for the Community Kickoff presentation.

This our 2021 mission at work, helping to provide homes specially built and adapted to the needs of severely wounded current conflict veterans. When we speak of “promoting healing among ALL veterans, and their families and friends,” this is it! I hope to see a huge RFTW turnout. See you there!

Respectfully,

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

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Immediate Opening on the RFTW Board of Directors

Greetings from the foot of the Rockies in beautiful Colorado!

Joe “Java Joe” Bookataub, our Director of Purchasing, has tendered his resignation from the RFTW Board of Directors because of personal/family issues. He didn’t feel that his circumstances would leave him the time to carry out his responsibilities properly. I respect his decision and all of us on the Board wish him well.

This leaves us with the need to recruit a replacement to complete Joe’s term which runs through June of 2024.  As the title implies, the Purchasing Director is responsible for acquiring all items necessary to conduct the Run every year. These include hats, windshield banners, placards, sleeves/brassards, plaques, certificates, etc.  This position also works closely with the route Quartermasters to ensure that durable items, such as sleeves/brassards, Road Guard radios, and the like, are returned, accounted for, and stored for use in subsequent years. Of course, the overarching responsibility is to work closely with the other members of the Board to provide guidance and direction for Run For The Wall® Inc.

If you’re looking to “give something back,” and possess both the experience and attention to detail necessary for this position, send a resume and cover letter highlighting your qualifications to our Vice President & Chairman, Jim Marshall, at jim.marshall@rftw.us .  Please include your history with RFTW, including any service or leadership positions you have held.

At one time or another, all of us have thought to ourselves, “If I was running this lash up…” Well, now’s your chance! Remember, decisions are made by those who step up.

Respectfully,

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President, RFTW Board of Directors

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Presidents Message – September 10, 2021

Friends and Fellow RFTW Riders…

Today is September 10th. Tomorrow marks the 20th Anniversary of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. While we pause to reflect on the events of that tragic day and remember those who were lost, let us also remember the nation’s transformation on 9/12, when we put aside our differences and truly became one people united in a common cause.

In keeping with that theme, Run For The Wall® will open registration for RFTW XXXII on September 11th at 08:46 EDT, the exact moment American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Because we cleared all previous registrations for the past two years, everyone who plans to make the Run in 2022 must register anew.  When you log on to do so, you will find that the registration process has been greatly streamlined.  Thanks to the hard work of Ron “Sky” King, our Director of Risk Management, and Ted “Boots” Kapner, our Director of Public Relations and Media Communications, the process has been greatly simplified and will be entirely “paperless.” Please be aware that after you complete the payment process for your registration, you will need to return to the registration page and complete the waiver of liability before you exit the site. Your registration cannot be completed without this step.

This leads us to what I am sure is the most pressing question on all of your minds: Will we be able to conduct the Run next May?  Let me assure you that the Board of Directors is absolutely committed to carrying out our mission in 2022. Planning for all of our routes has been underway since before our Face-To-Face meeting in July, and will continue as usual in the months leading up to next May.

Having said that, we must all recognize that COVID-19 presents many factors that are beyond our control, and we have no way of knowing what conditions may exist across the country when the time comes. One of the core principles Run For The Wall® has always embraced is that we respect and abide by the laws and customs of the states and communities through which we ride, and we have a responsibility to follow that principle when it comes to COVID restrictions.  In the event that circumstances again work against us, the BoD has asked all of our Route Coordinators to prepare contingency plans for alternative activities. They will be presenting these plans to the Board at our November meeting.

In other news, Central Route held their reunion and service project at the New Mexico Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire over the Labor Day weekend. I was fortunate to be able to attend and the turnout was fantastic. The David Westphal Foundation raises money for the Memorial through the sale of bricks that commemorate the service of veterans, both past and present. These bricks line the sidewalks of the memorial, and each year Central Route riders emplace that year’s collection. Because the event could not be held last year, there were two years’ worth of bricks this year… over 850 of them! But in true RFTW fashion, our riders got the mission accomplished for another year, and in record time.

Finally, I’m happy to report that our fundraiser to benefit Homes For Our Troops was a complete success. We met our goal of raising $25,000 from our ridership, thanks to the generosity of so many of you.  That amount was matched by the RFTW Board of Directors for a total of $50,000, which was in turn matched dollar-for-dollar by the Operation Family Fund, a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping veterans of our current conflicts.  On August 28th, Homes For Our Troops received a check from “Run For The Wall® in partnership with Operation Family Fund,” for $100,000!  In the coming months, we will be working closely with HFOT to ensure that RFTW/OFF have a presence at the presentation ceremonies for several veterans receiving homes funded in part by this donation.

Is it May, yet?

Respectfully,

Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme
President
RFTW Board of Directors