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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter – Memorial Day 2020

Greetings RFTW Family!

I wish you all a blessed and grateful Memorial Day.  Those of us with RFTW know that this is not a “Happy Memorial Day”.  However, it is a wonderful day that our Nation has set aside as a day for us to remember and honor all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, families, and freedoms.  We must NEVER FORGET! 

This is the first time in 11 years that I have not paid my respects in Arlington National Cemetery and witnessed our wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I must say that my heart is feeling a little empty this weekend.  Something is definitely missing.  Last year, on the Sandbox Recon, I was able to pay my respects to Cpl Johnathan Yale and Cpl Jordan Haerter at the Middle East Conflicts Memorial.  These Marines were KIA on 4/22/2008 in Ramadi, Iraq stopping a terrorist suicide bombing attack from killing many people.  These are the two young Marine heroes that saved my son’s life, along with about 50 other marines and many other Iraqis.  On the recon, I was able to bring their bios and tell their story by their names at the Middle East Conflicts Memorial.  I was looking forward to doing so again this year when I had to make a difficult choice to leave Gunny in Chattanooga and return home to take care of personal things.  I will now have to wait until our 2021 Run but they are remembered now, today, and every day, as well as all who have given their lives for us. There are many of us with similar stories of family, friends, and other heroes that were taken from us by war.  Let us be thankful and enjoy the freedoms and the country they have given us.  May we never take their gifts for granted and may we NEVER FORGET them. This is why I ride! 

We will be “riding for those who can’t” at our “Tour of Tennessee” reunion starting July 2ndThe hotel blocks will close on June 2nd.  It is important that you register and make your hotel reservations now. 
We are hoping that this reunion will bring our RFTW family back together and that we see as many of you there as possible.  Info is on the RFTW.US website under the Midway Hub.

Congratulations to Tamara “Tam Tam” Rickerson!  Our very own Raffle Rouser finally won a prize instead of giving them.  Tam Tam won the $1000 hotel prize.  I thank everyone who participated in this raffle.  We raised $2,200 that will be used for fuel on the 2021 Midway route.  

I would like to close by asking all of you, in your own way, to keep all of our heroes who have died, those still missing POW / MIAs  and their families who still morn their losses in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you. We will not forget!

Is it July yet?

Video section

Honor * Hope * Healing

Respectfully,

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator

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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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Central Route 2020 “Virtual” Sitrep Day 4

May 18, 2019 –  Day 4 to DC – Eagle Nest, NM to Goodland, KS

Brrrrrrr………….Eagle Nest is always cold in the morning.  We travel down the mountain and the temps increase about 20 degrees.  Need to know how to layer.   Thank goodness it was not snowing.  Yes, a few year ago it was.

 

 .

Raton is our next stop. This is only a fuel stop but the people of  Raton are ready for us. We always have a treat with the junior ROTC.  These kids really work hard.  Keep working boys we will be back next year.  They are very proud of what they are doing.  Our future!!

 

 Check out the sendoff.  We lose the escort as we cross in go Colorado.

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Fountain, CO was one of the new stops. 

 

They had lunch set up inside the fire station.  It is always nice to thank those that support us.

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You never know what kind of weather we will run into.  Rain is never good.  Pretty UGLY!!

 

 This one had a lovely light show…. lots of lightning.  I am sure the team was watching this one.

 

Flags and people are always along the streets as we enter the towns. 

 

Goodland KS is our destination for the night.  Dinner at KS Tech College. The tables usually have place mats that kids made.

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                                       I especially like these two with the motorcycles

 

The thing I remember about Goodland is this table that is set.

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As we ate dinner, this is what was read:

POW and MIA REMEMBARANCE TABLE

It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our armed forces are missing from out ranks.  They are referred to as POWs and MIAs.

We call them brothers and sisters.

They are unable to be with their loved ones and families, so we join together to pay humble tribute to them and bear witness to their continued absence.

This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.

The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms

The single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood the many have shed in sacrifice to ensure freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.

The yellow ribbon on the vase, represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our brothers and sisters who are not among us tonight.

A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.

The salt sprinkled on the place reminds us of the countless fallen tears of the families as they wait.

The glass is inverted – they cannot toast with us this night.

The chair is empty – they are not here.

The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from the captors to the open arms of a grateful nation.

Quote for the day:

 Some made the ultimate sacrifice

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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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Message from Nick “Richboy” Hentges, Director of Public Relations/Communications

Run for the Wall - We Ride For Those Who Can't

Aloha and Greetings Run for the Wall Family,
As I am sure everyone has figured out by now, we had to make the tough decision to cancel RFTW 2020. We have put together a Virtual Run Section on our Website (www.rftw.us). This site should be up and Running by the end of the day, Monday, May 11th 2020. Here you will find Daily Virtual Sit Reps from each Route as well as photo galleries from last year’s Run.
We will also be adding Video content to the area, so if you have good videos of the Run, Send them to nick.hentges@rftw.us and we can try and get them up on our YouTube page and our website. ). Be sure to Visit the RFTW Store while you are there and check out some amazing deals on 2020 Merchandise. https://rftw.us/run-for-the-wall-merchandise-shop/

Just because the Run has been cancelled does not mean our Mission of Healing and support (https://rftw.us/mission-and-history/) must be cancelled. There are many ways to “Charlie Mike”. There are some ideas below on how to do that in addition to many great ideas our riders have had on their own.

We have added a link to Bios of fallen Service Members (compiled by Midway Route personnel). Ken “Sixstring” Dugas has challenged everyone (if safe and Legal) to download and Print a Bio and ride to a Veteran’s Memorial or Veteran’s home and get a photo of you with your bio and submit it (See website for info on how to submit).
There is also a Challenge/Quest that Bob “Captain America” Nelson came up with. See more information on the website.
Another great idea from Kris “Eyes” Wood is to simply do “Buddy Checks” on friends and neighbors during this trying time.

Below is a Message from the President of the BOD for Run for the Wall as well as a bit of information concerning the Store and Pre-Registration for 2021.

From Les “Easy” Williams

As I write this today, I am profoundly sad that Connie and I are not on our way to Ontario for the 32nd annual RFTW. Each year we have left on the Friday before kickstands up to enjoy the pre-run activities and experience the rewards of hundreds of folks who plan Run for the Wall for an entire year. It has always fascinated me to watch how well this complex mission works. But yet here we are, postponed until RFTW 2021.
I have come to realize that we are not in control of the invisible enemy which has caused our postponement. For our veterans and supporters who endure freezing temperatures, blazing heat, dehydration, snow, wild thunderstorms, hail, lightning, and tornadoes to accomplish our mission – this is a hard pill to swallow!
We do these things because our dedication to mission is heartfelt and bone marrow deep in each and everyone one of us. I know and you know Run For The Wall’s 32nd annual mission will be accomplished because your dedication to this mission is steadfast and enduring.
While we wait for another year of, “Is it may yet” the Board of Directors and Route Coordinator’s wanted to create a virtual RFTW to keep the mission ideals close to your hearts. With the hard work of Communications Director, Nick Hentges and Webmaster, Ted Kapner that vision has been completed. We know this will not be a substitute for the actual Run, but it should make your hearts lighter while bringing a smile to your faces. Cheer up we have many more ideas that will lift up everyone’s spirits coming your way throughout the summer. God Bless you all and stay safe.

Les “Easy” Williams
President, RFTW, Inc

Pre-Registration
Pre-Registration for 2021 will be opening back up later this summer. Save Money by Registering and Paying online. This also assists greatly in planning for next year. If you already registered and Paid for 2020, this will roll over to 2021. More info below.

All riders that have pre-registered for 2020 will automatically roll into the 2021 pre-registration database, whether you pre-paid or selected to pay at your sign-in location.
Changes that need to be made on your existing form (new bike, updated expiration dates on license, insurance, route change, etc.) should be directed to the newly established Contact Form category “RFTW 2020 – Registration Revisions.”    ONLY CHANGES TO YOUR FORM should go this category. The registration team will monitor these contact emails, revise your existing form and re-send it to you. We will do this until the cut-off date in April 2021.
If you see that you will NOT be participating in the 2021 Run, please complete a “Contact Form” under the same category and advise us.   We will then delete your registration, so that accurate participant numbers can be obtained.   This is critical information to the Route Coordinators, so please contact us if you are unable to go.
Refunds—because of the PayPal time limit for issuing refunds, many registrations cannot be refunded.  We are asking that you NOT request a refund if you know for sure that you’re unable to go in 2021.   If you are outside the time window, then there is nothing we can do through PayPal.
Donations—the monies that have been paid towards registration will stay as such for 2021.   Many of you have already stated that you want to donate the registration money for this year and pay, again, next year.   Those who would like to donate to the 2021 general fund to offset the 2020 expenses, can do so by the “Donate” button on the website: https://rftw.us/donate/.   We truly appreciate the support we’ve already seen

One final note

The RFTW store is offering a 25% discount on all 2020 Dated Merchandise. Please support the Run by helping us sell this dated inventory. It will make for a great collector’s item. https://rftw.us/run-for-the-wall-merchandise-shop/

Last but not least, My personal Thanks to the BOD, Route Coordinators, State Coordinators, and all of our volunteers for dealing with the cancellation of the Run for 2020 and their continued work to make 2021 better than ever. Special Thanks to Ted “Boots” Kapner (RFTW Webmaster) for all of his expert help during these difficult times.

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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

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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 3

By now I’m sure you have heard the 2020 RFTW has been cancelled.  Who would have thought that after all of the obstacles we have faced and overcome, we would be sidelined by a virus.   The decision was not an easy one, but when it comes down to the Health and Safety of our Riders and Supporters coupled with CDC guidelines, ever increasing State and Local restrictions left us with really no options.  A great many riders are enduring a huge financial burden, due to related business closures, making it impossible to participate in 2020.  I have heard form many of you that you have had to use your savings and vacation time to get through this crisis with little or no income.

For those who made reservations at the host hotel Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, the entire room block is cancelled.  All other hotels are the riders responsibility to cancel.

So, what do we do going forward?  The RFTW Board of Directors has voted to retain all 2020 Route Coordinators for the 2021 Run.  Once the initial shock wears off, we will begin planning next year’s Run.  It will still be the Southern Route’s 20th Anniversary, just a year later.  If you have questions or thoughts on planning for Southern Route, email me at bob.nelson@rftw.us

We WILL get through this.  Until then Stay Safe.  More to Follow…..