Posted on Leave a comment

President’s Message – January 2018

Here we are in January already. I hope you all have a very happy and prosperous New Year. The Board of Directors and the Route Coordinators have been busy with planning the 30th Annual Run For The Wall. The results of some of that planning can now be accessed on the Route Hubs (Central Route, Midway Route, and Southern Route) of the website with the 2018 hotel lists. Moreover, the Houston Hurricane Relief Project volunteer sign-up has been going very well. As of this writing, we have 19 volunteers who will gather in Alvin, Texas, on Sunday, February 4, 2018 for registration and briefings. We are very proud of everyone who participated in the fund raising. Now the hands-on work begins on several veterans’ homes. Connie and I will meet you all in Alvin ready to help get local veterans back into their homes. I am still waiting for details on motels/hotels, and will post on the Scuttlebutt tab when received. Anyone wanting to sign-up just CLICK HERE.

Another result I am happy to introduce is the new logo for RFTW. Created by the sustainability committee and approved by the BoD, this logo contains all the values that Run For The Wall has embraced over its 29 years of operations. The logo has bright red, white and blue colors which represent our patriotism and love of country. The colors represent our mission, the “…sacrifices and contributions made by ALL VETERANS who have served our nation. Veterans of recent conflicts and those currently on active duty, Non-veteran Supporters and Patriots are especially welcome to join and ride with us as, We Ride for Those Who Can’t.”

The Motorcycle in the logo recognizes how we conduct our mission. The Gold Wings represent the angels who have kept us safe on each run, while the Headlight supports the promise we have made to those POW/MIAs and their families. “We Will Not Forget.”

The Vietnam service ribbon will still be visible on many items, including the RFTW website. The new logo does not diminish the fact that RFTW was started by Vietnam veterans. It will always be our recorded history. The new logo was created to ensure that RFTW does not die with us Vietnam veterans, but carries on through the next generations.

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run for the Wall
Board of Directors

RFTW Logo with Shadow

Posted on Leave a comment

2018 RFTW Hotel Lists Posted

The Hotel Lists for all three routes: Central, Midway, and Southern are now posted within the respective Route Hubs under > Run Info from the Main Menu of the RFTW Website.

These also include booking links for Ontario, CA and Washington, DC/Arlington, VA.

Central Route Hotels
Midway Route Hotels
Southern Route Hotels

See you in May!

Posted on Leave a comment

Details of RFTW-DRUSA Houston Relief Effort and Sign-up

Below is the schedule, dates, times, and sign-up form for the Run For the Wall and DRUSA relief effort for Houston from Hurricane Harvey.  The goal here is to help as many veterans that were affected as possible.  Now we need your muscle, labor, and couple days of your time, if you are so able to assist in that way.

 

RFTW / DRUSA PROJECT

DATE: February 6-10, 2018
HEADQUARTERS: Emmanuel Worship Center
2427 FM 528
Alvin, TX 77511
Pastor Avelino & Lily Da Silva

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Emmanuel Worship Center will provide:

  • classrooms for couples
  • Large room for single ladies
  • Large room for men
  • Those staying at Emmanuel should bring
    • Bedrolls
    • Air mattress
    • Towels

Motel will also be made available (Bill Terry)

PROJECTED PROJECTS

  • Five homes with need of (There will be veterans homes but not limited to veterans)
    • some clean out and preparation
    • Light plumbing
    • Minor electrical work
    • Carpentry
    • Drywall hung and finished (final texture done by company that has been contracted)
    • Paint
    • General Handyman type work
    • Insulation
    • Trash Hauled off??
  • Realizing the impossibility of completing a project in 4.5 days, realistic goals will be established with the homeowner prior to engaging the job.

BUDGET

  • $22,000 donated by RFTW
  • $28,000 donated by DRUSA
  • $10,000 per house

TOOLS & EQUIPMENT

  • Field Kitchen (Bill Terry)
  • Shower Trailer (Gordon Knox – arriving 2-5-18)
  • Tool Trailer
    • Mark Richardson
    • Danny Stewart
  • Tools needed
    • Hand tools for carpentry
    • Hand tools for minor plumbing work
    • Hand tools for minor electrical work
    • Drywall hanging and finishing tools (several cordless drills with screw drivers)

SCHEDULE

FEBRUARY 4

  • Bill Terry arrives and speaks at the church for preparation
  • Gordon and Yvonne Knox arrive with shower trailer and no harm forms to be filled out
  • David Moore arrives with the steps for the shower trailer
  • Gary and Carolyn arrive late

FEBRUARY 5

  • Shower Trailer setup on location
  • Field Kitchen will arrive
  • 10am – ???pm – Registration
    • Yvonne & Carolyn will handle the forms and registration
    • Everyone will register at Emmanuel on Monday
  • Final prep of all projects
  • Finalizing of teams (goal is to integrate RFTW, DRUSA and M25 into teams)

FEBRUARY 6 – 9

  • Breakfast 7 am
  • Work 8 am to 5 – 6 pm
  • Dinner 7 pm
  • Lunch & snacks will be provided by runners to the jobs

FEBRUARY 10

  • Breakfast 7 am
  • Non-denominational service 8:00 am
  • If needed, return to project and work until noon
  • Projected departure after lunch

Posted on Leave a comment

President’s Message – December 2017

Hello, Everyone –
Can you believe it is December already? The RFTW 2018 planning process is moving along smoothly and all route hotel lists will be ready for publishing after the start of the new year.

Hotel arrangements in Ontario, CA are being finalized by our California State Coordinator, Carol Olmstead, and Arlington, VA, hotels are being wrapped up by John Staub. To find these hotel listings please check at: www.rftw.us on the route hubs on Jan. 1, 2018. Once again, please be patient when dealing with hotel employees, this includes when making reservations, and also during the check-in and check-out process in May. All these hotels are the product of years of hard work and relationship building, and we do not want to lose them. Remember, we treat everyone we encounter WITH RESPECT!

As you prepare for May: One way to enhance rider safety training—in addition to all-important riding courses—is to read motorcycle safety articles. One very good place to find these safety articles is the American Motorcyclist magazine. The November issue contained information from a congressionally mandated “Motorcycle Crash Causation Study.” That study found that, “Traffic scanning errors by the drivers of other vehicles contributed to 70% of motorcycle crashes!” Another causation was, “Only 8% of riders who crashed had taken a course for experienced riders.”

Moreover, findings encourage regular training, “It is especially important to recognize that periodic re-training and advanced courses can help refresh your knowledge and skills, and provide new information and techniques that were not available when you took your basic riding course.” This mission is very different from what you may be familiar with, so sign-up for one of these courses and ride with confidence during our 30th Annual Run For The Wall.  MSF and Ride-Like-A-Pro, are a good places to start.

On another note, I am pleased to announce the Hurricane Harvey fund drive has met and exceeded its goal. Many thanks to our ridership and a generous Oklahoma donor for your kindness towards a very important effort. Meetings will be held in Houston to assess labor needs during the third week of December. Once these assessments are concluded, dates will be set for the work to begin. Watch for more details in my January message.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Connie and I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and very Happy New Year to everyone.

Is it May yet?

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run for the Wall Board of Directors

Posted on Leave a comment

Amazon and Run for the Wall

The Run for the Wall Board of Directors, and the 2018 Route Coordinators would like to wish everyone of our supporters, riders, and especially our new FNGs for 2018, a wonderful Thanksgiving and beginning to the Christmas and Holiday season.

At this time of year, for most us, marks the time that we start to buy gifts for family, friends, and loved ones.

We wanted to make you aware about our partnership with amazon.com, should any of you use amazon.com for purchases in the future.

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the value of your purchases to Run for the Wall for FREE.

  • When shopping at Amazon, make sure you use: http://smile.amazon.com
  • If you’ve never registered who you want to support via smile.amazon.com, make sure you type and search for: Run for the Wall (Hamilton, OH).
  • Logon with your same amazon username & password.

All items are the same price that they would be regardless.  Using http://smile.amazon.com is a painless way to help support Run for the Wall.

So, remember… when shopping at Amazon: Please ALWAYS use: http://smile.amazon.com.

Doing so, helps support our Mission and our Three Routes, as We Ride for Those Who Can’t.

Thank you. Have a wonderful Holiday!

Run for the Wall Board of Directors

P.S. This only works when ordering via a computer and/or a web browser.  It does NOT work if using the amazon app for iPhone or android.

Posted on Leave a comment

President’s Message November 2017

October has been a busy time as the Board of Directors and 2018 Route Coordinators continue the planning process for this extra special RFTW, The 30th Run for the Wall. Registration continues to be helpful for the planning process. I would like to urge everyone planning to go on the 2018 RFTW to register early and remind friends who are going to do the same. The website registration page is very easy to navigate and can be found at: https://rftw.us/rftw-registration

The Ontario, CA events are still in the planning stage and will soon be wrapped up. Many of our riders have requested we get the Ontario itinerary out sooner, and we are doing our best to accomplish that task. I can tell you that our Ontario coordinator, Carol Olmstead, has lined up many hotel options for all riders. No contracts have been signed yet but most look promising. We will have two “host hotels” that will be helpful for more meeting space. I will advise with more details when the contracts have been signed. The hotel lists for all routes will be published in early January. In past years we have had some problems with rude behavior towards the employees who take these reservations. Please be patient and polite with these folks – these hotels are working with our hotel coordinators to provide the riders with the lowest price they can, and bad behavior does not help our relationships that have been built up over many years.

I had a nice visit with Jim “The Mayor” Frost in Las Vegas, NV last week, and he is looking forward to leading riders to the Riverside National Cemetery once again on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.  This is a day before we officially leave Ontario, CA on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.  Riverside National Cemetery is the home of the Medal of Honor Memorial, whose walls feature the names of all medal recipients. Moreover, he will lead riders to the Fallen Soldier/Veteran’s Memorial, and the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National Memorial, which was dedicated in 2005. Don’t miss this event—it’s an outstanding start to our mission of “We Ride for Those Who Can’t.”

I have also received inquiries about the status of the hurricane relief fund and the volunteer work crew sign-up during the month. Donations to the fund have slowed down and we are approximately $4,000 short of the $10,000 goal. Checks can be made out to RFTW and sent to Ken Ward with “Hurricane Relief Fund” on the memo line. The BoD will match any amount up to $10,000. Please send what you can—the fund will continue until Gary “Shepherd” Burd calls for the donations which will go to “Disaster Relief USA Fund” (DRUSA).

The effort to set-up volunteer work crews of interested and capable riders is still in the cards. Gary Burd informed me the assessment team will begin in Houston in early December with physical work beginning well after the beginning of the New Year. The sign-up list will be posted on the RFTW Forum after the first of the year. He said they would like folks to sign-up for 3-4 days or more, if they can, to keep the teams working. Donations can be sent to RFTW Treasurer, Ken “Catfish” Ward:

Ken “Catfish” Ward
1766 S Erie Hwy
Hamilton, OH 45011
(be sure to note on the memo line: “For Hurricane Relief”)

Lastly, I wanted to thank the RFTW & Southern Nevada PGR riders for inviting us to the “Remembrance Walk” dedication ceremony that was held on October, 17, 2017 at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, NV. The memorial was the work of Em “Pricklypare” Stempin and her SNVPGR committee. Em and many of the riders present are RFTW riders and supporters. The ceremony was wonderful and is another commitment from veterans that “We Shall Never Forget.”

Above is a picture taken by Ken “Navy Buff” Munro, so everyone can see the work that’s being done by our RFTWers and PGR across the nation. Thanks to everyone involved and those RFTW riders who rode a long way to support this mission. “We Ride for Those Who Can’t.”

Have a wonderful November and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run for the Wall Board of Directors

Posted on Leave a comment

President’s Message October 2017

The end of September marked the end of the “All-Route Reunions” for 2017. The Texas All-Route Reunion was held the weekend of 22 September in Kerrville, TX. They had a great turnout and everyone had a good time. Like all the other reunions the planning and execution of the reunion was outstanding. Roger “Cowboy” Mead and his wife Sam put on a great weekend and the BoD would like to thank them, and all the other volunteers for the invitation and warm welcome. During the reunion the Board of Directors had a chance to meet with a large group of riders who asked good questions and offered many ideas. Thanks to all who participated. We enjoyed the session.

As many of you know we started a Hurricane Relief Fund in mid-September and have partnered with M-25 to send the donations to their Disaster Relief USA which has been on scene since both hurricanes hit the continental United States. At the Texas All-Route Reunion this effort was discussed at the banquet and resulted in a donation of $4,001. Once again our ridership showed how generous they are, they even donated the proceeds of their raffles. As of this writing, RFTW BoD treasurer, Ken “Catfish” Ward, reported the fund totals approximately $6,500. This money has been raised in less than one month!

We have not set a date to end the fund raiser and will continue to take donations until M-25 notifies us. Once again, if the riders raise $10,000 the Board will match that up to $10,000. We are now short of the goal by only $3,500. So, if you are able to donate please send your checks to:

Ken “Catfish” Ward
1766 S Erie Hwy
Hamilton, OH 45011
(be sure to note on the memo line: “For Hurricane Relief”)

The planning process for this year’s 30th Annual Run For The Wall continues smoothly with many events planned. The Route Coordinators’ monthly messages, located on the RFTW website Run Info tab, will continue to update riders on those events.

And remember:
Rider safety is more than just a phrase – it’s a call to action on everyone who participates in Run for the Wall. This is a demanding mission that requires not only your motorcycle be in top condition, but that you are in good health and ready for a 10-day mission. We highly recommend that riders participate in a motorcycle safety course to sharpen your skills, and learn something new prior to The Run in May 2018. Ride-Like-A-Pro, and MSF courses are a great place to start.

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run for the Wall Board of Directors


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©

Posted on Leave a comment

President’s Message September 2017

I hope this message finds you well and preparing for the 30th Annual Run For the Wall Celebration. I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone and how busy it has been.

The Board of Directors and Route Coordinators have been working to make this 2018 RFTW a very special time for everyone. The All Route Reunions in Springfield, MO and Angel Fire, NM have been completed giving folks a time to renew friendships and begin new ones.

The Labor Day weekend gathering in Eagle Nest & Angel Fire, NM gave us a chance once again to reflect on the values we all share, while honoring all veterans of all wars. Congratulations to Steve Berniklau and his team on an outstanding working reunion. This effort was very different in that Steve and his team organized and executed the plan to place 414 veteran and active duty honor bricks along the walkways of the Angel Fire Vietnam Memorial.  The Saturday Dinner and reunion welcome was very well done.  We were especially honored to have the RFTW Founder — James “Gunny” Gregory, 2018 Southern Route Coordinator — Chad O’Dell, and 2018 Central Route Coordinator — Harlan Olson in attendance.  A memorial brick was also laid for James “Gunny” Gregory.

On September 22, 2017 the Kerrville, TX All Route Reunion continues the reunion season. Roger “Cowboy” Mead assured me they still have space in the reunion hotel and it is not too late to register – All Are Welcome.

During August, most of us went about our everyday business. Then suddenly very dark clouds appeared on the horizon in the form of Hurricane Harvey. A catastrophe we have never seen before hit Houston, Texas. The State of Texas is home to many of our RFTW riders and supporters. After Harvey came ashore and parked over Houston and surrounding areas, the flooding began. Many of our riders called to see what the Board of Directors could do to help. At the Angel Fire reunion the board voted to start a fund raising project that would aid veterans and supporters in the affected area. The board has challenged riders and supporters of RFTW to raise $10,000 or more for this cause and the board will match up to $10,000. The Angel Fire reunion displayed the generosity RFTW riders are famous for by donating $1,552 to begin this campaign at the Saturday night dinner.

The details of this fund raiser will be similar to how RFTW handled the thousand year flood in Rainelle, West Virginia. Information will soon be available on the Forum and through social media. If you have friends and neighbors who want to help, invite them to join in with us to help the Houston, Texas, area by donating to this cause. If you want to donate now, please send a check to BoD Treasurer:

Ken “Catfish” Ward
1766 S Erie Hwy
Hamilton, OH 45011
Be sure to note on the memo line: “For Houston Relief.”

Mission 25 (M25) will be working with us in this effort through their faith based disaster funding source, Disaster Relief USA (DRUSA). Every dollar donated to this fund will be spent with zero overhead costs. M25 is the organization that provides spiritual help, hydration, snacks, medical assistance and more each year along each RFTW route.

RFTW will be posting a volunteer workers spreadsheet giving our riders and supporters the chance to go to Houston when the water recedes to help veterans clean up the flood damage. M25, led by Gary “Shepard” Burd, will coordinate this hands-on work activity in Houston. Gary stated he needs a steady workforce to complete this mission.

We will post this sign-up sheet soon for those of you who are able to help. After you sign-up you will be notified when they are able to start this mission and when you will be needed. Gary reports that M25 is already feeding volunteer workers and first responders while planning teams will follow shortly to assess workforce and other needs.

Please keep checking the forum and these messages for new updates as soon as we know the needs assessment is complete.

We Ride for Those That Can’t.

Les “Easy” Williams
Board of Directors President


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©

Posted on Leave a comment

President’s Message August 2017

In July 2017 the Board of Directors met during the Springfield, Missouri, All-Routes Reunion and completed the 2018 slate of Route Coordinators and Assistant Route Coordinators.

The Southern RC is Chad “Slacker” O’Dell and his ARC is Billie “Bugs” Dunlap. The Midway RC is Mike “Bandit” Huber with ARC Glenn “Wombat” Waggoner. Finishing out the slate for the Central Route is RC Harlan “Whitebirch” Olson and ARC Eamon “Boomer” Tansey. Since that meeting the BoD and these route leaders have continued the planning for the 30th Annual Run For The Wall. We are all looking forward to a great celebration year and these leaders will be working hard to produce a safe and professional run for everyone in 2018.

I hope this message finds you having a great riding season and planning trips to the next two All-Route Reunions. Remember, All are welcome at these reunions… Past riders, new FNGs, and supporters of Run for the Wall.

The RFTW Eagle Nest/Angel Fire, New Mexico Reunion will be held on Friday, Sept. 1 — Sunday, Sept. 3. This is both a fun and moving time and involves some work for the Memorial at Angel Fire, installing memorial bricks on Saturday and completing the day with a great dinner in Eagle Nest. Check out the registration forms on our web forum and respond to Steve Berniklau NLT August 30th — Click Here. You will receive a confirming email after you register. It is necessary for the people preparing the dinner to know how much food to prepare.

The last reunion for the year will be in Kerrville, Texas, and they are planning many rides through the hill country of Texas which reveals ranch land that goes as far as one can see! Cowboy and his crew are waiting to show you all this Texas cattle country and its beautiful western scenery. Please check out the registration information on our web forum and let Cowboy know you’re coming! — Click Here. This is a wonderful weekend Sept. 22– Sept. 24. Try to attend.

While attending other events this summer, I have been happy to hear our riders telling me about the motorcycle training courses they have taken to improve their skills. I think keeping riding skills sharp is very important and keeps us all safe. These training sessions can give you a chance to practice new skills throughout the winter for those of us blessed with very little snow or ice. Our statistics show our skills in slow riding and departing the highway for fuel and lunch stops has seen many preventable incidents along all three routes. The point is be safe and keep improving your skills.

Hope to see you at all these reunions and remember, “We Ride for Those Can’t.”

Please keep our troops in your prayers: They are in harm’s way every day while deployed. Reach out to the ones you know and welcome them to join us even if it’s for just one day.

Thanks to those who have written me with ideas on how to make us younger and better!

Keep up the good work.

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run for The Wall Board of Directors


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©

Posted on Leave a comment

President’s Message July 2017

Hello, RFTW, and Welcome to the 2018 30th Anniversary RFTW. I am honored to be selected as the President of the Board of Directors for this 30th year of “Riding for Those Who Can’t”. The impact of RFTW since Gunny Gregory started this mission has exceeded everyone’s expectations every year. Our expectations for 2018 are for a very busy year of planning, riding and change.

These changes will occur over the coming years as we seek to reach out and welcome warriors from all conflicts, with major focus on those following Vietnam to join us on our mission of respect, healing, demonstration and honor. The BOD established a Sustainability Committee in February 2017 to provide the board with ideas and information on ways to accomplish this task. The committee is made up of four board members and two riders. The two riders are John Staub – Central Route and Kris Wood Southern Route, while BOD members Ray Brammer, Kirk Olson, Doug Lyvere, and I round out the committee. During the year I will be reporting on this committee’s actions and how we are proceeding. With this in mind I will be reaching out to you for help in accomplishing the committee’s goal of making sure RFTW has younger leadership that takes this mission into its 60th anniversary in the year 2048! This is a noble goal and the BOD will need everyone’s help in recruiting these younger warriors.

Our average age for the 2017 RFTW was 62.5 years old, a number that tells us we have time to get this mission accomplished. One idea will be to more clearly market our riding options that allow joining us for not just 10 days, but for any number of days. Remember when you were 35 years old raising a family and working—could you spare two plus weeks? Most of us started doing a few days and then made plans to add more days in the future.

On behalf of the BoD, I want to thank all the leadership and riders for completing the 2017 RFTW for a safe and a professionally run mission. Also, to all the folks throughout the country who gave their time and energy to support the 2017 RFTW. We could not succeed without your support.

Hope to see you at the All Routes Reunion in Springfield, MO July 7-9. Dewayne Howard has planned a great reunion with some very good rides including one to Branson, MO that is a fun trip.

If you cannot make the Springfield reunion there are TWO more upcoming reunions:
1) Angel Fire / Eagle Nest, NM is set for Sept 1-3, and
2) Kerrville, TX Sept 22-24

Steve “Spooner” Berniklau will once again be heading up the Angel Fire reunion, and the RFTW tradition of laying memorial bricks at the Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire. Roger “Cowboy” Mead has fun rides and activities planned for the Kerrville, TX weekend. Hope to see you there as well. ALL RIDERS, supporters and Future FNGs are encouraged to come and are welcome at all RFTW Reunions! Save the dates and attend!

Les “Easy” Williams
President
Run For The Wall Board of Directors


*Photo Courtesy of The Book “Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial”©