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Southern Route Coordinator News – June Part 2

Our Run For The Wall nationwide community is a huge part of a successful Mission.  Their support in the way of meals, fuel and generous hospitality enables many of us to afford to go on the RFTW Southern Route.   Funding for our Educational Grant program comes from the generosity of our riders.  By supporting the raffles, donations and ordering the 20th Anniversary t-shirts you helped to make this possible.  This year were able to fulfill our intent to continue our educational support despite the Run being cancelled.  $3,000 each was granted to Spiller Elementary School, Montvale Elementary School and Colorado City Middle School.  In addition, $1,000 each was granted to the winners of our Essay Competition.   These grants went to graduating high school seniors from Liberty High School, George Wythe High School and Dubiski Career High School.  I would like to add a Special Thanks to Gwynne “Lady Bug” Dunlap, Southern Route Educational Grant Coordinator for her tireless work administering this program.

Because of the complications brought on by the current pandemic, making the presentations became quite a challenge.  It was only accomplished by the dedication of the RFTW riders.  Big Thank You goes to David “Buzz” Mullin and Billie “Bugs” Dunlap for Haulin’ the Mail in Texas.  And a Special Shout-out to Trent “The Mayor” Crewe and Chris DiYorio for “Taking Care of Business” for us in Virginia, braving high seas to complete the Mission.  I don’t want to forget ALL of the riders who participated and made these presentations Very Special Events, just look at the smiles in the pictures below.  Believe me, there are SMILES under those masks.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – Special

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of one of Run For The Wall’s and especially Southern Route’s biggest fans.  Margie Green was escorted by angels as she slept on June 19th.   Margie was a perennial supporter at our Piggly Wiggly stop in Ashville, Alabama.  Always ready with a smile and a hug.  The hug line would start as soon as the first bikes staged.  One year, as we arrived, it began to rain.  I don’t think she cared how wet she might get. I offered her an umbrella; she would have none of that.  As an avid user of social media, she would never forget to wish you a Happy Birthday or whatever the occasion may be.  I remember several lengthy messenger conversations, including one in May where we talked about not being able to see us this year. There has been an outpouring of tributes for Margie on our Facebook page and additional information about services for her. 

I think I speak for all of us, Margie we Love you and we Miss you and we will Never Forget you.  Rest in Peace, My Dear Friend.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – June 2020 Part 1

One of our great U.S. Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, said “Anything worth having is worth waiting for”.   I am sure he was talking about RFTW XXXII.  I guess he could have just asked, “Is it May yet?”. 

The good news is, as Run For The Wall goes, it’s Reunion Season.  Time to get the ride plans together, make reservations and RIDE.  Details can be found on the Forum and in the RC Newsletters.  This year we have: the Tour of Tennessee; Angel Fire in New Mexico and the TX Reunion in Kerrville, TX.   Reunions are open ALL riders, Past, Present and Future.

A great many of you were able to get some riding in and took on the R.F.T.W. Quest 2020. Some took the additional challenge of the H.O.P.E. Quest.  One couple Chris and Kristin Andrews knocked it out of the park, by creating and completing their own POW*MIA Challenge.  Outstanding, especially since they would have been FNGs in 2020.  I congratulate all who have, and encourage all who will take up the Quest.  Because many of you are still restricted by local restrictions, I have extended the deadline to July 5, 2020. 

We would love to see your pictures on the Photo Board. In case you forgot here is how you do that:

Go to the RFTW.us website

Select a Virtual Route

Click on RFTW Quest 2020

Scroll down to BIO Submissions section

Fill in the information and select your picture file and Submit

Your pictures will eventually show on the Photo Board

We still have a lot of work to do and some new challenges ahead in preparing for RFTW XXXII 2021. This “extra” time has allowed us to take an in depth look at every stop along the way and see what we might do to improve the Southern Route experience.   Soon I will announce a few open positions on our support team, so if you are interested in volunteering, watch for that.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – Virtual Run 2020 Edition

Greetings from a cold and windy day in Northern Nevada, the high today 56, the weatherman says 90 by the weekend.  It has been so long since we were home during this time of the year, I didn’t remember what it was like.  Just another reason why we would rather be on the Run with ALL of you. 

I want to thank those of you who have already participated in the R.F.T.W. and H.O.P.E.  Quests 2020.   I understand that many of you are still dealing with travel restrictions, so I have extended the deadline to complete the Quest until July 6, 2020.   The pictures are now posting on the Virtual Southern Route (VSR) site Photo Board.  Don’t forget to post your pictures, just click in the RFTW Quest 2020 section of the VSR site.  Keep your BIOs and ride with them until 2021 and leave them at THE WALL.    What better way to Honor those “We Will Never Forget”

While you are at the VSR site, check out the Videos also.  Especially the Flashback to 2006 Jackson, MS event.  You might see some familiar faces.

Please take the time to read the daily Virtual Sitreps, Peppermint Patti is doing an amazing job of telling the saga of the Southern Route.  I would like to take this opportunity to Thank ALL of the volunteers who “Ride for the Cause and not the Applause”, that make our annual Mission possible year after year.  Please everyone, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy

Keep those Quest 2020 Pictures coming

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RFTW SandBox RC Newsletter – MAY 2020 – Virtual Run Edition

Howdy from Texas!

Do you ever get the feeling you should be somewhere that you aren’t?  I’m sure that like me, many of you are experiencing that dislocated feeling this week.  I actually know exactly where I should be – As I write this, I should be just about to cross the Louisiana-Mississippi state line on my way to visit Earl and the Trail of Honor at Harley Davidson of Jackson on the Southern Route.  Yesterday morning I had the honor of visiting with Gunny & PattiO along with their Posse as they came across north Texas, but sadly I could not join them on their journey to DC.  However, I am still proud to be here virtually visiting with you, my RFTW SandBox Route “Posse” as we reminisce on Runs past and look ahead to Runs that lie before us.

You may have noticed that the other Runs are deep into Virtual activities such as the R.F.T.W. and H.O.P.E. Quest Photo Runs developed by the Southern Route and the BIOS effort initiated by the Midway Route.  I hope that everyone is enjoying those and staying in touch with members of our Run Family.  I have personally enjoyed reading the Virtual SITREP’s published each day by the various Routes.  Yes, beginning next Sunday, 24 MAY 2020, you will also see daily SandBox Route SITREP’s from our very own writer, “Peppermint Patti” Bogan.

To further support our Virtual Run of the SandBox Route I will be conducting daily morning briefs for the Route each morning of the Run dates, 24-26 May.  These briefing will start at 0800 and last approximately 20 minutes where we will do many of the usual announcements, route briefings and recognitions that we’ve come to expect on the Run.  We may even have a few surprise guest speakers to say hello along the way.  The Briefing will culminate with a drawing for a few special gifts before we break at the 15 minute horn to go mount up for the days virtual ride.  (To be eligible for the drawing, you must be logged into the briefing.)  Watch for a follow-up RC Newsletter tomorrow with the details of the Virtual Briefing – as a heads up, you’ll need to have the free Zoom app installed on your computer, iPad or phone to join the meeting.

One of the prizes awarded in the drawing will be the SandBox Route Inaugural Run patch that we will be selling as a fundraiser after next week.  This patch was designed, fabricated and delivered back in February, so they will be commemorative showing the dates originally planned for this year’s Run.  Instructions for ordering will be coming after next week, but you may be one of the first to have this patch if you log in to the daily briefings and stay for the drawing.  We will be awarding two of these patches each day.  Below is a photo of the patch which measures 4×2.5”.

SandBox Route Inaugural Run Patch

I sent out a message last Wednesday (13MAY) via SandBox Registration e-mail to everyone registered on the SandBox Route just to confirm that they are and will remain a registered rider for the SandBox Route as we move forward to the Run for May 2021.  If now or through the course of the year you find you must withdraw from the Route or have specific questions about your SandBox Registration, send an e-mail to sb-registration@rftw.us.   You may also contact RFTW Registration directly at registration@rftw.us

If you have questions about the SandBox Route in general or need to contact me directly, please write to billie.dunlap@rftw.us or our ARC, Six String at ken.dugas@rftw.us.

Finally, watch for another RC Newsletter tomorrow for info on the Live Zoom Broadcast of the SandBox Route Morning Brief each day of what would have been our SandBox Route this year, starting at 0800 Central Time each day.

Y’all take care, stay well and stay strong!  Remember, all roads lead to all roads so no matter where you go, TOGETHER WE RIDE!

WALL 2 WALL!

Bugs out!

RFTW XXXII Sand Box Route Coordinator

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Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – May, 2020 Part 2

Greetings to ALL Run For The Wall(ers). 

Nick Hentges our RFTW Director of Communications and Ted Kapner our Webmaster have worked tirelessly to compile our Awesome Virtual Run “micro-site”.  Another Big Thank You goes to Jerry Lanier, our Outstanding Southern Route Photographer has allowed access to his vast library of 2019 Run photos.

The Virtual Run site has links to the “We Will Never Forget” Bios and a place to log and post your R.F.T.W. Challenge / Quest photos along with the “rules”.   Don’t forget, once you have completed the R.F.T.W. or the R.F.T.W. & H.O.P.E. Challenge you will still need to email me bob.nelson@rftw.us in order for me to return email your certificate of completion.

Just as if we were on the Run, your Safety is my biggest concern.   Do your best to Stay Positive.  Ride when you can, “wind therapy” is great for maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude.  Just ask Dr. Bugs.  Your mental state has a huge influence on your physical well-being.   The Spirit of the Mission will continue.

Between now and RFTW XXXII 2021 there are several Reunions and local gatherings to feed your need for camaraderie.  The MR hosted “Tour of Tennessee” is planned for July 2-4, the CR hosted “Angel Fire Reunion” in New Mexico will be over the Labor Day weekend and the SR hosted Texas Reunion in Kerrville, TX is scheduled for September 24-27.  All reunions are open ALL past, present and future RFTW riders and their supporters.  Details can be found on the www.rftw.us website Forum under Regional Gatherings and in the Route Coordinators’ Newsletters. Check them out, each is unique and rewarding

Until then, Stay Safe, Stay Well and #RFTWStrong.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2020

Now is a good time to take advantage of RFTW 2020 Hats, Shirts, Patches and More Merchandise at our online store.  Currently, FREE Shipping on purchases over $50 and the coveted RFTW 2020 Pins are 25% off! 

Here it is the 1st of May and we (in Nevada) are still under a “Stay at Home” order from the governor.  I know that many of you are in similar situations. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, unfortunately we do not know how long the tunnel is for all of us.   I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy.   When we can, we escape for some needed wind therapy.   With that in mind, I am offering a distraction from the pandemic woes

The R.F.T.W. Quest 2020

Just because the Run For The Wall 2020 is cancelled, that does not mean that we have lost our commitment to the Mission.  As we wait for RFTW XXXII in 2021 and in the Spirit of the Mission….. Only If travel restrictions in your area permit, I have a Quest for you during the time we would normally be on the run, May 13-26, 2020.  To complete the Quest 2020, All you need to do is:

  • Create a BIO (or 2) of your own, representing those We Will Never Forget; you can also download and print one from the link to the list of BIOs on the rftw.us website (TBA) or https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JgW-7dn8b00J53iXcExl-Rfmy-7TZPpW?usp=sharing
  • Put on your favorite Run For The Wall 2020 shirt
  • Ride to towns within your state beginning with R, T, F & W
  • Take a picture with your BIO, in front of something which shows the name of the town.
  • Please share your pictures on our rftw.us picture portal (TBA)
  • All four do not all have to be done in the same day
  • This is open to ALL Routes, Riders and Passengers, FNGs and Seasoned Riders
  • When you have finished, send me an email to bob.nelson@rftw.us with the dates and towns that you visited.
  • In turn, I will email you your Certification of Completion.

If that seems too easy, you can challenge the Super HOPE Quest and add the H, O, P & E towns.  The same “rules” apply.

Stay Safe while we work out the details.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – April 2020 Special Edition

It seems as though we cannot catch a break.  We are all disappointed that the 2020 Run was cancelled.  But starting early Easter morning our folks along the Southern Route are dealing with a much bigger disaster.  This massive storm system appears to be following our Route, spawning tornadoes, high winds and large-scale flooding.  Monroe, LA, one of our favorite overnight stops, was hard hit damaging 200-300 homes.  I watched Mayor Jamie Mayo on Fox News this morning, it was nice to hear his calming and confident message reminding us “We are Stronger Together”.  Jackson, MS has suffered several deaths, and some residents are still missing.  Chattanooga, TN was also not spared.  As of a few hours ago, they are reporting 8 lives lost and dozens hospitalized.   Add to that, over 150 homes and businesses damaged.  They can be replaced, lives cannot.

So, what can we do now.  We can pray for those suffering, those on the front lines and those that are still in the storm’s path.  Collectively, We and Prayer are a powerful force.   At some point we will see where other help will be needed. 

Until then, Stay Safe, Stay Well and RFTW STRONG.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – April 2020 Early Edition

Hello to the Southern Route Faithful

Usually at this time I am beginning my annual mad thrash getting everything ready for another Run on the Southern Route.  But now, I am working to make sure we haven’t forgot to cancel all of the 1001 things related to the postponement of RFTW XXXII to 2021.

Let’s just say, at the least, we are all disappointed by this.  Many have said that we could have just delayed it for a week, a month, or two or three.  Uncertainty is the only thing that is certain now and when the decision was made.  Some have talked about making plans to “go anyway”.  I believe in your dedication, BUT it is way, way to early to make any kind of plans.  The best thing you can do now is keep Yourselves and Families heathy, follow the guidelines for your area and support your community.

I would like to give a heartfelt THANK YOU to ALL of our supporters across this Wonderful Country.  Especially to our State Coordinators, who work mostly behind the scenes, they are our Unsung Heroes.  They coordinate our local supporters who provide us so much in the way of meals, hotel contacts, fuel and fundraising.  State Coordinators are literally our boots on the ground.  Hopefully a lot of their hard work can slide right into 2021

Our engagement with others we meet along the way is a cornerstone of our Mission.  Support is not a one-way street; we also give back to the local communities.  Since we won’t be able to fundraise in the usual ways, we have setup a donation page on the RFTW Facebook page.  An explanation of how the funds will be used is there. The schools and students can certainly use our generosity in these hard times.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 4

Yes, the 2020 Run For The Wall is cancelled and we are all disappointed.  But the Run is only a part of the Mission.  Please don’t let disappointment ruin your enthusiasm.  I personally refuse to give any credit to some virus, who’s name I will not mention, for cancelling the Run.  We care about the wellness of our Riders’ and Supporters’ personal safety.

The Mission has no start or end date.  It will end when They are ALL Home.  If you have read the other RC Newsletters, and I hope you do, there is plenty we can do to stay Mission active.  We will begin planning RFTW XXXII 2021 edition very soon.  Also, in the works is Some great ALL Rider Reunions.  Kerrville, TX dates are September 24-27 always an event filled long weekend.  Over Labor Day weekend is the Angel Fire, NM Reunion, at one of the most beautiful parts of America.  I hear the another is in the planning stages for 4th of July weekend.  Check the rftw.us website forum under Regional Gatherings for more details.  I have been to the previous 8 Kerrville and the previous 3 Angel Fire Reunions.  They are a good way to recharge the spirit in between the Run dates.

For those who ordered the 20th Anniversary T-Shirts, they will be there for you in 2021.

Depending on where you live, you might try a little wind therapy.  Here in Nevada the Gov has shut down all non-essential services, which includes Casinos and even the Cat Houses, if you can believe that.

On this day 50 years ago, 23MAR70, I went off to boot camp.  I left cold and windy Chicago for sunny San Diego.  I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.  But I knew I had to learn fast and when faced with difficulty, adapt and overcome.   As I look back now, I think that feeling has been with me my whole life.  Why am I telling you this?  Hopefully soon this crisis will be behind Us, and We as a Nation will be Smarter and Stronger for it.  RFTW STRONG