Name: Bill and Sharon Akins
Road Names: Wings and Nav
FNG Year: 2016
How man Runs have you participated in? All the Way: 1 Participant: 2
Always Central Route
What is your favorite Run for the Wall memory?
For us is was the 2018 Run. I invited a wonderful friend of mine to do the run with us. He road a Harley trike so we couldn’t be in the same platoon. Don was a Bronze Star recipient and had never been to the Wall. I knew this was going to be special when we got to Junction City KS. Don was so moved by the crowds and the welcome that he was brought to tears. At the end of the ceremony, I found him standing at attention saluting, with tears streaming down his face. I could tell that the magical healing process was well underway.
When we finally arrived at the wall, I was able to capture a picture of Don with his hands spread out leaning against the Wall. Tears were dropping to the ground as he had me read the 5 names between his hands. He then turned to me and said, “There were only two of us that survived that day”. My heart ached and the tears flowed freely and unashamedly. We hugged and the healing process that comes to those of us that know that pain was well underway. That moment captured all the stress, planning, expense and pain and made it all worthwhile.
We’ve never talked about that moment again and we both know that we will never have to.
Positions held as a volunteer on the Run. None officially, Platoon Chaplain (unofficially) Looking forward to being an Asst. Platoon Leader for 2021.
Military Background if any or relationships with Military: 23 years United States Air Force: Father was 20 years USAF. 3 Brothers USAF with a combined time served of 72 years. 2 Sons USAF (Both KC-135 Stratotanker Pilots)
Gold Star or Blue Star family member? Double Blue Star mom and dad.
What got you to do the RFTW the first time? An invite from a fellow vet. He couldn’t stop talking about why I should go. Glen Bucholz a former Ambassador for the Run. I knew I had to ride for those that I knew who can’t.
What brought you back? Family. Plain and simple. I love my platoon. We missed a year, 2017 and when we joined up in 2018, we were greeted like long lost family. When we were hit last year, the platoon rallied around us to get us back up and going. These folks are just great people.
Also, between my two sons, they have deployed 21 times. The war is not over…… I WILL NOT FORGET.
Have you ever participated in Rolling Thunder? Yes (2017) with my brother Col. Brian Akins.
Are you planning on Rolling to Remember: Unfortunately, no. I’m not quite retired and duty calls.
Brief synopsis of why you ride: Sharon and I have been moved by our companions that partake in this ride. We also have had the honor to hand out homemade blankets and socks and other items to the Vets at the VA Centers that we stop at. Last year we went straight to the Hospice ward at one of our stops and I had the amazing opportunity to pray over many of those that were there. I was an emotional wreck but knew that I had been blessed far more than I could have blessed. We are collecting blankets for this year’s Run and now have our entire neighborhood involved in the process. Sharon and I have committed to ride the Run as long as we can and will continue to serve as Unofficial Chaplains as long as you will let us act in that capacity. Anything to add: Yes, just do it. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride that I hope I never have to miss. It is therapy, pay homage to those buddies that didn’t come home, and to those that did but were forgotten. It will help future generations of America remember that All gave some and some gave ALL.