As I sit down to write this, we are 47 days from KSU. The planning and preparations never stop. RFTW is like a perpetual motion machine. I know our state coordinators and all our route leadership are working hard to complete plans. The work of the thousands of supporting volunteers is nearly complete. Your BoD is still at it, focusing not only on this year’s Run, but already in the planning stages for Run XXXIV.
I often hear that things were simpler back in the day. I remember back in my childhood when life was so much easier, and things just weren’t so complicated. But then I grew up and took on new responsibilities, careers, being held accountable. It made me wonder if RFTW was simpler, easier, better able to keep focus on the Mission in the days of its origins. So, I called Gunny Gregory and asked how he viewed the changes over the years. One thing that came out of our conversation was that in May 1988, he and the other founders had the foresight to incorporate Run For The Wall, and it still is a corporation to this day. They realized the potential for the Run to get bigger, more complex, perhaps though never thinking we would have four routes with over 1000 riders. But they did realize the complexity, the personal liability, the need to protect the integrity of the Mission that comes with organizing something like the Run. As we talked, he shared how complex things were even on the first Run. If nothing else, it has become more complex.
Even as we find ourselves facing complex issues, we work hard to find a way to meet the demands of today and still retain Mission focus. One of those complex issues is using electronic funds transfers during fund raising activities. One would think that the use of PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, and other similar apps would be straightforward. Unfortunately, that is not quite so. Some of these apps do not allow transfers to corporate banking accounts; they are designed for person-to-person transfers. And of course, RFTW accounts are by necessity corporate accounts. Then we throw in the IRS rules for funds accountability along with the fact that, as a corporation, we cannot allow use of personal bank accounts, and now we have an even bigger issue to get our arms around. Zelle is beginning to allow funds transfers from your personal account to a corporate account (if your bank is a Zelle-affiliated bank), but even then, there are some limitations. So, our Treasurer and Communications directors worked in concert with our bank, (Bank of America) to set up a means for allowing RFTW fund raisers to take money electronically. And using the Donate button on our website is still an option!! Guidance was sent out to all RCs and ARCs, so if you have any questions, please contact your RC/ARC. Please know that this is not the last time you will be hearing of this. The use of electronic banking for fund raising activities involving corporations continues to evolve. Our Treasurer is pursuing other electronic avenues as they too enter the corporate environment.
Our Bylaws require that the BoD protect RFTW intellectual property, our Brand. The current bylaws require permission from the BoD for use of our trademark(s) by other businesses and organizations. Many of the earlier permissions are outdated. So we released further interim guidance to our RC/ARCs with the request they forward it to their team members as necessary. We have no intention of interfering with anyone wishing to use our Brand when doing so is in the best interests of RFTW. But at the same time, we intend to protect our Brand, and we need your assistance. If you know of someone (or an organization) using the RFTW Brand, be it on a t-shirt or other item sold to support the Run, even if it is seemingly innocuous, please ask that they reach out to me via email at President@rftw.us. We want to encourage use of the RFTW Brand while still keeping control over how it is used and presented. Your RC/ARCs have the full details.
In February, we sent out a standardized message for use when contacting news media, civic organizations, etc., announcing our arrival. Below is that message. I encourage you to copy and paste it into an email and get it out. Let’s work together to notify the nation that we are coming to your community and that We Ride For Those Who Can’t.
Run For The Wall (RFTW), a veteran’s support organization, will be coming through ENTER LOCATION HERE on ENTER DATE/TIME HERE on our way to ENTER EITHER WASHINGTON D.C. OR MARSEILLES, IL. This is the 33rd year RFTW has conducted its mission of promoting healing among all veterans and their families and friends, calling 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 around the world. This mission is supported by thousands of citizens from communities like yours who come out to greet us, who provide donated gas and oftentimes food, and, most importantly, to demonstrate their patriotism and support.
As we work our way across America, whether from California to D.C or D.C. to Marseilles, IL., we visit towns and communities, veteran organizations like the VFW and American Legion, VA Centers and hospitals, schools, Gold Star families, and civic organizations to help spread the word. We need your help to promote the healing of those who have answered our nations call; to help remind our legislators that we need the accountability that was promised; and most importantly, we need to NEVER FORGET those who sacrificed all for us.
We cannot continue this mission without your support and assistance in getting the word out! Our motto is “We Ride For Those Who Can’t”. That all-encompassing motto includes Veterans and Patriots from all walks of life – with your help, we can reach more people who may need a personal connection or who wish to show their support.
We’d love to have you come out to meet or join us on ENTER DATE AND TIME HERE. We would love to see you as we work our way across this great country of ours. If you cannot make it, please visit our website at RFTW.US.
We look forward to seeing you!
Day Rider Registration – The new online Day Rider Registration process is working well with over 20 people so far taking advantage of the reduced fee for short term participation. Keep in mind that the Day Rider may participate in all RFTW activities at and between up to three consecutive overnight locations (which includes endpoint cities Ontario, DC, and Marseilles) with up to 2 full days on the road with the pack. If after those 2 days you’d like to continue on with the Run, (be aware – the urge will be strong!) your check-in team on the route will be able to help you extend to a full registration. Either way, you’ll still be joining the RFTW family and will be welcome to be a part of the Mission.
But how about you? How are your preparations going? Are you exercising, hydrating? Have you checked your meds list to ensure you have a sufficient supply for the duration of the Run? Is your motorcycle ready? How are your tires looking? Have you taken a few longer rides to get your mind and body prepped? Have you made all your overnight reservations?
No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. If you or someone you know find themselves struggling with their mental health, please know you can contact the VA Veteran’s Crisis Line by dialing 988 then press 1 or text 838255 and speak or chat with a qualified responder.
Let’s remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!
Is it May yet?
John “Turkey” Staub
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