How did we get to the middle of March already? Time is literally flying by. I realize that winter has not been kind to most of you this year. While you all endure record cold, snowfall, and sleet/rain, we here in So CA have also been getting wet – Very Wet, by our standards. It will be a big problem in mid-to-late summer when fire season is upon us. But between now and then, we have the glorious months of April and May. Hopefully, we do not experience extreme weather while going across the country this spring, but at the very least we can expect a few days of wind and wet, perhaps snow at higher altitudes, and hail, all just to make it especially interesting. Sometimes it’s chilly/COLD and sometimes it’s flippin’ hot, but we take it all on as we pursue our Mission. One Mission, Three Routes! Regardless of the route of your choice, now is the time to begin (continue?) preparations. As soon as the roadways are clear, we all need to get out and RIDE. Practice those riding skills! Get the bike tuned up and squared away! Don’t procrastinate – The journey will be upon us before we know it! Of course, I know that this all goes without saying for many of you, in fact I am quite sure that there are those who have at least started laying out their “stuff”, if they have not already started packing!
I want to take a moment here before you all get bored and stop reading, and THANK Judy Wormmeester who was instrumental in past years in securing a chase vehicle for each route from KIA Motors. KIA is currently undergoing some organizational changes and will not be in a position to materially support us this year. HOWEVER, as I was mentioning this to one of our regular donors, they volunteered to rent for us three SUVs to replace those formerly provided by KIA. The three routes will use these vehicles to support their day-to-day operation, such as registration, finance, etc. This donor prefers, no, DEMANDS to remain anonymous, but a big THANK YOU goes out! And Thank You, KIA for your past support.
As was the case the last couple of years, the Radisson Hotel in Ontario will be hosting us prior to departure. The day-to-day itineraries will remain pretty much the same. Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be taken up by you all visiting with old friends, making new ones and WELCOMING FNGs. Registration will be available for those who haven’t registered online (We heartily encourage online registration, so avoid the crowd!), and the usual orientation and organizational meetings will commence. Tuesday morning we will be offering a ride out to Riverside National Cemetery to honor our fallen heroes and visit several Memorials. And the meetings will continue. In the evening we will be enjoying an informal meal presented by the Radisson. At this event, we will be making a presentation of the custom built Combat Hero’s motorcycle to Capt. Ken Kraft U.S. ARMY, who started out as a grunt, and has made his way up the ranks. NO OTHER Presentations or talks are planned or authorized at this time. “Microphone Time” will need to be approved by myself, representing the BOD, or Ken Hargrove/Carol Olmstead, our Ontario Coordinators. Again this is merely an informal gathering of participants focused on meeting old friends, making new ones and WELCOMING our FNGs. YOU WILL NEED TO BE REGISTERED AND WILL NEED TO HAVE YOUR WRIST BAND ON IN ORDER TO GAIN ENTRANCE TO THE VENUE.
The RFTW merchandise trailers will be set up at the host hotel so you can pick up any last minute items that you missed online. The store now has more items in stock and this year’s T-shirts and merchandise is available. Other vendors, and I am informed that there will be some interesting ones this year, will also be set up in the front parking lots. Space is limited! Prospective vendors will absolutely need to have an Ontario, CA Business License and must contact Carol Olmstead prior to the event for deployment at the site.
We will also be setting up a “Media Table” to announce upcoming activities and events. PLEASE DO NOT JUST TAKE IT UPON YOURSELF TO LEAVE FLYERS, HANDOUTS, POSTERS, ETC. ON THIS TABLE. PLEASE CONTACT CAROL OLMSTEAD BEFORE DOING SO! ANY INFORMATION DISPLAYED THAT HAS NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED WILL BE SUBJECT TO DISPOSAL.
Also, Carol has gone to great effort to secure flags representing the branches of service, POW/MIA, an American flag, etc. These flags and the RFTW banners need to remain at the hotel for use in the upcoming years. I know that it would seem fitting to take the flags to DC and leave them at the wall, but all flags and banners used in Ontario need to be saved for use again next year and the next.
Vendors – You MUST have a valid Ontario, CA Business License. You will be asked to produce it and will not be allowed to set up if you cannot do so. All vendor coordination is being done through Carol Olmstead this year. You MUST see her BEFORE setting up shop.
I know that it may seem like we are putting a lot of restrictions and “rules” on an event that represents Freedom in its truest sense, however we do need to make sure that there are no misunderstandings that could result in complications either now or in coming years.
I have the following from Jim “The Mayor” Frost:
The Mission and the Goals of Run For The Wall® focus on accountability in wartime actions, "emphasizing that no one should be left behind." It took decades for a National Memorial to be dedicated to those thought (known?) to be Prisoners Of War or Missing In Action. The Tuesday before RFTW "Day One" is the opportunity to visit that memorial. A ride to Riverside National Cemetery will take place on Tuesday morning, May 16th, from the Radisson parking lot. Stage after 0730 on Tuesday, Rider’s meeting at 0830, and KSU at 0900 for the half-hour ride.
The National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Memorial was dedicated in September 2005. Viet Nam veteran Lewis Lee Millett, Jr., son of MoH Recipient Lew Millett, sculpted the bronze statue which depicts an American serviceman on his knees with hands bound by his captors. The Fallen Soldier/Veterans’ Memorial is also at Riverside National Cemetery: erected in 2000, is dedicated to all service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Riverside National Cemetery is also home of the Medal of Honor Memorial and one of four recognized as a National Medal of Honor Memorial Site. Dedicated in 1999, its walls feature the names of all MoH recipients. Expect to be back to the host hotel by noon, unless you wish to spend more time at RNC, or to visit the March Field Air Museum nearby. Try to schedule your time to be in Ontario on Tuesday morning to join us. RIDERS AND PASSENGERS PARTICIPATING IN THIS RIDE WILL NEED TO BE REGISTERED AND DISPLAYING THE APPROPRIATE MARKINGS ON THEIR MOTORCYCLES AND WRISTBANDS. REGISTRATION WILL BE OPEN EARLY ON TUESDAY MORNING.
The itineraries are now being finalized and there are some changes. I cannot put out any specific information in that regard at this time as arrangements and contracts are still in the works. As for hotel accommodations, the hotel lists have been published.
As the next Run rapidly approaches, it is time to start thinking about next year’s Board Of Directors. At least one of our members will be stepping down, and we will need to fill his position. If you are interested in sitting on the BoD, you need to know that it is a three-year term and will begin the first of July. Contact any member of the Board for more information. We will need a resume, outlining your experience both with RFTW, and in your personal life in the real world.
That’s about it. A couple of reminders:
Be sure to make a special effort to WELCOME FNGs
RFTW has a “No Pet” policy. NO PETS, PLEASE — SERVICE ANIMALS ONLY!
Timing at venues is of prime importance. If anyone is considering inviting speakers, participants, entertainment, etc., that activity must be coordinated through Carol Olmstead or Harry Steelman. Last minute requests in Ontario will not be considered.
Once you get your wrist band WEAR IT AT ALL TIMES!
HELMETS are MANDATORY everywhere on the Run
Secure your gear
Do NOT leave your ride parked under the breezeway of ANY Hotel/Motel. They will restrict emergency access and may very well be towed.
RIDE SAFE and HYDRATE
Harry “Attitude” Steelman
Run for the Wall® Board of Directors