Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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”

Posted on Leave a comment

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”

Posted on Leave a comment

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”

Posted on Leave a comment

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”

Posted on Leave a comment

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”