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Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – January 2023

Happy New Year!!!

I hope your new year is off to a healthy, happy beginning.

The new year is a time for reflection, and planning. As I was mentally preparing for the new year, I had been pondering my role as Southern Route Coordinator. It’s easy to get bogged down in the logistics, nuts and bolts of the run and to lose sight of the mission and why I joined Run for the Wall in the first place and why veterans return to the run year after year.

My pondering was brought home to me on New Year’s Eve and brought clarity to my thoughts and mission. Doc and I were attending a party at our neighbor’s home who is also a biker and owns a motorcycle merchandise shop in town. Consequently, the other attendees at the party were predominantly bikers.  Well into the evening, I looked over and saw a man looking through the book Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial. I went and sat next to him and we began to talk.

Jerry, a veteran and a biker had heard of the Run but didn’t know much about it. What a golden opportunity for me to share my passion, and commitment to the ten-day motorcycle ride across the country, escorting veterans on the healing ride of a lifetime. Jerry had tears in his eyes as he reviewed the pictures of patriotic Americans greeting veterans all across the country. Needless to say, Jerry signed up to ride with us in 2023.

This experience with Jerry was just what I needed to boldly enter 2023 and the final preparations for this year’s Run. I hope everyone in leadership has similar opportunities to share the Run with others and to pause and remember the 1,581 still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has compiled profiles of many of the MIA, please read and remember, this is why we ride.

Click here for MIA biographies

Promotional Materials

The Board has recently created many tools to use to share the run. You can access flyers, business card templates, brochures and talking points. These are great tools to help all of us 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.  Romeo Tango Mike

Click here for RFTW promotional materials

Interactive Map

Another newly added item to the website is the interactive Southern Route Map and Stops. Wow, it already has 2,857 views! The map provides a day by day list and map of each stop, highway and exit. A big shout out to Kelly “Gonzo” Perry for putting the map together for us. Be sure to say thank you when you see him this year. Did I mention, he works for donuts 🤗🍩.

Click here for map

 

 

Other News

If you are riding from California to DC, please take advantage of our Pre-Paid fuel program. This has been discussed in previous newsletters. The QR code on the attached flyer will take you directly to the link where you may purchase pre-paid fuel. The pre-paid fuel program will get us through the gas line much quicker and provide for longer KSD rest stops. Beats sitting in a gas line, waiting for your turn to fuel.

 

 

 

Gift Cards Needed

A segment of every morning meeting is fundraising. This is done through the 50/50 raffle and item raffle. This year we’re looking for un-used or donated gift cards to raffle at morning meetings. Please consider bringing gift cards to donate to our morning raffle fundraising. The funds are used in part to purchase fuel for the chase vehicles and medical vehicles. Just knowing the chase vehicles and medical staff are with us provides a level of comfort, safety and  security. Please help us pay for this service.

Volunteers Needed

We are still looking for volunteers for the staging team and platoon leadership. If you have ridden with RFTW before, please consider volunteering.

Click here to volunteer for Southern Route

Public Service Reminder – Registration price increase takes effect on January 31, 2023. REGISTER FOR THE RUN TODAY!!! 

 

The Southern Route hotel list was posted January 1, 2023. A big shout out to the state coordinators who worked to get the hotel lists to Assistant Route Coordinator, Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan so she could have it posted on the web. It’s not always easy to be working on tasks so far before the run takes place. It takes commitment and fortitude to get the hotel list done way before most riders haven’t even decided if they’re going. A big thank you to Stonewall, for staying on top of all the details. Be sure to say thank her when you see her this year. Did I mention Stonewall works for beads and trinkets 🤗

Southern Route Leadership team is meeting monthly to plan a safe, memorable ride for 2023. The first draft of the itinerary is done, the hotel list is done, many leadership teams are fully staffed. The Southern Route is well planned. During the next few months, we will continue to fine tune the details. The 100 plus Southern Route Volunteers are committed to making the XXXIII Run a great experience.

Is it May yet?

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator

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Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter- December

I hope December finds all of the Run for the Wall family and friends healthy and happy. I am sure we are all looking forward to spending time with loved ones. Like most of you, I am frantically purchasing gifts, wrapping presents, baking cookies, attending parties… Every year I swear to scale back, buy less, do less, start earlier…as usual, it didn’t happen this year. Consequently, this will be a short, to the point newsletter.

Pre-Paid Fuel

As mentioned in previous newsletters, we are offering a pre-paid fuel option for the 2023 Run. If you struggle remembering to stop at the bank for wads of cash, digging in your pocket for gas money at the hectic fuel stop, this might be something you’re interested in. Yes, you read it correctly a pre-paid fuel option. What’s the cost to you? The estimate of the cost of non-donated fuel stops will be $150.00 per rider.

How does it work? Scan the QR code on the flyer,  from there you can purchase pre-paid fuel with a credit card. You may also pay for pre-paid fuel when you arrive in Ontario and check-in. Once you pre-pay for your fuel, you will be issued a wrist band and a receipt. When you pull into the gas stop, show the fuel team member your wrist band and you will not be charged for fuel. Yes, you read that correctly, fill your tank and ride on through. We will all arrive at the staging area quicker, with a little more time for rest, hydration and snacks.

All riders will still be required to fuel their bikes after the dinner stop. Every rider WILL HAVE A FULL TANK WHEN THEY ROLL OUT IN THE MORNING!

Now for the questions that are running through your mind:

  1. How can $150.00 be enough money for fuel? Historically, the remaining fuel expenses are donated stops.
  2. How do I know my bike’s fuel usage will be $150? The stops that are not donated fuel stops will all be $10 stops.
  3. What if you’re not going all the way? This would not be a good plan for you, unless you want to donate your unused gas money to the chase vehicles’ fuel expenses, because NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN
  1. What if you lose your wrist band? You will have to show your receipt to be issued a new wrist band.
  1. What if you do not complete the run? There again, you will be making a donation to the chase vehicles’ fuel expense fund. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN.
  1. Will this impact donated fuel stops? NO, the generous donors on the route will still donate fuel stops.

Hotel List
The 2023 Southern Route hotel list will be posted on the RFTW.us website January 1. The list will include hotel names, date and contact information. Please be kind and considerate when you contact the hotel to make your reservation. Our state coordinators work hard to develop relationships with the hotel staff and we want to ensure good relationships continue.
A big thank you and shout out to our state coordinators. They work behind the scenes all year to coordinate and organize each and every gas stop, meal, hotel, camping site, and law enforcement escort. It is a long, never-ending job and these volunteers deserve our utmost gratitude. During the Run this year, when you see the state coordinators, please thank them for the many hours they put in to get YOU safely and comfortably to DC.

Volunteer
We still need volunteers for the staging team and platoon leadership. If you have been on the run before, we need you to volunteer, the mission will not continue without volunteers. Charlie Mike

Registration
Early Bird Registration ends January 31, at which time there will be a price increase of $15.00. Please register early, it helps tremendously with our planning.

  • Your leadership team has been laying low the month of December to allow for time with friends and family, to enjoy the holiday season, to rest and rejuvenate because, come January we are going to hit it hard!
    We need You to:
  • VOLUNTEER
  • REGISTER
  • COMMIT TO REMEMBER THE MISSION

    ROMEO TANGO MIKE

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours from our little farm in Idaho. May you have a colorful Christmas full of bright lights, hot drinks and warm loved ones.
May no Grinch, foreign or domestic, be able to spoil your holiday. Wishing you a Christmas where everyone is happy and grievances are at a minimal.

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator

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Southern Route Coordinator News – November

Southern Route 2023 "Eyes" Masthead

Welcome to the November Southern Route, RC Newsletter. Let’s see if we can bring you up to date on what’s new and what’s not so new.

What’s Not so New

 Southern Route leadership continues to meet and to plan. The focus this month has been on building the various volunteer teams, these teams are necessary for our safe ride across the country.

State Coordinators have been working with the various hotels to have enough hotel rooms and host hotels for all the riders. The hotel list will be posted on January 1, 2023. Please do not contact the hotels prior to January 1, as the state coordinators have not finalized the hotel contracts.

Our Quartermaster, Ken Ley has been trying to gather the information necessary to order all the needed supplies; hats, brassards, rockers, windshield banners, flashlights and safety vests. It’s a big job and we appreciate the work and time he has sacrificed for the Run.

Yes, we have all been busy and that is not new.

What’s New

Volunteers Needed

 Southern Route Leadership teams still need volunteers, particularly in the staging team and platoon leadership. To perform their duties efficiently, the staging team needs TWENTY volunteers. We currently have 6. If you are a seasoned rider (more than one year) please consider volunteering for the staging team.

Another team with a few vacancies is platoon leadership. I came up through the ranks in platoon leadership. I can’t think of a more rewarding place to volunteer. You meet and get to know the riders in your platoon. You are the face of the run for FNGs. You are in the trenches and can really help the riders. Southern Route operates with approximately FORTY-THREE volunteers in platoon leadership. We are about half-way there. If you are a seasoned rider (more than one year) please consider volunteering for platoon leadership.

Click this link to volunteer

Pre-Paid Fuel

In September we introduced the new PRE-PAID fuel opportunity at a cost of $150.00.  Why are we offering a pre-paid fuel option?

  • No need to dig in your pockets at the pump
  • Gas stops will be quicker, thus allowing riders more time to rest and hydrate
  • Because we can. We have calculated how many stops are donated and how many will be rider funded. All non-donated stops will be $10 stops, totaling $150.00.

If you have any further questions, please see the September newsletter where the pre-paid fuel option is explained in greater detail.

What is new this month, is that we have an on-line pre-paid fuel option.

Following Midway Route’s lead in accepting on-line donations, you may pre-pay for your fuel NOW.

Click here to buy your loved one or yourself, all the out of pocket fuel needs to ride to Washington DC.

Click here for pre-paid fuel

This is a great gift for a Veteran and or a rider. Let’s face it Dad’s and Grandfather’s/Mom’s and Grandmother’s are the hardest people to buy Christmas gifts for. They tend to buy what they want, or they already have everything they want. Southern Route just made it super easy for you to buy your motorcycle enthusiast a Christmas gift. Pass on the message.

SAVE YOUR RECEIPT. When you arrive in Ontario, you will be given a wrist band to wear to show you have pre-paid for your fuel. For the convenience of paying on-line, there is a fee of 4%.

Registration Price Increase – Be sure to register before January 31. After January 31 there is a price increase of $15.00.

Veterans Day – November 11, 2022

 November 11, 2022 marks the day we honor and remember our veterans.

World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

In 1954, after World War II, at the urging of veteran service organizations, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day and on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a national holiday, a day to honor American veterans

As Veterans Day got its start from World War I, so did the wearing of the Remembrance Poppy. Lt. Col John McCrae penned the famous poem “In Flanders Field” in the spring of 1915. The poppy spoken of in the poem became a national symbol of hope and remembrance. Today the United States tends to wear a remembrance poppy on Memorial Day while in the United Kingdom the remembrance poppy is worn in November. Why not wear a poppy both, in May and in November?

The simple wearing of a Remembrance Poppy during November shows that you remember the sacrifices made by veterans as well as our active-duty military. It shows that you REMEMBER the 1,582 still missing from the Vietnam War. You also honor the families who still wait for answers.

 We Ride – To REMEMBER – Romeo Tango Mike

Kris “Eyes” Wood

Southern Route Coordinator

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Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – October

Southern Route 2023 "Eyes" Masthead

Over one-hundred RFTW participants gathered in Kerrville, Texas September 23 – 26, for the annual Texas Riders Reunion. Attendees enjoyed gorgeous rides to Luckenbach, and riding the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a ride roughly a hundred miles long, encompasses Farm Roads 335/336/337. The ride is known for its sharp turns, steep climbs, deep valleys and scenic views. The route passes through the “hilliest” of the Texas Hill Country. Many riders have the t-shirt to prove they rode the Three Sisters.

The Texas Riders Reunion provides riders’ opportunities to visit with fellow riders, without the hectic pace of the run. It also provides time for face-to-face planning meetings for the 2023 run. Thank you to those riders that have accepted new positions or that have agreed to stay on in previous positions.

A group of unsung heroes on the run are the advance team which encompass the staging team and fuel team. These two groups are up early, getting bikes staged in platoon order and facilitating the fueling of 300 motorcycles in record time. This year we have a new Advance Team Lead, Ken “Tumbler” Gigliotti. We also have a new Fuel Team Lead, Rick “Speedbump” Shoaf and returning this year, Staging Team Lead, Steve “Dragon” Edmonds. Thank you for stepping up to serve in these important roles.

We need volunteers! Both the fuel team and staging team are looking for a few good riders to join their teams!
If you have not filled out a volunteer form, please do so today. Volunteer Here

The prepaid fuel option outlined in last month’s newsletter was presented at the Kerrville Reunion and was well received. Many riders are planning on taking advantage of this option to simplify and expedite fuel stops. I am sorry to report, the paying online option is not possible at this time, maybe next year. Pre-paid fuel payments will be accepted in Ontario when you check-in at the host hotel.

ROMEO TANGO MIKE T-SHIRTS    

Did you know we have a Southern Route 2023 Run t-shirt?
The sale of the shirts will aid in paying for run expenses and will help build our Run community, Route loyalty and pride in each other for spending ten days doing something hard to support what we believe in.

When a team of proud, dedicated
individuals make a commitment
to act as one, the sky is the limit.

The sky is the limit for the 2023 Southern Route – Run for the Wall. We are hoping to touch more veterans with the healing message of the run, to touch more community members, to make them aware of the needs of our veterans and active-duty military. To spread the message of the run and to more fully, REMEMBER THE MISSION.
We are asking all registered riders to wear one of the six, 2023 Southern Route t-shirt on day 1, May 17, when we depart Ontario.
There are six shirt options, 3 men and 3 women, red, gray and navy blue.
Shirts can be ordered through the following link. Don’t wait sales end October 27. Shirts will be mailed to your home address the first week of November.

Order RTM Shirt here

A Little History…

Do you ever look up the history on something you lived through? I did that today, just to see what the internet had to say about POW/MIAs. I felt The History website would be the most factual.  I found it interesting to read the beginning of the POW/MIA flag and National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing Organization.
I hope you find this interesting and that it reaffirms Why You ride with Run for the Wall.

The Paris Peace Accords marking the end of the Vietnam War were signed on January 27, 1973. The U.S. agreed to withdraw all of its troops and dismantle American bases in exchange for the release all U.S. prisoners of war held by the North Vietnamese. That February, Operation Homecomingaired on American television showing the release of American POWs from North Vietnamese prison camps. By March 29, 1973, 591 soldiers would be returned and President Richard Nixon announced, “For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All of our American POWs are on their way home.” At the time, 1,303 Americans were still unaccounted for.

Over the years, rumors about men left behind and discrepancies in the number of missing vs. the number of returned outraged MIA families—as did reports of the mishandling and misidentification of American remains. Action films like 1983’s Uncommon Valor and Rambo: First Blood Part II(1985) fictionalized attempts at rescuing living soldiers from captivity in Vietnam.

Sybil Stockdale was determined to bring her husband, Vice Adm. James Stockdale, home from the infamous Hoa Lo Prison—also known as the “Hanoi Hilton” where Senator John McCain was held. She joined with other families of MIAs to form The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, a non-profit incorporated in May of 1970 with the mission “to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died serving our nation during the Vietnam War.”

“The greatest motivation for all of these families is uncertainty,” says Ann Mills-Griffiths, chairman of the board & CEO of the National League of POW/MIA Families. “Uncertainty is a killer. It is a great motivator to get you engaged…It’s better to find out what happened to the missing than to endlessly stay in a state of uncertainty and frustration that you can’t do anything about it,” she said. “The families were desperate, there was so much misinformation going around. Nobody wanted to talk about the veterans who had been ignored.”
Read more about POW/MIA Flag & Movement

This is why I ride, for those who can’t and for the families that still seek answers.

ROMEO TANGO MIKE – REMEMBER THE MISSION
Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Route Coordinator
Southern Route

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Southern Route RC Newsletter

Southern Route 2023 "Eyes" Masthead

Welcome September, the first  of the “ber” months. With September comes, cooler temps and the best riding weather of the year. I hope you’re enjoying the weather with many road trips and wind therapy.

Southern Route leadership continues to meet and implement a few changes that will simplify and enhance the 2023 run.  For the 2023 run, we are offering a pre-paid fuel option. If you struggle remembering to stop at the bank for wads of cash or digging in your pocket for gas money at the hectic fuel stops, this might be just the thing  for you. Yes, you read it correctly, a pre-paid fuel option!  What’s the cost to you? The cost of the pre-paid fuel option is $150.00 per bike.

How does it work? When you arrive in Ontario and check-in, you will have the option of pre-paying $150.00 for your ten-day fuel expense. Once you pre-pay for your fuel, you will be issued a wrist band and a receipt. When you pull into the gas stop, show the fuel team member your wrist band and you will not be charged for fuel. Yes, you read that correctly, fill your tank and ride on through. We will all arrive at the staging area quicker, with a little more time for rest, hydration and snacks.

Now for the questions that are surely running through your mind:

  1. How can $150.00 be enough money for fuel? Historically, the remaining fuel expenses are donated stops.
  2. How do I know my bike’s fuel usage will be $150? The stops that are not donated fuel stops will all be $10 stops.
  3. What if you’re not going all the way? This might not be a good plan for you, unless you want to donate your unused gas dollars to the chase vehicles’ fuel expenses, because NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN
  4. What if you lose your wrist band? You will have to show your receipt to be issued a new wrist band.
  5. What if you do not complete the run? There again, you will be making a donation to the chase vehicles’ fuel expense fund. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN.
  6. Will this impact donated fuel stops? NO, the generous donors on the route will still donate fuel stops.

***We are looking into having an on-line option to pre-pay for fuel. We will keep you posted on this option, as we work through the process.

Mark your calendar!

Registration for Southern Route, 2023 opens on September 11, 2022 at  https://rftw.us, please register early, it helps with the planning of the run.

Announcing 2023 Road Guard Captain

Southern Route is fortunate to have Bob “Captain” Mazzone back again this year as our Road Guard Captain. 2023 marks the fourth year Captain will be serving as the RGC. I am honored to work with Captain this year. Bob is a retired Navy Captain, 1983 – 2014. Bob has a PHD in Physiology. Bob has served his country as a: Qualified Deep Sea Navy Diver, Qualified Submarine Engineering Duty Officer. Significant Navy Tours:  Diving Officer, Naval Medical Research Institute, Mar 83 – May 85, Senior Ship Superintendent and Docking Officer, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Sept 85 – May 89, Diving and Salvage Officer, Commander Submarine Development Group One Jan 92 – Feb 95, Operations Officer, Navy Experimental Diving Unit, Mar 95 – Feb 98, Off-Yard Operations Officer, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Mar 98 – Jun 2001, Chief Engineer, USS DWIGHT D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) July 2001 – Nov 2004, Production Resources Officer, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Dec 04 – April 06, Operations Officer, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Apr 06 – Jun 07, Commanding Officer, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Jul 07 – Jan 2010

I think we can all agree, Bob is well qualified to serve as the 2023 Road Guard Captain. Thank you for stepping up Bob, we look forward to riding with you and thank you for your service.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is September 16, 2022

How will you recognize our POW/MIAs on September 16th?

“National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. A national-level ceremony is held on every National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Traditionally held at the Pentagon, it features members from each branch of military service and participation from high-ranking officials.In addition to the national-level ceremony, observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans’ facilities.No matter where they are held, these National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies share the common purpose of honoring those who were held captive and returned, as well as those who remain missing.

Since 1999, the POW/MIA Accounting community has created a poster commemorating National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The 2022 edition of the poster continues to honor this tradition.”

 Please share the poster on your social media sites.

This is why we ride! Romeo Tango Mike – Remember the Mission

Until next month…

Kristine”Eyes” Wood
Route Coordinator
Southern Route 2023

 

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Southern Route Coordinator – August Newsletter

In the heat of the night, many thoughts come to mind. Last night, for me it was what to share with Southern Route riders in this newsletter, and so let us begin.

The Southern Route spends ten days riding from California to Washington DC. We pass through; Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and let’s not forget the dip into Georgia. The Southern Route is known for its warm weather. If you like warm weather riding, this is the route for you.  As we travel through these ten states, it is a time for personal reflection and a time to REMEMBER THE MISSION (Romeo Tango Mike) and why we ride.

One of many Welcome Home Events


The first Run for the Wall left San Diego in 1989, to raise awareness for those left behind in Vietnam. The mission has not changed!

“Currently, there are nearly 1,600 Americans still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War, hundreds are believed to be in a “non-recoverable” category, meaning after rigorous investigation DPAA has determined that the individual perished but does not believe it is possible to recover the remains. On rare occasions, new leads can bring a case back to active status. We ride for these 1,600 Americans.”

“At present, more than 81,500 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts. Out of the more than 81,500 missing, 75% of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific, and over 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea, many presumed to be “non-recoverable”.

Current POW/MIA Information 

We ride for these 81,500 Americans

The logistical planning for 2023 is in full swing and WE NEED YOU!!! If you have not filled out a volunteer form, letting us know you will be riding in 2023, we need you to do that. If you do not fill out the volunteer form, we might think you’re sitting this year out and not riding. Click on the link below to access the volunteer form. Please volunteer today.

Southern Route – Volunteer Form

Stonewall

It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the Southern Route Assistant Route Coordinator, Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan. I am so grateful she has agreed to serve as the 2023 ARC. Stonewall first joined the run with her husband Roger E. Phelan in 2009 as a participant. Michelle has this to say about her and Roger’s first year on the run.

“My husband, Major Roger E. Phelan, Jr. served in the USAF from 1970 – 1997. He flew C-130-H in Vietnam, Gulf War, Grenada, Panama and other theaters. His Welcome Home experience left him feeling that his military service did not matter. On May 13, 2009, Roger left Rancho Cucamonga on the Southern Route, Day 1 of All The Way. Meeting him on Day 5, I received back to me a career pilot who understood that his service to his country did matter to thousands of people he just hadn’t met prior to the run.

And this was important. In 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007 Roger was diagnosed with 4 different cancers due to his extensive Agent Orange exposure. He received treatment from 2001 until his death on February 7, 2010. His exposure to a grateful nation, while on the Run provided a foundation that allowed him to conclude his career mattered.”

 Stonewall has worn many hats on the run. Her favorite being the red hat of a Road Guard, where she has been riding every year since 2013. She has also worn the hat of the medical team and merchandise team 2010 – 2012.

It’s going to be a great Run, but not without you!

 Believe it or not, it’s almost time to register for 2023. Registration will go live on September 11, 2022 at 8:45 am EST. Please register early, it helps tremendously with our ability to plan, and to make leadership assignments. We are looking forward to the Texas Rider’s Reunion and visiting with many RFTW family members in September.

Until then…

ROMEO TANGO MIKE

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Southern Route Coordinator

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Southern Route RC Newsletter – July 2022

RFTW Southern Route

Welcome to the first XXXIII Southern Route Coordinator’s Newsletter.  Please allow me to begin this first of many newsletters by introducing myself. My name is Kris “Eyes” Wood. I recently moved to Wilder, Idaho, where we live on a small farm with the dogs, chickens and wildlife. My husband Don “Doc” Wood and I raised eight children together and currently have 16 grandchildren.

Run for the Wall Southern RouteI learned about the run from participating in PGR missions. I felt the travesty of RFTW being mostly an unknown event that involved hundreds upon hundreds of veterans. I decided to write a book, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial.  My goal in writing the book was to raise awareness of the run and the need for Americans to actively support veterans.

As I have traveled across the country speaking about the run and sharing the book, The many veterans that have been given a copy, share how seeing the photos and hearing the testimonials have helped them come to terms with their combat experiences. Even if they are not able to ride with RFTW, the healing power of the run is there for them.

After the first year on the run, we were hooked and have returned year after year. I have held many positions on the Southern Route, including; 50/50 rouser, tail-gunner, assistant platoon leader, platoon leader, quartermaster, sit-rep writer and a three-year stint as the assistant route coordinator. I am honored to have been appointed as your Southern Route Coordinator for 2023.

The Southern Route has many devoted and hardworking volunteers. Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan has been appointed as the SR Assistant Route Coordinator and together we will plan and execute a safe, meaningful, MISSION FOCUSED Run for the Wall.

The mission is why I ride and why every rider that registers and shows up on the run should be riding:

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.

We each have a different and unique reason for riding. I recently contemplated why I ride. When I was 15 years old, my Dad, a World War II veteran drank himself to death, did he suffer from PTSD, or shell shock, I will never know.  The brother-in-law that took my Dad’s place, went off to Vietnam. Upon his return, he was not the same young man that left. Two years ago, he succumbed to Agent Orange related cancer. Freedom is not free and there is never enough that Americans can and should do for our veterans, hence I ride.

As we prepare for RFTW XXXIII, I encourage you to mentally prepare for the run. In your heart and mind, answer the question; Why do I ride?

If you are interested in a leadership position on the XXXIII run, please go to the Run for the Wall website and complete the volunteer form. If you were on the run last year, please complete an After Action Report (AAR), also found on the Run website. If the run is to continue, we need devoted, mission focused volunteers, if you are able, please volunteer.

I am honored to have been mentored and befriended by the Southern Route Family. I wish to thank those that have held this position before me, that have reached out to me with advice and encouragement; Roger “Cowboy” Mead, Billie “Bugs” Dunlap, James “Stoney” Stone, Laurie “Airborne” Clay, Reid “Pops” Choate, Raymond “Ghost Rider” Wyatt, Bob “Captain America” Nelson.

As the SR-RC, I am available to you. If you have an issue, something to share, do not hesitate to contact me; Kristine.wood@rftw.us.

IS IT MAY YET?

Kristine J. Wood “Eyes”
Route Coordinator, Southern Route

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Southern Route Coordinator News – June 2022 Epilog

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

June,  2022 Epilog

 

 RFTW Southern Route Family,

This is my last RC Newsletter for 2022.  (save the applause).

First, I want to Congratulate Kristine “Eyes” Wood on her BoD confirmation to be the Southern Route Coordinator for RFTW Mission XXXIII 2023.   Her work in support of the RFTW Mission, starting even before her FNG year, and especially as ARC these past 3 years, is proof that Kris earned this position.  Her patriotism stems from multiple generations of Military Service dating back to the Revolutionary War.  I have extreme confidence in Kris’ ability to Lead and Manage the Southern Route Mission.

Secondly, I would like to say what an Honor it has been to be the Southern Route Coordinator since 2020.  We, I mean ALL OF US, have been through a lot in the last 3 years to get Mission XXXII complete.

We started the pre-Mission festivities by celebrating the marriage of Santa Ed and Den Mother.

It was our first time in Casa Grande, AZ, and the folks there showed us great hospitality.

Hats off to the FNGs, overall, I would say that the vast majority adapted to platoon riding quickly and comfort levels increased daily.

Did everything go perfectly?  No.  Will it ever?  Doubtful.   We had to make several changes leading up to the start and they continued throughout the Mission.  The fact that most riders never knew about all of the behind-the-scenes juggling and hoop jumping actions, is a testament to the Leadership Team and State Coordinators commitment.  A HUGE THANK YOU, to ALL of you.  You deserve all the credit; I’ll take any of the blame.  I was blessed with the Greatest Bunch of Volunteers that money can buy. LOL.

*** For those of you who ordered the special 20th Anniversary T-shirts and have not picked them up, they will be mailed to you soon.  We are trying to get them mailed before the end of June.  Thank you for your patience ***

If you haven’t submitted your After-Action Report yet, Please do.  That is your opportunity to express your thoughts about this year’s Mission.   If you have ideas on how we can improve the experience, we would like to know.  Use this Link

Don’t forget the Angel Fire, NM Reunion over Labor Day weekend and the

Kerrville, TX Riders Reunion September 21-25, 2022, details on The Facebook page 

Only 333 days before Kick Stands Up May 17, 2023, I hope to see everyone there and many new faces too.

“Captain America, Out”

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Southern Route Coordinator News -May 2022 Part 4

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 4

 

 

ONE MORE THINK or 2

Today Ron discovered another Harley Dealer that wants to assist RFTW with service.

He will give a military discount and will prioritize RFTW Bikes. It is in Loma Linda, CA but just a short drive down the 10.

Quaid Harley

25160 Redlands Blvd

Loma Linda, CA 92364

1-909-796-8399

Speak with Joe Pedersen

Reminder – If you are in a 4-wheel vehicle you must travel at least 2 miles in front of or back of the pack.  On Wednesday leaving Ontario, do not park in the staging area.  I suggest you leave right after the Morning All Hands Meeting.  The only exceptions world be the Chase vehicles and the Nurses. 

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2022 Part 3

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 3

 

 

This is it, The last Pre-Run list of good things to know.  Some of these you have already heard or should have.

  • You will get a copy of the Southern Route Itinerary when you “Check In”.  Study it. Where you need to be and when you need to be there is all right there.  A LOT of time and effort when into its publication, it is not intended to be a souvenir program.  The best prepared Riders have the least stress. 
    • Every exit is there in Bold and the arrival and departure times also.  Many Riders will write the exit numbers each day on the back of their windshields with a dry-erase marker to keep track
    • Be aware we will cross several time zones.  We lose an hour each time.  Make sure that your timepiece is correct, otherwise you will be late.  Getting a good night’s rest is crucial.
    • Keep your itinerary handy, pay attention at the Mandatory Riders’ Meeting for last minute changes.
  • Don’t forget to check your tire pressure.  It is often overlooked.  Under or Overinflated tires are unsafe.  Recommended tire pressure can be found in your owner’s manual or a sticker inside of a side cover, NOT on the tire.  While you are there, double check the tread all the way around the tires.
  • There are still open spots for the FNG Flag Relay.  You can be a part of this special mission by carrying the folded flag for one leg of the Southern Route Run.  Contact Rod Runyon by email to sign up.
  • One more time, HYDRATE !, HYDRATE !, HYDRATE!

See Y’all Soon. In the words of my cousin Willie, ” Just can’t wait to get on the road again”.