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Southern Route Coordinator News – January 2020

Greetings All from a frosty Northern Nevada.  Hopefully it is better riding weather where you are.

We are less than 4 months away from KSU in Ontario.  Now is the time to start scheduling “check-ups” for your ride and yourself.   Check the www.rftw.us webpage and our social media sites often, for late breaking news.  The Forum is a great place to ask questions and find answers.  Seek out the Local Gatherings in your area.

Route planning is going full speed, the Leadership and State Coordinators are working very hard to complete every detail.  Finishing the Itinerary is our next big item.  Until then, except for the change from Chandler, AZ to Casa Grande, AZ the Route remains the same.

The BIG news this month is we are now taking pre-orders for the 20th Anniversary Southern Route T-Shirts.  There are available in Long ($35) and Short ($25) Sleeves and sized from Small to XX Large.  The deadline to order is April 10, 2020.  They will be available for pickup in Ontario and at our stops along the Route.  For more information and the downloadable Order Form, see our post on the RFTW Facebook page or send an email to me or Kris Wood and we will send you the form.  All profits from the sales will go to the Southern Route Education Fund.  Do it for yourself and help the kids, a Win-Win.

We still have some of the 20th Anniversary Southern Route Commemorative Patches left. Orders are still coming in.  I was hoping to have a few to sell in Ontario, but I can’t guarantee any of the 300 will be left.

I want to thank ALL of you who have volunteered to be part of the team, we could go nowhere without YOU.  Nearly all team rosters are full and have a few in reserve.  The Contact List should be up-to-date, if your name is missing or in the wrong spot, contact the team leader so we can make the correction.  Until next time, Be Well, Stay Safe.  Hope Fuels The Families, The Mission US

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Southern Route Coordinator News – December 2019 2nd Edition

Just a Quick Note

Season’s Greetings from snowy Northern Nevada.  As we approach year’s end, there are a few things that I would like you to know.  First, our Southern Route leadership team has pledged itself to give every task their best effort.  But it takes everyone’s cooperation to make it all work.  Our State Coordinators work hard to cultivate relationships with the hotels and motels at our overnight stays to get us the best deals they can.  But sometimes all it takes is one phone call from a rider being rude to ruin that.   The hotels cannot make you reservation until January 1st.  There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of bad behavior.  FYI, I have been told that the reservation desk for the Ontario hotels will not be manned until January 2nd.     I am asking you to Please be patient and show consideration.  Many of these places have small staffs and can be overwhelmed by the volume of calls.

The 20th Anniversary Commemorative patches are flying off the shelf.  We have only a shade over 100 patches left.   Due to the success of the patches, we are planning a 20th Anniversary T-Shirt.  The special design has just been approved.   They will be sold by pre-order only.  Watch for details coming soon.

Speaking of T-shirts, the RFTW Online Merchandise Store has several NEW & STYLISH 2020 Run For The Wall, T-shirts, pins, patches and more.  Please check it out.

From my Family to Yours, We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – December 2019

Greetings from the frozen tundra of Northern Nevada.  I hope that everyone had a Great Thanksgiving.   Well we are a little over 160 days from kickstands up and just over 250 Southern Route registrants.  Plans are moving right along.  The Welcome Video has just been released.  I hope you all have had a chance to see it and shared it with your friends.  This is one way others can learn more about Run For The Wall and maybe peak their interest.

A few Missions ago while on an outreach I had a chance to talk with Karoni Forrester an MIA daughter and our Outreach Coordinator.  One thing I was curious about was, why their hats and brassards were green.  She told me “Green is the color of HOPE”.  I knew that the Love in their hearts kept the home fires burning while they waited for their loved ones to return.   But, what fuels those fires is the HOPE that someday they will know the fate those whom they long to see home again.    We have several MIA Family members with us every Mission, we Love and Support them, and maybe for a time, ease their pain.

The color Green has a whole new significance to me.  When I see green now, I think of the HOPE that Fuels, the Families, The Mission & US.  When I stop at a traffic signal, as the light turns Green I say a little prayer of HOPE for those who have not yet returned.  If we all did that, we can make a difference.

The dedicated folks at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency use all of their resources to find the answers we all want to know.  Sometimes miracles do happen. To borrow a phrase from the President of our Board of Directors Les Williams, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is why we ride”.

For the last several Missions the Route Coordinators have chosen a mantra to be a part of their Mission.   Recently: for Stoney it was “Charlie Mike – Continue The Mission; for Chicken Joe “Keep The Faith”; for Ghost Rider “Mission>Self”; for Slacker “Ride With Heart” and for Bugs it was “Together We Ride – Every Mile Counts”.  For 2020 on the Southern Route it will be HOPE FUELS – The Families-The Mission-US

You may have noticed the Green Ribbon of HOPE on our Southern Route logo and 20th Anniversary commemorative patch.  It is there as a reminder that HOPE FUELS

Our State Coordinators have been working hard to get secure lodging commitments so the Southern Route Hotel List can be posted on January 1, 2020.

There are still some 20th Anniversary Patches left, they make great gifts

As 2019 winds down and we look forward to 2020, Diane and I wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

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Southern Route Coordinator News – November 2019

We are now less than 200 days before kickstands up in Ontario and our current Southern Route registration has just surpassed 200.

The month of November gives us two very special holidays.    Veterans’ Day on the 11th, which is pretty much every day to the Run For The Wall Family.    This is the day in which the Country recognizes the Contributions and Sacrifice of All Veterans from All Services.     I remember as a child watching the Veterans’ Day parade, seeing the “old guys” marching and carrying flags.     Many in their uniforms, some actually still fit, with medals glistening proudly displayed on their chest.    Most didn’t smile much as they walked by, I wondered why.    Now I think I know, when they put in that uniform, their thoughts were drawn back to the memories of those who no longer march beside them.    I wish I knew then that just a “Thank You for your Service” could have lifted their spirit.    So when you see a veteran, just simple Thank You will go a long way.     I plan to ride with my CVMA Chapter in the Reno, NV  Veterans’ Day Parade.    Not because it’s fun, if any of you have ridden in a parade, you will know what I mean.    It is our way of showing appreciation those who honor and support our Veterans, and remembering those who ride with us in spirit only.

On the 28th, out nation celebrates Thanksgiving Day.    It should be a day for being thankful for All that we have.     We are blessed to live in America and enjoy All the Freedoms that we have.     There are 4 F’s in Thanksgiving, or so I’m told. Food, Football, Friends and Family.    Family is the most important one.  Without family, we are alone.    There is the family we are born into and the Run For The Wall Family we are welcomed into.     Noho ka ʻohana ma kou puʻuwai (Hawaiian)

The Southern Route 20th Anniversary patches took a little longer than expected to be finished.     They are expected to arrive on November 8, 2019, envelopes are prepped, thanks to Confetti, and will be stuffed and mailed on the 9th.    Sorry for the delay.     On the brighter side there are still some available, so don’t wait too long.

 

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Southern Route Coordinator Breaking News

Greetings All,

Fall is here, like it or not.  For those of us who live where the climate does not afford year-round bike riding weather, good riding days are scarce.  But it’s a good time to do a thorough 360° look around your ride; tires, brake pads, fluids and other wear items. Look tires all over and measure tread depth.  If you are not sure how, there are dozens of YouTube videos that can explain the process.  Plan your maintenance schedule so that you are not scrambling around in early May trying to get everything done.

Have a plan to take care of yourself too.  Adding pounds for hibernation works for bears, most of us are not bears though.  See your doctor and get that checkup.  Have your prescription medications reviewed.  The Mission can be challenging for the mind and body.  Think about what you can do now, to be ready for later.

Breaking News…This Just In….. 

2020 is the 20th Anniversary of the Southern Route on Run For The Wall. To commemorate this milestone, we have designed a special limited-edition patch.  Only 300 will be produced and sold to raise money for the 2020 Southern Route Fuel Fund.  The cost is only $20, which includes postage, and all profits will be used to offset our fuel cost. The patches are 4″ x 2.5″ and beautifully embroidered with heat sealed backing to be great looking and durable.

To get yours, Simply,

  • Send your Name:
  • Mailing Address:
  • Number of Patches:
  • Write a Check for the amount equal to $20, times the number of patches desired;
  • Make Check payable to: Run For The Wall, Inc.

Please Write: Southern Route Patch in the Comment Section

Mail all that to: Robert Nelson

30 Dogwood Ct

Dayton, NV 89403-6366

 

All patches will be sent via USPS First Class Mail.  Order soon before they are gone.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – October 2019

Greetings from the Battle Born State.  After the long drive back from Texas and a day to recuperate, back to Southern Route “coordinating”.    On behalf of ALL the riders in attendance, I would like to Thank Cowboy and Sam, their legion of helpers, Heart O’ The Hills VFW Post 1480 and the Y-O Ranch Hotel for another Outstanding and Entertaining RFTW Kerrville TX Reunion.  Next year’s reunion is scheduled for September 25 – 27, 2020, so mark your calendar.

Congratulations to Billie “Bugs” Dunlap (2019 SR RC) & Ken “Six String” Dugas (2020 MR RC) on their selections as 2020 Sandbox Route RC and ARC respectively.

Announcements

Our Day 1 overnight stop in 2020, has been changed to Casa Grande, AZ.  This change will allow us to bypass the Phoenix afternoon and morning rush hour. And for the first time in a long time we will be able to eat indoors, out of the heat.  More information will come as we work out the final details.  I cannot Thank our “A”Z Team of State Coordinators enough for all of their hard work making this change possible. I love it when a plan comes together.

That’s the good news. The downside is it adds about 45 miles to our Day 1 ride. But, by averting downtown Phoenix commuter traffic, we should avoid any stop-n-go situations.  We will endeavor to increase time at our fuel stops allow for additional hydration.

The Leadership and Support Teams rosters are nearly complete.  A contact list is posted on the rftw.us Southern Route Hub.  A list of reserves (not shown) is kept by team leaders to fill inevitable vacancies.  A Big Thank You to all who volunteered.

Southern Route 2020 Pre-Registration have already exceeded 160.  I encourage you to register early, it really helps the planning efforts.  Our State Coordinators are working hard to secure great hotel rates and working with our supporters at every stop along the Southern Route.  Their behind the scenes efforts are vital to Our Mission’s success.   Be sure to thank them when you see them.

More to follow………………

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Southern Route Coordinator News – September 2019

Confetti and I just got back from the RFTW Angel Fire Reunion.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial there is such a spectacular place.  Not to mention the ride to and from there.  I was glad to see so many Southern Route riders, together we laid 513 bricks.  There were several MOH recipients honored and a special tribute section to Gump’s unit the 507th Maintenance Company, Iraqi Freedom.  I was honored to carry the brick for his fallen comrade Brandon Sloan.  There are tons of pictures and videos posted on the RFTW Facebook page.  Mark your calendar for next year, Labor Day weekend.

Now it’s time to get ready for the Kerrville Reunion.  Looks like there are rides planned for Friday and Saturday. Yeah!  I hope y’all can make it.   The reunions are what keep us charged up between Mays.

Team rosters are filling up, check the Southern Route Hub, Contact List for the most current information.  Many of you have used the online Volunteer Sign-up, there is no need to do it multiple times.  Be sure that you meet the eligibility requirements before volunteering.

A review of all submitted After-Action Reports (AARs) has been completed and many recommendations resulted.  Some of these will be reflected as changes noticeable in the current route plan. While others may take longer to develop or require further study.  Your AAR is your chance to let leadership know what went well and what did not.

Our Board of Directors and CA State Coordinators are working diligently to secure a better host hotel situation in Ontario for 2020. And if things go according to plan, and they always do, we should have a hydration trailer in Ontario.  So, there will be no excuses for riders not being properly hydrated.  The first few days on Southern Route can be especially Hot & Dry, and if the past is any indicator, Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate will be heard at every stop.  Ultimately it is your responsibility to take care of yourself.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – August 2019

As you might guess, the Southern Route Leadership Team is busy planning every step of our Mission for 2020.  You may notice that the leadership list will be a little smaller.  We are eliminating and combining some positions.  Each Team Leader is currently filling their rosters.  Once they are firmed up, I will update the Contacts page on our Hub.  Use the Volunteer Sign-Up Form on the Hub if you would like to offer your services.

Southern Route is considering a couple of new positions, if the right volunteers can be found.  One is a Chase Vehicle for Outreach Missions.  Ideally a pickup with a trailer capable of transporting 1-2 motorcycles.  The reason for a smaller rig is that many of the Outreach locations have very limited parking and traverse narrow and winding roads.

The other is similarly related, Outreach Medic, a rider with recent EMT or related medical experience and current credentials.  This position would require vetting, by our Medical Team.

In each case the volunteer should have; Ridden the Southern Route ATW at least twice, Have their own equipment and supplies, The intent of going ATW on Southern Route in 2020.  If you are interested in either of these positions, please contact me directly via email with a short bio of your qualifications and RFTW experience.

In other news, it’s Reunion Season! Check out all the reunions and regional gathering information in the rftw.us website Forum section.  These are open to Past, Present, Future and other interested riders.  They are a great time to get together with other riders in a less hectic environment than during the Run.  I’d like to thank those folks who organize the events for us to enjoy.  You can show your support by attending as many as can.  All Routes are Welcome!

Bob “Captain America” Nelson

Southern Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII 2020

bob.nelson@rftw.us

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Southern Route Coordinator News – July 2019

Greetings from the “Battle Born” State of Nevada,

I am truly honored to have been confirmed by the Board of Directors to be your Run For The Wall XXXII 2020, Southern Route Coordinator.

For those who do not know me; I am a Vietnam Veteran (US Navy ’72- “73), Afghanistan Veteran (US Army 2003) and a retired US Army soldier in 2010.  I was a Run For The Wall FNG in 2004, 2020 will be my will be my 12thAll The Way on the Southern Route.  I have been in all platoon leadership positions, including Platoon Coordinator.  In 2018 I started as a RGIT and ended as a Road Guard.  For my 2019 Mission, I served as Assistant Route Coordinator alongside our RFTW XXXIRoute Coordinator, Billie “Bugs” Dunlap.  I would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to “Bugs”for his leadership and guidance, which has given me the confidence to take over the helm of an Outstanding leadership team.

This just in…. it is my pleasure to announce that the Run For The Wall Board of Directors has confirmed Kristine “Eyes” Wood to be Run For The Wall XXXII 2020, Southern Route, Assistant Route Coordinator.  Kris has been an integral part of Run For The Wall leadership for many years now.  She too, has served in all platoon leadership positions.  Also “Eyes” has reported the Southern Route spirit in her sitreps for the past three Missions.  She has immense dedication to the Mission as evidenced by her authoring Run for the Wall – a Journey to the Vietnam Memorial.  Please congratulate Kris when you get a chance and give her the same enthusiastic support, I’ve enjoyed this past year.

Our goal is to make our Mission as Safe and Stress Free as possible.  

We will build from the great success of our 2019 Mission.  Many of our senior leaders will be returning to provide continuity and experience.

  • Road Guard Captain – Bob “Captain” Mazzone
  • Platoon Coordinator – Vic “Big Vic” Killion
  • Senior Chaplain – Jerry “Partner” Plent
  • Fuel Team Lead – Curt “Stitch” Bancroft
  • Staging Team Lead – Steve “Dragon” Edmonds
  • Ambassador Team Lead – Dave “Huey” Palmer
  • Registration Lead – Shirley “Top Sarge” Scott
  • Merchandise Lead – Carol Olmstead
  • Outreach Visitation – Karoni “Hoops” Forrester
  • And many others…

The Southern Route Online Volunteer Formshould go livevery soon.

Watch the www.rftw.us website for the announcement.

 

Bob “Captain America” Nelson
Southern Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXII 2020

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Southern Route Coordinator – Bugs’ LAST Newsletter (JUN’19)

RFTW SR RC Newsletter – June 2019 – RFTW XXXI Wrap-up

Greetings from Weatherford, Texas!

When we gathered in Parking Lot D in Ontario, I remember speaking of how quickly the next 10 days would pass and how we should embrace and savor the time we have with each other on the Run. Well not only did those days fly by, now looking back over the past 12 months I see a whirlwind of scenes in my mind as the days, weeks and months were spent in joyful preparation and anticipation of those 10 days. And those 10 days were the experience of a lifetime! It has been a great honor and a truly humbling experience to serve as your Southern Route Coordinator. The timing for me was perfect as I transitioned out of active service retiring from the Navy Reserve last July and was able to roll into service to my Veteran Community and Family through this great organization. Now it is time to take the next step and hand over the lead…

I am very proud to announce that the RFTW Board of Directors has now confirmed your next Southern Route Coordinator…

Bob “Captain America” Nelson

Bob served as the Assistant Route Coordinator for RFTW XXXI and was right up front with me for every aspect of planning for that Run. He is assembling a Leadership team that will review the great successes and the “others” to improve on our mission capabilities and the support to our riders. Bob is a very experienced RFTW Rider and a very capable leader in whose care I will confidently hand the reigns of command for the Southern Route.

In closing, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers who selflessly gave of their time, effort, talent and treasure to make the Southern Route of RFTW XXXI such an overwhelming success. I may have had the privilege of riding at the front, but all of you led the pack with your caring and generosity that touched so many lives along the way. TOGETHER WE made a difference. As I have said before, the success of our mission may be measured in the way we make a difference for the people we meet. This is why WE RIDE.

Regardless of the separation we experience before the next Run, all roads are connected. So, wherever you are now and always…

TOGETHER WE RIDE!

I look forward to seeing you all again soon, somewhere down the road…

Bugs out!

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap

Southern Route Coordinator

Run For The Wall XXXI

 

Is it May yet?